Understanding the Essential Differences Between a Chinese Work Visa and Work Permit
What’s the Difference Between a Work Visa and a Work Permit in China?
To legally work in China, foreign nationals must obtain both a work visa and a work permit. However, these two documents serve different purposes:
Work Visa – The work visa (or Z visa) enables the foreign national to enter China. However, it does not grant legal work authorization.
- Issued by Chinese consulates abroad
- Allows initial entry and stay in China
- Valid for up to 12 months
- Multiple entries allowed
Work Permit – The work permit is the document that officially authorizes a foreign national to be employed in China. It is tied to the employer and position.
- Issued by China’s labor authorities
- Grants legal right to work in China
- Valid for duration of employment contract
- Must be renewed periodically
While interrelated, the work visa facilitates immigration while the work permit governs employment legitimacy. Corporation China handle the paperwork from end-to-end, ensuring our clients have proper documentation to live and work in China fully compliant.
Why Choose Corporation China as Your Immigration Partner in China
When moving abroad, having an experienced partner to handle immigration formalities is key. As your dedicated partner for China relocations, we offer distinct advantages:
Proven Track Record
We have successfully processed over 5,000 visa and permit applications with a high approval rate.
Our specialists are based in China and stay current on the latest immigration regulations and developments.
We monitor deadlines and proactively notify you in advance of document expirations.
Required Documents and Information s for a Smooth China Visa Application
Applying for a China visa requires presenting several supporting documents. To ensure a complete and successful application, the key documents needed include:
- Passport – Original passport with at least 6 months validity and blank pages for the visa stamp.
- Visa Application Form – Fully completed form with accurate details.
- Photo – Standard passport photo taken within the last 6 months.
- Letter of Invitation – Issued by the sponsoring entity in China.
- Medical Check Form – Showing you cleared the health exam by an authorized hospital.
- No Criminal Record Check – Notarized certificate from your home country.
- Education/Work Certificates – Properly notarized and authenticated.
- Employment Documents – Contracts, Engagement Letters, etc (for work visas).
- Application Fee – Payment receipt of the visa fee.
FAQ About China Work Visa and Work Permit
How long does it take to get a China work visa and permit?
Typically the process takes 4-6 weeks from start to finish. We assist in expediting document legalization and liaising with authorities to streamline the process.
Can my family join me on a work visa?
Yes, dependent family members can apply for residence permits to accompany the working expat.
Do I need to have a job offer before applying for a work visa?
Yes, you need an official job offer and employment contract from a legitimate China entity to begin the work permit application.
How long are China work permits valid for?
Work permits are usually issued for the duration of the employment contract, up to a maximum of 5 years. Renewals are required.
What is the cost of a China work visa and permit?
Estimated costs are $300-800 for a work visa and $800-1200 for the work permit, depending on nationality.
Are criminal background checks required?
Yes, you need a Certificate of No Criminal Record from your home country.
Can I apply for a work visa from within China?
No, you must apply from your home country or place of permanent residence abroad.
How many times can I enter China on a work visa?
Work visas typically allow multiple entries valid over the course of a year.
Do I need to get a medical check done?
Yes, you need to pass a health exam at an authorized Chinese hospital.
Can I freelance in China on a work visa?
No, your employment must be with a legitimate China entity that sponsors your work permit.
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