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Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Visa Process to Get a Job in China

The Chinese Visa Timeline

What does the China visa process look like? How long does it take to get a Chinese work visa? How much does the Chinese visa process cost? Check out the timeline below.

  • U.S. residence: Alaska
  • Chinese embassy: San Francisco
πŸ•’Days since I started the process
πŸ’°Total money spent
πŸ›¬China arrival date

30 Sep 2017

Apply online at English First (EF) website
πŸ•’1 day πŸ’°$0 πŸ›¬???

12 Oct 2017

Send follow up email to EF since I hadn't heard anything
πŸ•’12 days πŸ’°$0 πŸ›¬???

15 Oct 2017

Receive email from my recruiter at EF to schedule an interview
πŸ•’15 days πŸ’°$0 πŸ›¬???

20 Oct 2017

Job interview. Nailed it.
πŸ•’20 days πŸ’°$0 πŸ›¬???

29 Oct 2017

Job offer and begin visa process
πŸ•’29 days πŸ’°$0 πŸ›¬Feb 28

30 Oct 2017

Begin online TEFL training (due 13 Nov)
πŸ•’30 days πŸ’°$0 πŸ›¬Feb 28

9 Nov 2017

Finish online TEFL training

Go to Department of Public Health to obtain notarized criminal background check, takes all of 5 minutes and $20
πŸ•’40 days πŸ’°$20 πŸ›¬Feb 28

12 Nov 2017

Follow up Skype session with recruiter to go over outstanding documents
πŸ•’43 days πŸ’°$20 πŸ›¬Feb 28

13 Nov 2017

Request degree + apostille, online, from my university in Missouri. ($100)

Send follow up email to my university contact

Send notarized criminal background check to Secretary of State in Alaska ($5)
πŸ•’44 days πŸ’°$125 πŸ›¬Feb 28

14-18 Nov 2017

Go on vacation to San Diego

20 Nov 2017

Receive authenticated criminal background check from Lt Governor of Alaska
πŸ•’51 days πŸ’°$125 πŸ›¬Feb 28

6 Dec 2017

Receive reply from follow up email to my university contact stating they will let me know once the degree has been signed (apostille) and en route to me.

(You mean this hasn't been done yet???)
πŸ•’67 days πŸ’°$125 πŸ›¬Feb 28

11 Dec 2017 -

Send follow up email to university and receive a reply the same day saying my certificate "will surely be sent out by the end of the week".
πŸ•’72 days πŸ’°$125 πŸ›¬Feb 28

27 Dec 2017

Send another follow up email to university stating that I still have not received the certificate.
πŸ•’88 days πŸ’°$125 πŸ›¬Mar 12

4 Jan 2018

I call the university and they say they will send it today or tomorrow. They mentioned they didn't want it to get lost in the Christmas rush, and that's why it hasn't been sent yet. Although very nice, I really wish they had already sent it earlier.
πŸ•’94 days πŸ’°$125 πŸ›¬Mar 12

8 Jan 2018 -

I call the university to follow up again and they say it should be ready to send to me by Thursday.

"Patience is a virtue, patience is a virtue".
πŸ•’98 days πŸ’°$125 πŸ›¬Mar 12

17 Jan 2018

(...I'm so far beyond the point of frustration from clear ineptitude!)

So, I call WEBSTER UNIVERSITY again and the lady helping me is not picking up her phone, so I leave a polite message inquiring about my diploma and mentioning that I'm under a rigid deadline. Not satisfied with that, I call the main registrar's office to ask how long the process normally takes and if they can assist, and Meg hangs up on me! Two months I've been waiting for this one document, already missing three deadlines to get my visa submitted! I call back and leave another polite message (not a euphemism, I know better than to bite the hand that feeds you).
πŸ•’107 days πŸ’°$125 πŸ›¬Apr 18

18 Jan 2018

I receive an email from my contact stating that she will send the diploma today and forward me the tracking info.
πŸ•’108 days πŸ’°$125 πŸ›¬Apr 18

19 Jan 2018

I receive my authenticated degree from Webster University, after a quick 68 days.
πŸ•’109 days πŸ’°$125 πŸ›¬Apr 18

22 Jan 2018

Send documents via CVSC (, one to Chicago and the other to San Francisco. I put a note in both saying the docs were together despite being mailed to separate locations, so that I am only charged $99 for first document and $59 for the second. There is a $25 consular fee (and I have to pay per consulate), plus $38 for them to ship back to Alaska (as opposed to the $29 for everyone in the lower 48). So, $284 total for this part.
πŸ•’112 days πŸ’°$409 πŸ›¬Apr 18

1 Feb 2018

Documents from San Francisco come back to me with Chinese authentication sticker.
πŸ•’122 days πŸ’°$409 πŸ›¬Apr 18

2 Feb 2018

Documents from Chicago come back with Chinese authentication sticker.
πŸ•’123 days πŸ’°$409 πŸ›¬Apr 18

3 Feb 2018

Send documents to China via UPS for $131.08
πŸ•’124 days πŸ’°$540.08 πŸ›¬Apr 18

13 Mar 2018

Received Work Permit via email.

I tried calling the Consulate in San Francisco and the visa assistance line no longer exists, their voicemail is full, and no one picks up any of the lines, even when I tried “Chinese citizen affairs”. Their website is dated and arduous. So, I sent them an email.

Talk with my recruiter and she answers all of my remaining questions.

(Never get a response email from the Consulate.)

πŸ•’162 days πŸ’°$540.08 πŸ›¬Apr 18

10 Apr 2018

Fly to San Francisco to turn in my visa application. $220.46 plane ticket from Anchorage to San Francisco. Land in SF and go straight to Chinese Consulate. Arrive shortly after they open and 50 people are lined up outside, but line is quick (20 minutes) because it is just security. Wait inside for another 4 hours. Get seen at 14:00 and it takes all of two minutes. Then, wait in another line for 35 minutes to get fingerprints. Get a receipt for pickup tomorrow.

(Though they close at 14:30, they will still see all the people who arrived before that time, which I can only imagine takes another 2-3 hours.)
πŸ•’190 days πŸ’°$760.54 πŸ›¬Apr 18

11 Apr 2018

Back to the consulate at 10:15 and line outside door is longer than yesterday's. Get in 35 minutes later. Wait in pickup line for 40 minutes, pay $160 (express price) and walk out with a visa. Buy my flight to China for $503.40.
πŸ•’191 days πŸ’°$1423.94 πŸ›¬Apr 18

18 Apr 2018

Arrive in China!
πŸ•’198 days πŸ’°$1423.94 πŸ›¬Today


I think the amount of money spent was well worth it, especially since I had most of it reimbursed by EF. However, my time can not be reimbursed, and I'm not pleased with how long the process took. But I blame that entirely on Webster University's ridiculously slow turnaround time.

If you live in the same city that you grew up AND went to college there, AND that city has a Chinese consulate, I bet this process is 1000x easier. But, having lived the crazy nomadic life that I have, complicated all of this quite a bit. But, having lived that crazy nomadic life has prepared me for this kind of stuff, so I endured.

How have your visa process experiences been? Similar, better, worse? Was it worth?



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