The following is a simple guide to the authentication procedure for Z visa documents for UK citizens.
It is important to note that although these are the most common documents needed for authentication, certain schools/ local visa offices may have different requirements. It is vital to double and triple check with your school’s HR department which documents need to be authenticated and also if there are is any specific wording or requirement from the school for the authentication.
Apply for a DBS ‘no criminal record’ Check here, Note that although the service is from ‘Disclosure Scotland’ an applicant can be from any part of the UK. The cost of the disclosure is £25
Arrange to have your Degree Certificate (and if required your TEFL certificate) notarised by a Solicitor or Public Notary in the UK. The Notary will make a copy of the document which will be notorised.
Teachers who will graduate this summer should research local services before receiving their degree certificate, so that the moment it is received they can move forward with this step.
Prices vary depending on the service used, but will generally cost around £30 per document
Certify the original copy of your DBS check (no photocopies allowed). The document can be sent back to the issuing authority i.e Disclosure Scotland which will stamp it as a true document. If this is not an option, a solicitor or notary will be required to notarise in the same way as a degree certificate. Those using Disclosure Scotland, use the following link for direction on sending your document back: https://www.mygov.scot/get-disclosure-verified/
Visit Gov.uk and follow the instructions to send all notarised documents to the FCO to asses if the documents are genuine; they will attach apostilles and return via post. This should be done within a week. Ensure documents are sent via recorded/ signed for delivery.
There are 2 options. Either a standard service (up to 10 days) costing £30 per document or an express service (1 day) costing £75 per document
*Note that the FCO will reject copies of the Criminal record check. The notorised document MUST be the original.
Once the apostilles and documents are returned by the FCO, all documents must be taken to the Chinese embassy to be legalised. It is important to note that there is no postal service for this section of the process. For more detailed information on their requirements, visit the Chinese Embassy’s website http://www.chinese-embassy.org.uk/eng/lsfw/legalization/
There are two options for legalisation through the Embassy, £15 (4 days) £30 (3 days)
Once documents are returned from the Chinese Embassy, send copies to your employer school via email. Their HR Team can then submit a work z visa application to the Provincial Visa Office. Typically, around 4 weeks later the Provincial Visa Office issue a work permit and invitation letter; this will be sent to you in your home country via courier.
Only now can you submit a z visa application at the London, Manchester or Edinburgh Visa for China centre.
Following the guidelines on the Visa for China website using the Z visa category, prepare all required documents. You will need to book an appointment if applying in person. There is also a postal service available. The standard visa takes 4 working days and can be tracked online.
Once processed, the visa will take the form of a physical sticker in your passport. The total processing cost of the visa is from £151.
Excluding the cost of the visa and allowing around £15 for postage, you would expect to to pay the following for the authentication process without using a service:
3 Documents regular service (up to 3 weeks)- £240
3 Documents Fastest possible service (less than 1 week)- £330
Services that cover all of the Authentication steps listed above (excluding visa processing) start from around £300 and can be turned around in as little as a week.
In most cases this a more convenient route and in many cases (factoring in travel expenses etc.) it is actually a cheaper way to authenticate your documents for China.