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Date of application:


18 August 2014





Visa applied for:

1-year Z visa


Consulate or Agency:

Applied by myself (no agency help) at the Office of the Commissioner in Hong Kong (中華人民共和國駐香港特別行政區特派員公署)


Documents required:


1. Passport

2. Copy of passport information page

3. One (?) passport photo (I think the employee only took one photo but I'm not sure; I had a little envelope with a bunch of photos in it so he might have taken two)

4. 外國專家來華就業許可證/“Working Permit” (issued in Shanghai)---the man at the counter took the original and a copy but, to my surprise, he returned the copy and told me he would keep the original.

5. Chinese version of the actual letter of invitation from my school, original copy only.

6. 邀請確認函 (“Confirmation Letter of Invitation”) original copy only—specified Hong Kong as place of application

7. 被邀请人员名单 (list of accompanying family members; original only; in my case it only listed me)

8. The tiny arrival slip that you receive when entering Hong Kong. You must provide both the original and a copy. The guy at the counter stapled the original slip to one of the visa pages on my passport.

9. Copy of the 組織機構代碼 (an official Chinese government document with a barcode on it identifying my school. See Note 1 below.) I will attach a copy to this post.



Documents Not Required:


1. Photocopies of anything except for a) Passport photo page b) Hong Kong entry slip c) Barcode document (9) above.

2. Health inspection documents

3. Insurance information

4. Plane ticket

5. English version of the actual invitation letter


Cost / Service:

1400 HKD for rush (next-day) service. No same-day service available.


Reason for application:



Previous Visa History:

Lots of tourist (L) visas going back to 2009. A six month (F) from 2012. A one-year Q2 visa from 2013. An S2 visa issued August 2014 in Shanghai to prevent an overstay.




1. My employer is a public high school in Shanghai. In Chinese, my employer is classified as a 事業單位. My situation is therefore different from many of the people in this thread who needed to offer a business license (營業執照) since their employers are private companies.

2. I recommend making all copies and filling out the application form before you arrive. The line to use the copying machine was quite long and the machine only takes 1 HKD coins.

3. The Office does not offer even a single pen for applicants' use. Take your own. You must fill out the form in blue or black ink. I filled mine out in red and was required to start all over.

4. The office is very efficient. Unlike other Chinese embassies/consulates, you can't take a number at all until your form is filled out properly and your documents are in order. The result is that the numbers fly by. On Monday, 60 numbers flew by in about 15 minutes.

5. Avoid applying on Monday if possible. I arrived at the office around 9:40 am on Monday and there was a long, snake-like line of people waiting to go through the metal detector. It took me over 30 minutes just to get inside. cinxj4's experience in this thread suggests that arriving well before opening can alleviate this issue to some extent. When I went back the next day (Tuesday), there were many fewer people even though it was even later when I arrived.

6. Pick up is far more efficient than application. No number needed; I just walked up to counter #2, paid the fee, submitted my receipt over to the girl at counter #3 and was given my visa. The pick-up process probably took two minutes.

7. For some reason I have difficulties understanding the English of the people at the Commissioner's Office. In my opinion their Mandarin is clearer than their English.

8. My experience differed from cinxj4's in that my original work permit was not returned to me and a photocopy of the entry slip was required.



I had been worried for months that my long time in China on L/F/Q2 visas and relatively late graduation (August 2012!) would cause problems in being granted a Z visa. The school recommended I not apply in HK and told me some rejection stories to dissuade me. The people in this thread led me to persevere and the result is that I saved a lot of money and trouble. Thanks to all of you, especially Sydney Matt! 


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First, I'd like to apologize that this post is about getting a Chinese Visa in the USA. This is sort of a rather late follow-up to my last post but also I realized this thread is fairly popular, so I hope it'll help some Americans (or even non-Americans) who come across this and are planning on getting their Chinese Visa in the States. I also apologize for copying a bit from another very recent post, but as it's plain to see, some of this information is still valid no matter where you apply.


Date of application:

18 July 2014





Visa applied for:

1-year Z visa


Consulate or Agency:

Applied at the Chinese consulate in Chicago without the help of a private third party.


Documents required:

1. Passport

2. Copy of passport information page

3. One passport photo (bring an extra just in case) taped to the Visa Application

4. 外國專家來華就業許可證/“Working Permit” (bring a copy just in case)

5. Chinese version of the actual letter of invitation from the school. (bring a copy just in case)

6. 邀請確認函 (“Confirmation Letter of Invitation”) original copy only (bring a copy just in case)

7. Typed Visa Application


Cost / Service:

About 160 US Dollars for rush, pick-up service. No same-day service available. I was leaving August 4 and was worried it would take a really long time to process. In retrospect, I probably could've done the normal service and gotten it well before I left.


