INTESOL Course

This tick list is accurate as of 29th April 2021. Be sure to check at each stage for any updates to the procedures.

For any questions please get contact with your Gold Star recruiter,  contact us here or speak with the HR department at your school.

Very useful groups to join with lots of up-to-date information

– WeChat group “Canadians trying to get to China”. Download WeChat app then add WeChat ID “thedidi17” or “Altinium” or “SilverKlajnscek” or “Maianarisa” as a contact and ask them to add you to the group “Canadians trying to get to China”.
Canucks in China
Foreigners Stuck Outside China Facebook group
China Visa page on Reddit

Important note about your passport:
Your passport must have at least 1 year validity and 5 blank pages and have no damage such as creased pages or water damaged pages. If your passport does not meet these criteria your work visa could well be rejected, so please apply for a new passport.

Please note, if you already have a residence permit from China that expired after 28 March 2020, you can apply for a renewed work visa. Please contact us for details.

1) Get required documents notarised and authenticated

Apply for a criminal background check at from a local police station in Canada or here. This is an official statement stating that you do not have a criminal record in the country that issued your passport. This document will be valid for the purpose of the China visa application for six months from its issue date.

-Get your degree certificate, TEFL certificate (in some cases required, check with your school) and criminal background check notarized and authenticated.

Process:
1- Get a high quality colour copies of your degree certificate and TEFL certificate notarised by a local public notary or lawyer.
2- Then get your degree certificate, TEFL certificate and criminal background check documents authenticated provincial authority responsible for authentication, as lsited here:

Québec – Chambre des notaires de Québec

Ontario – Official Document Services

British Columbia – Order in Council Administrative Office

Alberta – Deputy Provincial Secretary’s Office

Saskatchewan – Ministry of Justice and Attorney General

Manitoba – Commissioner for Oaths/Notary Public

New Brunswick – Executive Council Office

Nova Scotia – Department of Justice

Prince Edward Island – Department of Justice and Public Safety

Newfoundland – Deputy Minister’s Office

Nunavut – Nunavut Court of Justice

Northwest Territories – Department of Justice

Yukon – The Commissioner of Yukon

 

List of all contact details for locations in Canada where to get documents authenticated.

 

Visa Agents

-Consider using a visa agent to assist with the process. They can offer free advice or take care of the entire process for a fee. Some suggested visa agents:

ALSC
CIBT Visas
China Visa Canada Service
Hive

Google China visa agents in your city for more options

Medical check certificate
You may be required to provide this, however, you may not. Please check with your school to ask if it is required.
-Book an appointment with your local doctor
-Download and print this form and take it to the doctor’s with you
-You might not have to have the blood test, chest x-ray or ECC tests done, please check with your school
-Make sure the doctor writes ‘healthy’ and signs at the bottom of the form
-Doctor must stamp over your photo on the top right of the form and at the bottom of the form
-The health check certificate is valid for 6 months from date it was issued

 

2) Get a letter from your employer stating why it is essential that you enter China

-You will need this for step 11, when uploading your COVID test results

See this guide for what to include in the letter. Example letter 1. Example letter 2.

 

3) Get documents legalized by Chinese Visa Center

Once the copy of your degree certificate, TEFL certificate and criminal background check are notarized and certified, the national stamp / seal must then be “authenticated” or “legalized” by the Chinese Visa Center.

FAQ on legalising documents
Step by step guide for getting documents legalised by Chinese embassy

-We have heard recently that you also need to submit a letter from your employer stating why it is essential you move to China (as detailed in step 2 above) and a letter written by yourself, also stating why it is essential that you move to China, both need to be submitted with your application to get your documents authenticated.

-Getting an appointment can be tricky, we recommend using a visa agent to book the appointment as they can have a preferential access to appointments. See links at the start of this guide suggested for visa agents.

-Try phoning, emailing and booking an appointment online regularly. Use ‘URGENT’ in your email title. We have heard from teachers who were first told there was a long delay for booking an appointment and when they tried again a few days later managed to get an appointment for the following week.

-If you have been fully vaccinated against COVID, provide evidence when booking your visa appointment, it will likely help your application.

