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Two potential issues with Z Visa


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I winding down one stage of my life here in the US and wanted to live out a dream I have had the past few years by going back to China to teach!


I was in China from 2001-2004 and was teaching for two of those years and had a small international trade consulting company for the last year or so.


I was working on F Visas, which I renewed when necessary. Back then I was told that was legal by my school and that was also the understanding of others I worked with.


I was also under the impression this was fine for the U.S. based company I started in my last year in China, as the company was receiving payment directly from our clients in Ohio and we made no transactions within China. Also, I was not "employed" by the company as I was an owner who received distributions. Maybe that idea is correct and maybe it is not.


However I understand that, at the very least, the teaching part was not actually legal.


So now I have an expired passport full of F visas. Since these were handled in Hong Kong by an agent I don't even know who the sponsoring company was who I assume is listed on the corresponding documents the PRC has.


When I apply for the new Z visa I will be sending these old F visas along as part of the application. Will these F visas from 11-14 years ago pose a problem?


I wasn't planning on including information on my teaching in my resume or other documents. The experience was so long ago it is probably not relevant anyway. Should I include the fact that I ran a business during this time on my resume? Should I include any information at all on what I did at that time?


My main reason for being in China back then was to live with my now ex-wife. Is that a good enough explanation in and of itself? Or would that be considered obtaining the F visa under false pretenses (coming under a business visa and not working).


The second issue I have is a criminal conviction in 2007 of a "Physical Control of Vehicle Under the Influence of Alcohol", which is a misdemeanor. This was plead down from a DUI. I do not drink and have not in the last eight years since the incident, but in the State of Ohio it is not an expugnable offence and stays on your record permanently.


I have heard conflicting information about whether that will disqualify me. Some have said to include an explanation letter along with the background check when I apply.


This criminal record check is required for obtaining the work permit, but is not specifically asked for in the Z visa application that I apply for here in the US. However, on the application form for the Z visa, it asks if I have ever been convicted of a crime. Since I will be answering yes to that question, should I also include a copy of the criminal record check along with an explanation letter in my application to the Consulate here in USA?


Sorry for the long post. I appreciate any input as I am just trying to arrive at a path forward. Thanks in advance for your help!






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In the past 10 years or longer, F visa were quite popular in China. Thousands of foreigners take the F visas to work, to study or to do the things they like to do. In the beginning it is because of the difficulties to apply for work visas. Later it was too easy to get F visas. 

But from the year of 2013 on (the new Chinese Immigration Law came into effect), it changed. 

Foreigners are strictly required to apply for work visas. Or the employing companies and the foreigners will face serious punishment. 

Your previous F visas belong to the old age. Don't mention it if not being asked. If asked, F visas are not allowed to teach at any time, but it is allowed to do business research, culture exachange and etc.


Recently we do handle an application with the applicant having a DUI record. You can turn to an experienced agency if you cannot handle it. Anyway, it is the labor bureau, who issue the employment license, require the non-criminal record certificate. The other authorities like Bureau of Commerce, Chinese embassy/ consulate and Public Security Bureau care less about the non-criminal record. 

When applying for the Z visa at the Chinese embassy/consulate in your country, with the employing license and Z visa notification letter, you can write down the misdemeanor. But of course, it is better to have an explanation letter followed. 

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Thank you leeovisa and 889 for your quick replies! From what I gathered above:


I will be having to supply my F visa copies as it is specifically requested by the Consulate here in my country on their list of application documents. I ran a company that provided information to US clients about suppliers here in China (consulting work). It seems to me now that it does not quite fit into the definition of what is acceptable under an F visa. Is that correct and does mentioning that if/when asked mean I will likely not be able to obtain a visa? Do they look on F visa issues differently from that time 11 years ago and would they go easy on me?


It seems there is one vote for including the cover letter explaining the DUI on the Z visa application and one vote against. Are there any other opinions on that, any personal experience where this has been tried?


If obtaining a visa with a DUI (or in my case the lesser charge of Physical Operation) has been done before I will go ahead and give this whole thing a try. If I am refused by the first labor bureau, should I just keep reapplying at other locations. In the future, if I switch jobs, will this continue to be reviewed and would they be likely to change their minds on a settled issue?


Thank you everyone!

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The expired passport is old news.  Don't ask, don't tell.  Why are you sending them along with the application?  That's never been a part of any application I've ever done. 


Use an agency for the visa, they have all sorts of ways around problems.  It's what they do.  If everything fails, move to a new state and get a criminal check from them instead. 

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There is a rather unclear passage in the visa instructions for an Z visa that mention that if you have obtained a Chinese visa before, but have a new passport that you should include the old visas in your application. I would copy and paste the exact language, but I can't seem to copy and paste in this message box. What is unclear about the passage is that it is under a heading related to Chinese citizens who have switched their citizenship.


Anyway, the idea of working with a visa agent sounds fantastic. At what part of the process do I engage them. Is that before or after I start applying for jobs?


I have found visa application agents here in the US, such as MyChinaVisa.com which seems to expedite the process of applying for the visa at the consulate, but there doesn't seem to be any consultation or anything regarding the work permit and that is where the criminal record issue comes into play.


Are there china visa agents that act more like consultants, walking you through the whole process? That's what it sounds like people are referring to. if so, any suggestions for possible agents?


- Craig

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  • 5 months later...

"There is a rather unclear passage in the visa instructions for an Z visa that mention that if you have obtained a Chinese visa before, but have a new passport that you should include the old visas in your application. I would copy and paste the exact language, but I can't seem to copy and paste in this message box. What is unclear about the passage is that it is under a heading related to Chinese citizens who have switched their citizenship."

Just applied for a visa - this stipulation is only for Chinese citizens who have switched their citizenship. The application form* does ask this:

2.9 是否曾经获得过中国签证?如有,请说明最近一次获得中国签证的时间和地点。
Have  you  ever  been granted  a  Chinese  visa?  If  applicable, please  specify the date and place of the last time you were granted the visa.

I brought the relevant passport along, but there was no need to present the old visa.

* http://www.china-embassy.org/chn/lszj/bgxz/P020130830121570742708.pdf

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