Reason for application:



Previous Visa History:

Z Visa in my old passport which I did not need to provide, although I brought with me just in case.



The university I work at in China provided all the necessary documents minus my passport and the Visa application. They sent the documents via EMS and it took about a week to receive them.

For those planning on getting their Chinese visas in Chicago, go to http://www.chinaconsulatechicago.org/eng/ywzn/qzhz/qz/grqz/P020140118244333988488.pdf for information about required documents, and http://www.chinaconsulatechicago.org./chn/qzhz/qz/P020140118234215941118.pdf for the application form.

The consulate in Chicago does not accept hand-written applications. You need to fill out the application form on your computer, and then print it out. If you arrive at the consulate and forget to do this, there is a Fed-Ex shop close by (there are even directions to it at the consulate!). However, it only has two computers available.

The consulate is closed for lunch between 12-1pm and closes for the day at 2:30pm.

They don't accept cash, but do accept all major American credit or debit cards.

There's a copy machine there you can use. I think it was 10 cents a copy.

The address is 1 E Erie St. and not 100 W Erie St. I forget which floor.

Same day service is not available for visas, authentication, or anything.


Unrelated to the visa but still important, I had to go there later to get my criminal background check, aka statement of no criminal record, authenticated. They need a photocopy of it, but as mentioned above there's a copier there so there are no worries in case you forget, but it does waste time. For Illinois residents, the check first needs to be notarized by the Illinois Secretary of State in Joliet. I drove there to do it, but it would be smarter to just call them up right after you send them the fingerprints to have it notarized (for free!). I recommend getting fingerprinted through a private agency as the county/local police seem to be far less efficient/competent despite being cheaper. Anyway, I then had to get the check authenticated by the Secretary of State office in Chicago at 17 N State St #1200, (not the one off Randolph). I know the floor is correct, but I'm not certain about the exact suite number. Here's the necessary application: http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/publications/pdf_publications/i213.pdf The office there was almost completely empty and it took only 15 minutes to get it done. At the consulate, I had to get rush service so I could get it in time (about 3 days). Normal service would probably take about 5 business days.


Finally, please let me know if you have any questions! Sorry again for posting this on the Hong Kong Visa Topic thread.

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I will be going to Hong Kong this Tuesday to apply for a Z visa. My question is what do I need to copy out of my passport?


Last time I just needed the front page and current visa?


What do I need now that things have changed?





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How to transfer spouse/family visa to working visa?

Hi everyone,

Thank you so much for sharing and congratulation to those who have their visas approved.

I have been in Shanghai for over 3 years under family visa. My husband's company arranged the visa for the whole family (including my two sons). Recently, I was offered a job. I have my work permit approved already in Shanghai, and I also have an invitation letter for Z visa. However, my original visa is from my husband. I was told that I must go to Hong Kong to reapply everything. Is it really necessary?


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Who told you that you have to go to Hong Kong to reapply?

If it was the PSB, then you'll most likely have to, if it was not the PSB, I'd go visit them with all your documents and see what they have to say.

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You should only need a copy of your passport's information page (the one with your photo). I'm not sure what you mean by "current visa" though. None of the other posters in this thread have been required to provide a PRC visa copy when applying for a new Z visa in Hong Kong.


Do not forget the tiny HK entry slip though. You will be turned away without an original as well as a copy.

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I'm going to Hong Kong this Sunday. The admin has contacted the psa office and was told that I need to reapply my residence visa independently. My husband was saying it's so strange that I have to apply from scratch since I have already had my residence visa. Well, I guess I better go.

I will update again, hopefully, this will help those trailing partners who are planning to work in China.

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I fly today to Shenzhen and arrive at 9:05 PM. I will stay over night in Shenzhen at a hotel on a university that a former student is now a teacher at. She says it way cheaper and then the next day I will go to Hong Kong and get a hotel and drop of my bags and the off to apply for that Z visa 2nd day service.


I will keep posting as it happens:


The flight from Changchun to Shenzhen one way cost: Fare 1490.0 RMB plus 50.0 RMB CAAC development fund fee plus 120.0 Fuel surcharge so a total of 1660.0 RMB


I did go yester day to the ICBC bank to exchange RMB to HKD. The bank would only exchange the equivalent of 3800.0 HKD.

My former student said not to worry that as you cross from Shenzhen into Hong Kong that there are many chance to do this, and much easer too.