-Please note: we have heard from teachers who have applied for Z, M, or F visas. Once they arrive in China the visa is then converted to a residence permit by the school which allows you to live and work in China. Please check with your school on what type of visa you should apply for.

-You can have the legalized documents posted back to you

 

China Visa Application Centre – Ottawa
www.visaforchina.org
Suite 1450.
220 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa ON K1P 5Z9
Tel: 613-563-8472
ottawacenter@visaforchina.org

China Visa Application Centre – Toronto
www.visaforchina.org
Suite 1501.
393 University Avenue
Toronto ON M5G 1E6
Tel: 416-345-8472
torontocenter@visaforchina.org

China Visa Application Centre – Vancouver
www.visaforchina.org
Suite 250.
999 West Broadway
Vancouver BC V5Z 1K5
Tel: 604-336-8866
vancouvercenter@visaforchina.org

China Visa Application Centre – Calgary
www.visaforchina.org
Suite 200.
855 8th Avenue SW
Calgary AB T2P 3P1
Tel: 403-930-2288
calgarycenter@visaforchina.org

China Visa Application Centre – Montreal
www.visaforchina.org
Suite 700.
2000 Mansfield Street
Montreal Quebec H3A 2Z6
Tel: 514-680-8472
montrealcenter@visaforchina.org
montrealcenter2000@gmail.com

 

-How to book an appointment 

Please note, this is the link for the Ottawa office. If you require Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary, Montreal, please visit www.visaforchina.org

 

4) Email notarized and authenticated documents to your school in China

 

5) School applies for ‘PU letter’ (invitation letter) and work permit notification letter

-Process can take around 3 weeks

 

6) Book appointment to visit Chinese visa center to apply for work visa

www.visaforchina.org – click ‘America’ > hover over Canada > select city

-You have to attend the appointment yourself. You can not have an agent attend on your behalf.

-Make sure to bring all the required documents

 

7) Pick up passport with China work visa stamped in it, or have it posted to you

-2 days for express service, 3 days for regular service or 10 days for the postal service

 

8) Book flight

Be sure to carefully read the notices from the Chinese embassy / consulates for the latest information:

Chinese embassy in Canada notices

 

-You need to book a direct flight from Canada to China with no stops or layovers in a third country. Transit within Canada is allowed, but transit / layovers in a third country are not allowed. Currently direct flights to China from the  only depart from Vancouver and Toronto. Make sure you book a flight that is approved to fly to China. Some websites list flights even though they are not approved to fly to China and are therefore likely to be cancelled.

-Here is a list of most of the approved flights to China as of 7th May 2021, be sure to check for an updated list of approved flights

FlightRadar24 is a useful site for checking the flight history of any flight for the last 7 days and for the coming 7 days, so you can check that certain flights actually flew and were not cancelled. Click Data / History at the top and search for the intended flight numbers.

-It is advised that you book the ticket directly on the airlines website.

-Alternatively, consider using a travel agent (including Chinese travel agents if you can), they can offer flexible dates in case you need to change your flight and we have heard reports that a return flight can be cheaper than a one-way. We have also heard that they can get access to flight tickets even when the flight is showing as full on websites.

-Check for last minute availability for flights due to cancellations by other passengers. Sometimes, there are no flights available soon but if you check back often, one becomes available.

 

9) Get a COVID PCR and IgM antibody test within 2 days of flying

Be sure to carefully read the notices from the Chinese embassy / consulates for the latest information:

Chinese embassy in Canada notices

 

-According to this announcement from the Chinese embassy, passengers traveling from Canada to China need to provide:
a) Negative PCR nucleic acid COVID test
b) IgM antibody test – this is a blood test to test if you have antibodies – IgM test has to be done with blood drawn from the vein, not finger prick.

-You have to get your COVID tests within 2 days of your flight to China. For example, if your flight is on Friday, you have to provide the samples for your COVID PCR & IgM tests anytime on Wednesday. Please note, the 2 days are from the date the sample was provided for the test, not from the date that the test results are issued.

-Make sure to take the COVID tests at an approved COVID testing facility. Tell them that you require a PCR and IgM COVID test and that you are travelling to China.

