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Will a DUI ruin my chances of ever teaching/working in China?


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I got a (misdemeanor) DUI in 2015. I also just graduated from college in 2015. All I want to do is return to China (where I lived for a semester) and teach there. However, I've read many job applications from companies and nearly all of them have stated that they will need proof of a clean criminal record in one's home country. Am I, for lack of a better term, screwed?


Basically I'm asking two things:

1) Are there companies that will hire me and be able to get me a work visa in China even though I have a criminal record?

2) If I am unable to get a work visa with a criminal record, do I have any other options for securing one anyway? For example, I've heard of many people getting fake criminal background checks to supply to employers so that they can go abroad and work/teach. Is this actually something that's feasible and/or easy to do? I realize that I sound like a bad person for asking how to forge a fake background check to get to China, but honestly, I don't care. I made a mistake, yes. But I just don't believe I deserve to be punished for the rest of my life by being barred from ever fulfilling my dream of teaching and living in China. 


Anyway, I thank you guys greatly for any advice and information you can give me :)

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Dear Miles,


According to their regulation, It may be possible for you to get in under a DUI record.

You can only try, but then please be advised that if they deny you, you wouldn't be able to try any "fake criminal background checks" as that passport would be flagged. 


You'd better try to call the crim. records department to see whether they can do something such as to omit that record.  

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I've heard of many people getting fake criminal background checks to supply to employers so that they can go abroad and work/teach


What?! Where have you heard 'many people' are faking criminal back ground checks??


If you're from the U.S won't the background check be federal? Do you really want to tamper with a federal document? You also have to get it notarized too, right? Sounds like a very bad idea.


I'd probably try and get it omitted somehow or apply anyway and see what perspective employers say. They might have a way around it. It will be more likely if you're applying somewhere not that popular that struggles to attract foreigners.



fulfilling my dream of teaching and living in China

Your other threads are all about studying in China on scholarship etc. That didn't work out?

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"According to their regulation, It may be possible for you to get in under a DUI record."

What regulations, exactly?


Their regulation that lets you work with a DUI :-)

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Haha actually i was trying to sound smart with "according ...." then that failed.. I think its sarcasm.. 

There is no regulation, but I think they'll rather accept someone with a clean criminal record. It's just simpler. 

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Thing is, you're not providing a fake criminal records check to your employer - you're providing it, indirectly, to the Chinese authorities. I'm not sure at exactly what point it's used, but I'd assume these people see more than a few of these and know what one should look like. Don't get a cheap fake. 


I've bumped a topic from several months back, guy was in a similar situation, we'll see if we hear from him.


Steven, you've signed up with an anonymous email address, talk as if you know lots and lots about Chinese visas, but don't actually appear to have all that much experience. Introduce yourself, privately if necessary. Thanks. 

"I think they'll rather accept someone with a clean criminal record. It's just simpler. "

And if it's a school or city struggling to get teachers? If this guy, for some reasons, is perfect for this job? 

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I see. Sounds like you might actually not be the best person to go for visa advice. Perhaps if someone has also been caught working illegally...

Maybe it would be more helpful to others to post the "solution" if a thread is solved, rather than deleting the whole thing.

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Actually I'd say i'm the best person, someone who has been "through the system", so to speak. I've posted to OP a link to a resource that may help him.


Some of the things that I've read from people here (former embassy staff) are not all correct in terms of , for instance,how a visa is processed.

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  • 2 months later...

I haven't had a formal check yet, but suppose i have nothing. I once got a ticket twenty years ago for drinking a beer in public (I didn't even know that it was illegal). I paid a fine, was never handcuffed or fingerprinted (I was not 'arrested'). Still, I had to appear in court with a mob of other people with parking tickets and such and pay the fine. Maybe I have a misdemeanor, I don't know. 

But it seems to me that most schools accept a dot com background check and those are hardly 'federal.' More like Private Dick. A real nitty gritty check means whole handprints and fingerprints sent off to the FBI (which can take a long time btw). I haven't heard of that being done here, but I have heard of it in other countries. I think it's pretty much impossible and definitely very criminal to tamper with those. Don't let your misdemeanor turn into a felony.

