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Foreign Expert Certificate


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Suppose I go to China and stay for 7 months using L and F visas. At approximately the 7-month point, I sign a contract to teach at a school that is able to get me a foreign expert certificate and whatever else is necessary for me to legally work there for 1 year. Will I still have to briefly leave and then return to China in order to finish up my contract (because of the one-year limit on living in China), or does the foreign expert certificate absolve me of this requirement? If it does not, is there any qualification or magic visa or whatnot that I can obtain that will preclude my having to leave the country? Thanks.

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The foreign expert certificate won't make any difference, it'll depend on the flexibility of the local PSB, and your employers guanxi with them.

I seem to remember the forums on ShanghaiExpat.com had a sticky on changing F > Z - perhaps that might help (that site in general is very good for practical information about China, although obviously it is mostly Shanghai specific)


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I had an F-visa converted to a Z-visa earlier without leaving the country. My employers handled it though and I got the impression that it would have been impossible with an X-visa.

F-visas are apparently more flexible than other types, so if you are coming over to study, try to get one of them rather than the L or X. You can extend once every six months, so will only have to do an out-of-country visa run annually.

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