List of approved COVID testing centers – click here

 

Important Notes:

– The test report needs to include: passenger’s name, date of birth, passport number, the testing agency’s address, contact number and email, the date the sample was taken, the date the report was issued and the test results (PCR and IgM results), collection method used, testing method used. The passenger’s name has to match their name on their passport.

Make sure you also get the following at the COVID test center, which will be needed for the next step:
– take your passport with you to the testing site
– make sure you tell the testing site you are travelling to China
– selfie of your face and holding the information page of your passport at the COVID testing site (for example outside the building with the clinic name or at reception with the clinic name)
– photos of you giving the sample for the tests if possible, this is optional and not a strict requirement
– receipt from your testing visit

 

If you have had COVID in the past will it show up on your COVID test results and prevent you from getting approval to fly to China?
Please note, you require an IgM antibody test, not an IgG antibody test. IgM is the first antibody produced by the immune system when a virus attacks. A positive IgM test indicates that you may have been infected and that your immune system has started responding to the virus. When IgM is detected you may still be infected, or you may have recently recovered from a COVID-19 infection. If you had a COVID infection some time ago (21 – 42 days on average), you are unlikely to have levels of IgM antibodies that would disqualify you from flying to China.

Consulate contact info for inquiries

healthcheckottawa@gmail.com , phone: 1-613-5621616 (Embassy in Ottawa)
covidcheckfortravel@gmail.com , phone 1-249-8749071 (Consulate General in Toronto)
wenhsjc2020@gmail.com , phone 1-236-9846031 (Consulate General in Vancouver)
hs@chinaconsulatecalgary.com , phone 1-403-5376911 (Consulate General in Calgary)
consulate_mtl@mfa.gov.cn , phone 1-514-2418930 (Consulate General in Montreal)

 

10) Upload negative COVID PCR and IgM antibody test results via online health app

Instructions from the Chinese embassy here

“Starting from 1 December, 2020, foreign passengers who are to fly from Canada to China will be required to take nucleic acid and IgM anti-body tests, and apply for a QR code with “HDC” mark to the Chinese Embassy or Consulate General in Canada within two days before boarding.”

Guide for how to complete the Health Declaration Form here.

Guide for iphone users here.


Step 1 – Sign up for an account on the website – https://hrhk.cs.mfa.gov.cn/H5/
Non-Chinese passengers should log in the application program by visiting https://hrhk.cs.mfa.gov.cn/H5/ on your computer or phone or scan the below QR code with your phone. Make sure to set up a profile before going for the COVID tests, so that as soon as you have the test results you are ready to upload them.

Notes:
-Some people have said it is easier to set up the profile using a computer and then upload the COVID test results using your phone
-Use Safari not Chrome as your browser
-Don’t use upper case characters for your email address
-Password can not contain words related to China or Chinese cities and can not contain a symbol (even though it asks you for one)
-Password must include upper and lower case as well as numbers and letters
-Uploads need to be JPEG format not PDF. If your COVID test results are in PDF, take a screenshot of them, which will be created in JPEG format and upload that

Step 2 – Upload the following to the program

-Your name
-Photo of your passport photo page
-Photos of Chinese visa or residence permit
-Mobile phone number (your Canadian phone number is fine)
-Flight Information: When they ask you for “your flight number to China” and “the departure date of your flight to China” This is the flight number/date of the FLIGHT LEG from the CANADA TO CHINA. Do not enter your domestic legs.
-Test results (both nucleic acid & antibody) [size of one picture cannot exceed 10M]
Files need to be JPG files not PDF! If your COVID test results are in PDF, take a screenshot of them, which will be created in JPEG format and upload that
-Flight itinerary
-Receipt from your COVID testing visit
-Letter from employer stating why it is essential you enter China for the job – follow this guide

Note: You are choosing the location WHERE YOU TESTED (this is not necessarily the same as where you got your visa)

Optional:
-Photo of you getting blood taken for the IgM test (optional: holding passport)
-Photo of you getting nasal swabbed for the RT-PCR test (optional: holding passport)
-Photo of you at the clinic door (optional: holding passport)

– Vaccine statement and vaccine certificate (this is optional. only if you have received COVID vaccine)


Step 3 – Wait for the QR code to turn green

– After you press submit, you will receive a QR code. The QR code will be Orange.

