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Information safety when applying to teach in China


Floridaray
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Hello all,

 

   I am currently inquiring about teaching positions in China. Everyone requires a lot of info including a copy of a current passport. It causes me a little pause to send this info to who knows who and I am actually casting a pretty wide net to get a job. I have hear I could send a copy of the passport with the actually number crossed out. Any suggestions of how to protect myself a bit and what I should not send would be greatly appreciated.

 

 

  I am trying to get a position in DongBei somewhere for that neutral accent. I know the most important thing is to learn the language and then you can overcome the regional differences in Putonghua but it would be great be able to learn a bit from everyone around me. I live in Florida now but also have lived in Alaska so can't wait to get back to some mountains and temperate weather even with a bit of pea soup. Know a bit of Russian as well as Korean so this should be fun.

 

  Thanks Ray

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Sending a copy of your passport is standard practice for all TEFL/ESL jobs. I wouldn't worry about it. If you don't have a good impression of the school or the person you're dealing with, enough so that you don't want to send a copy of your passport or other details, then you probably shouldn't work there either!

 

Are you worried someone will take that information and make a fake passport? I guess that is possible if unlikely. In China though you'd have to get used to having copies of your passport everywhere or, at least, people needing to look at it and record the information down. For example, you need your passport to send a letter, to buy certain medicine, to buy train tickets, then things like at the bank etc where you'd expect to need it. It's your main form of I.D in China so it's used quite a bit. Then the visa office/PSB also need copies and your school will probably need a copy too.

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Thanks chTTay

 

Yeah I'm concerned about data theft but I guess this is standard operating procedure that I can't avoid. I have also heard that you need to leave your passport with hotels sometimes while staying there. People have said thats a no no and I should avoid that if its a requirement. Copying or looking at its ok but to not leave it with them. Better to find out as much info as I can now before being thrust into a situation. 

 

 Cheers

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Note however that you will need to hand your passport over to the PSB when you apply for your residence permit (which needs to happen within 30 days of arrival if you arrive on a Z-visa).  This process can take a couple of weeks depending on how organised your school is (or isn't).

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Thanks anonymouse and imron.

 

Thats sounds uncomfortable to go without a passport for up to a couple of weeks when you use it to do so many things. I guess that having a school you trust is important to do both the right and most expedient thing. i've been delayed for years getting to China and this might be my window of opportunity so I want to do it.

 

I have heard that Bank of America has a sister bank in China which makes banking and ATM use easy and cheap. I most likely will has a low balance credit card to use which will limit the amount of fraud if used. Are there any other ways to limit credit card scams?

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What things do you imagine doing with your passport within the first couple of weeks of arriving?

All the important things you need it for the school will let you do first, then they'll take it to the PSB for processing your residence permit (which is a sticker that goes in your passport like a visa).

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Bank of America sold its remaining interest in China Construction Bank in 2013. Not sure there are still any benefits to using a Bank of America card at CCB.

 

Further, credit cards, espcially overseas cards, are often not welcomed in China. On the other hand, debit cards from Chinese banks can be used just about everywhere. Best to open a Chinese bank account -- of course you'll need your passport -- as soon as you arrive.

 

I'd also suggest getting an account now with a US bank or credit union that doesn't charge a fee for overseas withdrawals.

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thanks imron and 889,

 

  Just a concern from chTTays statement   "For example, you need your passport to send a letter, to buy certain medicine, to buy train tickets, then things like at the bank etc where you'd expect to need it. It's your main form of I.D in China so it's used quite a bit."

 

I can always ask my school before I come how this will work out.

 

Cheers

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@floridaray all of those things are infrequent things, and can be easily managed within the timeframe it takes to get your residence permit issued.

 

You'll only need it at the bank if opening an account or changing money - things the school will arrange for you to do (if needed) before taking your passport to get the residence permit.

 

For train tickets, it's only intercity trains that require this, not for example city metros, and places selling those train tickets will often accept photocopies (they just need the passport #, they don't check id), and I'm sure you can hold off on intercity rail travel for the first couple of weeks of working at a new school.

 

For medication, the type of medication that needs this is the type you should be bringing with you initially anyway (e.g. prescriptions for an existing condition you might have).  If and when that runs out and you need to visit a local doctor for a refill, you'll definitely have your passport back.

 

All in all, being without your passport for a couple of weeks while your school sorts out your residence permit shouldn't be any cause for concern and it's something required of anyone who wants a residence permit.

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If you're that worried, you could always take your passport (with the relevant paperwork provided by the school) to the Entry and Exit Bureau yourself. You'll still have to leave it there a week, but at least you'll know it's in the right place and be able to get it back directly.

Personally, though, I'd be glad if the school were willing to cover the hassle and expense for me.

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   I appreciate the heads up. I will have the information on the closest consulate or other representative body that would allow me to take care of any issues. I will write out in hanzi my status for the event I get stopped. It would beat my broken and very incomplete putonghua combined with hand motions resembling me playing padycake with myself. They could misinterpret it as a futile effort of a laowai at wing chin and throw me in the slammer. It might help my chinese though as I could talk the finer points of tattoos and cuisine in a local dialect. I am joking as I want to color       100 % within the lines to prevent any issues. 

 

 I have been a fan of this forum for awhile and hope to contribute a bit.

 

Cheers

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It's possible you might be able to buy a train ticket with just a photocopy of your passport, though I'd hardly count on it these days, but you're very very unlikely to get past the security check at the station entrance when you try to board the train with it. Flying of course the same.

 

So without your passport you're essentially stuck where you are till you get it back.

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