Misdemeanors can be annulled, and I'd imagine being up front about a misdemeanor would get you off the hook. Honesty is always the way to go when your back is pretty much up against the wall. If one had a felony though, tough luck, that's life. There's always something to do in this big world. Personally, I don't care at all for visas, passports, and surveillance of the 'human herd' but that's the way the world is. For now...

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  • 4 weeks later...

I also have a DUI on my record from 2005.  I also had an underage drinking charge in 2003 (I was a bit wild in my youth)!  However, when I had an FBI background check done last year it came back clean (no charges).  The only explanation I can think of is perhaps that these are state level criminal charges (both misdemeanors) and the FBI check that I had done is only looking at federal charges or felonies.  It's possible too that not all states report misdemeanors to the FBI (mine were in Ohio).  I am not a lawyer or expert so take all of this with a grain of salt as I am just speculating here.  My point is that it might be wise to get an FBI check done on yourself before applying to a school and just see if your OVI even comes up.  If it comes back clean like mine did then you should be good to go!  I am working in Thailand which isn't very strict on background checks (just handed them a non-notarized paper copy of the FBI check and didn't have any problems).  Good Luck!

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  • 2 years later...
  • New Members

Hello Miles (and anyone else on this thread),


I'm taking my TEFL course next month with plans on beginning teaching in China sometime in mid 2019. I too am worried that an old OWI from 2004 will come back to haunt me if schools start asking for a FBI Criminal Background Check. My dream is to teach in China and I'm so afraid that this mistake from my younger days will stop me from making my dream a reality!

I was just wondering, now that it has been a couple years, how things went for you (or anyone else who may be reading this post). Were you able to teach in China? If so, did the school ask for a criminal background check? Did you tell them the truth or go the other route you mentioned of faking documents. I have no intention of doing this, but am just wondering. If you did decide to tell the truth, was it harder to find a job teaching in China with this blemish on your record? Hope you're still out there and this post finds you and you were able to reach your goal of living in China! Any information on this subject from anyone will be greatly appreciated!! Thanks!

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It’s not the school that requires a criminal background check, it’s a requirement for obtaining a visa/residence permit/work permit. 


As above, seems worth doing a check on yourself and seeing if it is on your Federal record. If it is, it’s very unlikely you will be able to work in China legally. 

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I've known at least one person who had a prior DUI on his record and was still able to work here legally.

Is your DUI a felony or a misdemeanor? That could make all the difference. Also, any misdemeanor you have you should get expunged from your record. Research the different kinds of background checks and what shows up on them. Misdemeanors may not appear. As above, do a check on yourself first with one of the online services.

I haven't heard of anyone being required to get an FBI background check in China, yet- online services seem to be OK. I know some countries are requiring the FBI check, so keep that in mind. I don't know how thorough FBI checks are, re misdemeanors. They will report any felony, that's for sure. They also take six months for results I think.

It's too bad you have a DUI, but you should never forge documents. That can get you deported for good,  and create more distrust and red tape for us people who don't forge documents and/or degrees. Just don't give up, and try another school/province if you need to. Even at the consulate, it can depend upon who's sitting at the desk doing the stamping. iow it's always worth trying. Sometimes just talking to the right person can solve problems like yours.

I'd try to find out more from people with direct personal experience.

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Baby Charlie

If you are a US citizen, it would depend on how long it stays on your state record. Some states it is there forever, other states it drops off after a certain period of time. Since it is now a requirement for your university degree and a criminal record check to be authenticated by your own government and then the Chinese government, I would say that your chances of legally coming to China are not that great! I would do as others have suggested and order a background check on yourself, if the drunk driving charge is there, you have your answer! Good luck and there are many other countries that do not have this requirement for you to fulfill your dream of teaching English! These requirements are new but I am so glad that they are in place as this country has been a dumping  ground for losers from around the world!

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