– They will NOT contact you when you have been approved, so you need to keep checking on your own to see if it turns Green (approved!) or Red (denied)

– Once your QR Code is approved, it will expire at the end of the day (11:59pm), 2 days after the testing date

– The QR CODE is valid for 2 days (48 hours) after the DAY that you get tested (NOT when you submit your application or when you get approved for the health code).
So you should apply for your health code ASAP after getting your test results. Do not wait.

– You need to show the green QR code in order to board your flight to China

Commonly Asked Questions
Can one family sign up under one account?
– Yes, everybody’s results can be uploaded under one account. When you go back to the Homepage, there is a place to add additional people.

How long does it take for things to be authenticated?
– Anywhere from 10 minutes to a couple of hours. If it is taking over 3 or 4 hours, it is likely that there was a problem with your application.

Do I need a Chinese cell phone number?
– You can use your Canadian cell phone number for the Health Code.

If there was a problem with the application, can I resubmit my materials?
– Yes. People have resubmitted 4-5 times in a row (and rejected 4 times in a row) and then been approved in the end. Assuming that the error was a clerical one (as opposed to a problem with the sampling methods), they will not hold your mistake against you.

Check that you have included all the required information correctly and resubmit.

Consulate contact info for inquiries

healthcheckottawa@gmail.com , phone: 1-613-5621616 (Embassy in Ottawa)
covidcheckfortravel@gmail.com , phone 1-249-8749071 (Consulate General in Toronto)
wenhsjc2020@gmail.com , phone 1-236-9846031 (Consulate General in Vancouver)
hs@chinaconsulatecalgary.com , phone 1-403-5376911 (Consulate General in Calgary)
consulate_mtl@mfa.gov.cn , phone 1-514-2418930 (Consulate General in Montreal)

 

11) Arrival at the airport

-Get to the airport at least 4 hours before your flight as check in process takes longer than usual.

-Make sure to bring the green health declaration code on your phone and original negative COVID and IgM antibody test result and passport

-Also bring all your notarized documents (degree, TEFL, criminal background check) as they will be needed to get your residence permit in China

Things to bring:
-Passport
-Boarding pass
-Negative COVID and IgM antibody test result, issued within 2 days of your flight
-Vaccine certificate (optional. only if you have received COVID vaccine)
-Green code on your phone – health declaration from Chinese embassy as detailed in step 11 above
-Valid Chinese visa or residency permit
-All your notarized documents (degree, TEFL, criminal background check)
-Medical face masks & hand sanitiser – cloth masks or masks with filter not allowed
-Phone with WeChat installed – this is needed for processing on arrival
-Download and complete the WeChat mini program ‘Customs Pocket Declaration’ on the WeChat app on your phone – instructions on how to get it here
-Enough cash in Chinese RMB to cover the quarantine costs and food or money on WeChat Pay or AliPay if possible
-Power bank to ensure your phone has power on arrival
-Name and phone number of a contact person in China
-Pen
-Download a VPN, if you wish, for use in China as they are hard to get once you arrive
-Food for the flight – some airlines only provide limited food
-Store on your phone, as will be required for forms: passport number, visa number, flight number, seat number, address in China (in Chinese and English), emergency contact in Canada, emergency contact person in China and their phone number

 

12) Quarantine for 14 days on arrival in China

-Once your plane arrives in China you will be taken to a quarantine hotel for your 14 day quarantine. The reports from teachers who have been through it have said things are organized very well, the hotels are of a good quality (similar to what you would expect from a 3 or 4 star hotel stay). They provide 3 meals a day.

-Here is an article from one of our teachers who went through quarantine in China in September 2020

-Here is another article from someone arriving and quarantining in Shanghai

-Here’s a YouTube video of the quarantine process

 

Useful links

– WeChat group “Canadians trying to get to China”. Download WeChat app then add WeChat ID “thedidi17” or “Altinium” or “SilverKlajnscek” or “Maianarisa” as a contact and ask them to add you to the group “Canadians trying to get to China”.
Foreigners Stuck Outside China Facebook group
China Visa page on Reddit
Canucks in China

Procedures may vary so be sure to check at each stage.

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