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Z-Visa questions


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I have some questions in regards to converting a Z-visa into a residence permit. Could someone explain the procedure to me, please? I gave my passport to my employers so they could register me with the police department.  I'm a bit nervous because I'm supposed to receive it today, but haven't yet.  I'm also supposed to give my passport to my employer for converting my Z-visa into a residence permit(they told me it takes 1 month). Is there anything I should be worried about or is this the correct procedure? My school also requested my SSN for a background check. Is that a normal thing as well? 



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Yes, you are supposed to hand in your passport to convert a Z-visa in to a residence permit (the residence permit is affixed to you passport).


It should only take a week or so (once the employer has handed it to the PSB) and you need to start the process within one month of entering China.


Never heard about the SSN background check.

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It’s fine. Is there a specific reason you’re  worried? If you don’t trust your employer, why work for them? 


Its usual for things to take a long time here. A month is average. 


Did you get a criminal records check before you came to China? If you’re teaching at least, then you’re suppose to have one as part of your application. If you don’t have one then maybe they’re going to apply for one on your behalf or get one “from Adobe”.  


This is blog post with the requirement list. Here is a flow chart with an example

of what the process looks like. It’s out of date so don’t really pay so much attention to what it says BUT it is an example of the kind of steps involved in getting you from Z visa to residence permit. Thus, why the process takes a while. 

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Once you've got your Z-Visa, the employer will have to take your original documents to SAFEA to get your FWP (Foreigner's Work Permit). Once you have this you use that to apply for your Residence Permit at the PSB (Public Security Bureau).


Getting your FWP from SAFEA could take a few days.

RP application process can take a 2 - 3 weeks.

We'll leave a few days in for travel, lazniess and getting around to it and such.


I don't think them saying roughly a month is too unrealistic.

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  • 5 weeks later...

FBI background checks require that you submit fingerprints, which is usually done by a company or government agency that is approved to take fingerprints and send them directly to the FBI (so that no one can tamper with them).  In China you probably have to go to the US embassy or consulate and have them take your fingerprints.

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I’d hope the OP got it sorted as it’s a month later! 


Actually, the US embassy and consulate don’t offer finger print services. I’m fairly sure there’s a thread on this but you need to go to a Chinese place.


A set costs about 1000RMB. Booking is preferred but not necessary. 


This website has an excellent write up: 





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Being in a different country and starting a new job is always hard. 

We see it with students all the time, 

try to relax and go out make some friends and explore. 


If you sit on your computer inside a lot it will be harder


From our experience the Z visa has changed to include a background check quite recently

there are also more requirements on documents being notarised that wasnt so a few years ago


Best of luck with your new job and don't worry you'll be fine

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