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Well I received the Z


Date of application:








Visa applied for:

Work (Z)


Documents required:

1. Current visa application version Form v.2013 (Note: Available online or they do walk down the line and hand them out or in the visa section to the right along the wall setting in a rack).

2. Photo copy of the face page and the little 2x2 Hong Kong visa pass (Very, very, important piece of paper with out it forget it).

3. The original PSB and a copy.

4. University invitation and a copy. (My title was professor on the invitation).

5. My pass port.


Not ask for or taken papers:

1. Physical.

2. Police report English.

3. Police report Chinese.

4. College degree copy.

5. Birth certificate.

6. Plane ticket.

7. Hotel receipt.

8. Foreigner registration form.

(Note: I had an inch thick folder of forms loaded for bear) 


visa service:

I opted for the two day service cost HKD 1,300.


Reason for applying.



Previous visa history:

one F visa

six L visas

seven Z visas

2 Q1 visas


I took allot of photos and have notes and comments that I will post next time.

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  • 2 weeks later...
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Thanks for all the informative content in this thread! I have an urgent question about "Invitation Letters".


It seems that in most "Work Visa (Z)" success stories from recent months, the applicant is already equipped with all required documents when he/she arrives in Hong Kong. This includes an "Invitation letter" or "Confirmation of Invitation Letter", which designates that the "Work Visa" is to be applied for in Hong Kong (See links to other helpful forums below). 


In my current situation, however, the Shenzhen Foreign Affairs Office is saying that, in order to obtain the "Hong Kong designated Invitation Letter", proof of Hong Kong residency is required (i.e. Hong Kong residency permit, work permit, or ID card [香港的居留证 、工作证、身份证]).


Can anyone share their experiences regarding applying for a "Hong Kong designated Invitation Letter"? What alternative documents can I submit in order to obtain a "Hong Kong designated Invitation Letter"? Are there any other strategies to legally get around this?


I am a US citizen currently on an "Student Visa (X2)", and the "Invitation Letter" is the last document I need before I am able to apply for a "Work Visa", hopefully in Hong Kong.



By the way, here are two other helpful forums:

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ChristianUSA, it sounds like they are just saying you can only apply in your home country / where your passport is from.

In most of the cases previously, applicants could have their invitation letter state they would apply in HK and NOT their home country. Hong Kong was an alternative to going home.

There have been rumours that HK would stop issuing visas (unclear whether all visas or just work visas) to non-residents for a while.

However, as per OCRCDDirChina 's post, as of 27 of August, it was still possible to go to HK.

I am not sure there are any strategies to obtaining a HK letter. Most people who have posted here have just been able to get one. As for alternatives, really there is only one I can think of which would be to go back to the US.

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Thanks OCRCdirChina(Ken) and ChTTay for your help with this matter.

As ChTTay said: 



I am not sure there are any strategies to obtaining a HK letter. Most people who have posted here have just been able to get one. 


To clarify my previous post, I need to know how those foreign applicants were, quote, "Just able to get one". I want to know HOW to get an "Invitation Letter" that states I should apply for the "Work Visa" in Hong Kong (not my home country). I would like to know how these people were able to get this Hong Kong-specific "Invitation Letter". 

My current visa is almost expired, so I would appreciate any and all comments ASAP. God Bless the WORLD!

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The invitation letter of duly authorized unit must say Hong Kong on it or they will turn you down.


Now for what I went through; the university foreign affairs wanted me to go back to the US to apply. They said that they would pay my plane far, so I ask them what if I get denied? They said then that I would have to pay my way back to China out of my pocket. So I told them why in H*## would I go to the US to apply get turned down and have to pay out of my pocket to come back to China to be with my wife. I told them if I cant go to Hong Kong then I wont apply at all. So they had me send them an email stating that if I get turned down in Hong Kong they pay me nothing.


Now I did get the Z......... I handed them the two air tickets one for 1,600 RMB and the one coming back was 1,910 RMB now they say that they will only reimburse me 80%. And that the hotel room and food they will not reimburse me anything.


Now while I was in Hong Kong I talked to as many people as possible who was applying for the Z. My time there not one Philippine applicant was approved they all came out saying that they were denied. One women said that her future work place sent her to Hong Kong to apply after she got denied they were mad at her and told to find your own way home.

Many foreigner's had this happen to them  many were stranded in Hong Kong. And I could not believe how many different nationalities was living home less in Hong Kong.


Every since the change a few years ago foreign teachers are in short supply now. Many schools can't get any foreign teachers. So the recruiters and the foreign department will promise you all kinds of things and never deliver a one.


