INTESOL Course

This tick list is accurate as of 27th 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, or 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 “Stranded British & Irish Ren”. Download WeChat app then add Keira (WeChat ID “shaka-82”) as a contact to WeChat and ask her to add you to the group “Stranded British & Irish Ren”.
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 ARCO Criminal Records Office. This is an official statement from a national or local government agency 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. If you got your criminal background check through ARCO, it does not need to be notarised, as it is a government document. If you got it elsewhere, it will need to be notarised.

Process:
1- Get a high quality colour copy notarised
2- The Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) must then issue a stamp verifying the notarisation

Contact us for a more detailed Visa Guide for step by step instructions and support on getting your documents notarised and authenticated

-Confirm with your school what needs doing

-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:
Mandarin Visa
Vital Consular
Apostille of the Hague
5 Star China Travel
China Visa Direct
CIBT Visas
i2visa
Hive

Google ‘China visa agents in UK’ 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 documents notarised by Chinese embassy

-Be sure to check for the latest announcements from the Chinese embassy and the China Visa Center.

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

FAQ on notarising documents

-As detailed in this announcement from 27th April 2021, the Chinese Visa Center is open every Tuesday and Thursday from 09:00 to 14:00. New appointments are released every Tuesday at 2pm, so be online / email then to book your appointment. Check the website regularly as they could be open for additional days again soon.

-You can submit the documents yourself or have a visa agent or trusted person submit them for you

-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.

-You can have the notarised documents posted back to you

 

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

 

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

-Process can take around 3 weeks

 

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

Be sure to check for the latest announcements from the Chinese embassy and the China Visa Center.

 

-As detailed in this announcement from 27th April 2021, the Chinese Visa Application Service Center is open every Tuesday and Thursday from 09:00 to 14:00. New appointments are released every Tuesday at 2pm, so be online / email then to book your appointment. Check the website regularly as they could be open for additional days again soon.

www.visaforchina.org – scroll down > hover over UK > select city

-How to book an appointment 

Please note, this is the link for the London office. If you require Manchester, Edinburgh or Belfast, please visit www.visaforchina.org

-Email address is ukcentre@visaforchina.org

-How to fill in the online application form

General FAQ

-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 wait for appointments but when they tried again a couple of 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.

 

6) Attend appointment at the China Visa Center

-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 check for the latest announcements from the Chinese embassy and the China Visa Center.

 

-Confirm the target arrival date with your school before booking the flight.

-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

-As of 27th April 2021, there are no direct flights from UK to China, therefore you have to book a flight transiting through one other country.

-Some airports are now offering the required COVID tests (PCR and IgM tests) at the transit area of the airport, to facilitate transfers to China. Currently, there are 7 airports that can do fast COVID-19 PCR and IgM tests, which meet China embassy’s requirements for obtaining the Health Code needed to fly to China. Finnair in Helsinki airport in Finland offer a good service, you can read more about it here. Lufthansa also offers COVID testing at Frankfurt airport in China and have a detailed guide on the procedures for flying to China here.

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.

-Book 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 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.

 

10) Get a PCR nucleic acid COVID test and IgM antibody test within 2 days of flying

-Make sure to self-isolate as much as possible in the weeks before your flight, you don’t want to get COVID and have to cancel your flight

-Be sure to regularly check the Chinese embassy website for the latest announcements on the requirements for COVID testing and flying

-Passengers traveling from The UK 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 in the UK within 2 days of your flight. 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.

-Please see the list of approved COVID testing sites under the file name “Designated Institutions.PDF“. Be sure to check the Chinese embassy for the most up to date list of approved COVID test facilities before booking.

-Ask the COVID testing center to email a copy of the COVID results to both yourself and the Chinese embassy / consulates at:

Chinese Embassy: testreportuk@gmail.com
Chinese Consulate General in Manchester: health_man@outlook.com
Chinese Consulate General in Edinburgh: lsxz_edi@163.com
Chinese Consulate General in Belfast: chinacnbft@gmail.com

-Make sure you give the COVID testing facility permission for them to provide personal information to the Chinese embassy and consulate, including but not limited to name, gender, birthday, passport number, test result, etc. This is a requirement from the Chinese embassy in case they decide to contact the testing center to confirm the test results.

-At your transit airport, you will have to do another COVID PCR and IgM antibody test. Some airports are now offering the required COVID tests (PCR and IgM tests) at the transit area of the airport, to facilitate transfers to China. Currently, there are 7 airports that can do fast COVID-19 PCR and IgM tests, which meet China embassy’s requirements for obtaining the Health Code needed to fly to China. Make sure to book the COVID tests at the transit airport ahead of time. Finnair in Helsinki airport in Finland offer a good service, you can read more about it here. Lufthansa also offers COVID testing at Frankfurt airport in China and have a detailed guide on the procedures for flying to China 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.

 

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

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

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 UK 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 from The UK to CHINA.
-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

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 mobile phone number?
– You can use your UK mobile 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.

 

12) Arrival at the airport

-According to this announcement from the UK government, from the 8th March 2021, you must complete the declaration form for international travel to provide a valid reason for why you are travelling. Travelling outside the UK for work is considered a valid reason.

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

-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
-All your original notarized documents (degree, TEFL, criminal background check)
-Boarding pass
-Negative COVID and IgM antibody test result, issued within 48 hours of your flight
-Green code on your phone – health declaration from Chinese embassy as detailed in step 11 above
-Valid Chinese visa or residency permit
Declaration form for international travel
-Masks & hand sanitiser
-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 UK, emergency contact person in China and their phone number

 

13) 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 “Stranded British & Irish Ren”. Download WeChat app then add Keira (WeChat ID “shaka-82”) as a contact to WeChat and ask her to add you to the group “Stranded British & Irish Ren”.
Foreigners Stuck Outside China Facebook group
China Visa page on Reddit

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

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