Now back to me the school when we talked never said that I would have over 700 hundred students. And teach four different set of books. And now they want us to hold one two hour English corner each week and they are going to give us one office for all the foreign teachers. But we must stay in our office two hours per day after class.


When you look at all the hidden things you find out about after you sign the contract and the 4,800 RMB stagnant pay. You must ask your self this (IS THE JOB AND GETTING THE Z VISA WORTH IT). In my city the pay has not increased in 12 to 15 years for foreign teachers.


Know this my wife had to explain this to me. Chinese will make a promise or promise you something with the intentions of never delivering the promise (They call it being polite).


This is my first time get a Z visa under the new system and my last. I don't have any desire to experience all this again. Know this if you argue or have trouble with your foreign affairs office or your dean or staff. You will be most likely a one year teacher when it comes time to renew they will say no to you. And do not expect any Chinese teachers to come to your aid all of them that came to mine in the past years lost their the very next day.


Think hard about this before you try.............. I wish you good luck either way you go.         

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A lot of what you are saying here has more to do with your school/employer than getting a Z visa in HK. Homestly, It sounds like you picked the wrong school to work for. I've never had this kind of experience with schools here but this is for another topic.

A few things about visas...

It seems most employers want you to go back to your home country because you are less likely to be denied. It's not like they want to "strand" you in your home country only to make you pay to come back. They wish to hire you afterall and they'd even pay your airfare for a free holiday home! Sounds pretty sweet to me.

When you say "many foreigners" were stranded and "not one Filipino" applicant was given a visa. How many? 5? 200? How did you meet all these people? What were all these stranded foreigners doing-Why didn't they just go home?

What "new system"? You mean the new rules they put in place a while ago? I'm curious, you were successful in getting a Z visa in HK. What about the new system has made you feel you don't want to return to HK again for a visa? It sounds more like the reason is your school.

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This university makes number eight, and all the foreign departments I have found them the same. Just fill the slots any way they can by any means.


I talk to any foreigner willing to talk to me about teaching in China. I ask the what do you like and what don't you like about your job and your employer. The other teachers I work with we talk about the good and bad. I spent from 9am to 4:30 pm talking to one of the new American teachers that I will be working with. He has already come to the point that he told them "tear up my contract and I go down the street".


I personally have know teachers that got so fed up that they just got on a plan and left the country with out a word to their employer.


The university I am in contract with my wife graduated form and has been a teacher there for over 25 years now. This university knows me well all the English faculty knows me. But the foreign affairs office is poor at best, and tell you one thing and do another (I have had this experience at every university that I have worked for in China). The other two foreign teachers have made the same observation about this department. My wife even has came to the conclusion that this department needs an overhaul of its staff.   

Most problems between the foreign teacher and the university or school starts out of the foreign affairs office.


As for going to Hong Kong or your home country for a Z visa it is still a crap shoot, many people get still get denied just surf the internet and read.


As for the Filipino applicants I talked with a group of eight  all women (Note all eight denied). They told me that all of the other Philippians that they talked with wear denied too. I was using the two day service they used standard service so they wear in the area longer than me.



Now as for the stranded foreigners many only had enough money to get there and eat for one week. Many after they were denied was told find your own way home by their ex-prospective employer. As for the others that were essentially homeless why they are and why they don't ask to be deported who knows. The 24 hour McDonalds below the sky walk would be a good place to start asking people. Its a well known fact the China has a homeless foreign population problem. One reason for the new change in Z visa policy.   


Now for what new system the one that stopped us for getting our Z visa in the city that we intend to work in. Like I said in the above post that I posted earlier. This is the first time I have applied for a Z visa under the new system/rule that you must leave the country to submit for a Z visa.


Now as for why I won't do this going to Hong Kong again thing. It's very simple I don't, I do not, believe it is worth my time or money to try and get a Z visa. The time and effort spent on a uncertainty verses the pay and work/condition I don't feel its worth my time its that simple.


Now I did notice something about after you give your application to the window and then they give you a blue little paper. At the near top is a block mine was marked with a 1 in it three others I looked at had a 0 in it (Note 4 different nationalities).  I noticed all the blue papers with a 0 mark were denied. The second day I went back early to watch how many of the applicants with a 0 marked in the box would get approved or denied. Out of 5 people that I watched all five were denied don't know why. Its just something I noticed because I and some others were looking at our blue paper and we ask each other why do I have a 0 and you have a 1. My wife said it was visa category but we all were going for the big Z? So why 0 and 1?


This is just my observation  on this 1 and 0 thing.   

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