Why Can’t I Apply for English Teacher Work Permit?

Now Shenzhen   |   November 8, 2022

Service Guidance on Foreigners’ Work Permit in China (Trial) was implemented on April 1, 2017. The basic requirements for foreigners are changed, especially for English teachers. Many expats are rejected when they apply for English teacher work permits. 

We will elaborate the details of English teacher work permit and residence permit application in Shenzhen. (Please note requirements may be different in different cities.)

1. English Teacher Requirements

  (Pic source: Yan Krukov on Pexels.com)
  1. Being at least 18 years old and healthy, with no criminal record, employed by a certain employer in China and obtaining the professional skills or certain level of knowledge necessary for the job.
  2. With a bachelor degree above.
  3. With at least 2 years’ teaching work experiences. Those who have had degrees in the field of education, language or teaching, or have acquired a qualification certificate of teaching at their own countries or a recognized international certificate of language teaching shall be exempted from the restriction on work experiences.
  4. Native English-speaking country nationality. (There are some exceptions in Shenzhen, contact us for details.)

What are the countries and territories where English is the native or first language?

Ascension, Australia, Bermuda, British Antarctic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territory, Canada, Falkland Islands (i.e. Malvinas), Gibraltar, British Guernsey, Guyana (formerly known as British Guiana), Ireland, Isle of Man (British Irish Sea Territory), Jersey, New Zealand, Pitcairn Islands, Singapore, South Africa, Cyprus’ Yakrotiri and De British Virgin Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, St. Helena, Tristan da Cunha, United Kingdom, United States, United States Virgin Islands, Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, British Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

2. Employer Requirements

(Pic source: SIS website)
  1. Being an organization established according to the laws, with no record of serious violation of law or discredit; should be special needs, short for Chinese candidates for the time being, and subject to relevant regulations in China; the payment and the salary of the job should be over the local minimum incomes.
  2. Re those education related companies registered in Market Supervision Administration of Shenzhen, the business scope must include: education training or language training or similar description.
    Re training centers or schools, must have School Certificate “办学许可证“.

3. Duly pre-approved by the competent departments as confined by the laws and regulations, if applicable.

3. Procedure

 (Pic source: Rodnae Productions on Pexels.com)

Procedure of applying outside of China

  1. Notification Letter of Work Permit, 15 work days;
  2. Z Visa, please confirm with Chinese embassy/consulate;
  3. Physical Examination,5/2 work days;
  4. Temporary Accommodation Registration Form, 1 work day;
  5. Work Permit and Residence Permit, 22 work days.

4. Materials

Notification Letter of Work Permit

  1. Passport;
  2. More than two years’ Work Experience Certificate;
  3. Highest Diploma Certificate ;
  4. Consular Authentication Certificate of Highest Diploma Certificate;
  5. Consular Authentication Certificate of Non-criminal Record Certificate issued within recent half year;
  6. Full-faced digital color photo with blue background within half year;
  7. Health certificate of Shenzhen port hospital within half a year (you can use commitment letter to take place before entering China) ;
  8. Employment contract;
  9. Translations of all foreign documents except passports;
  10. Application form;
  11. Information form;
  12. Other supplementary documents may be required due to different foreign applicants.

Z Visa

Need to apply in Chinese embassy/consulate.

The following is an example of Z visa application from the Chinese Embassy in Singapore (Requirements can vary from country to country, please confirm with the Chinese consulate of the application country.)

Application Materials:

  1. Application form completed online (print-out of the full form);
  2. Original passport and copy of the information page;
  3. 1 photo;
  4. Certificate of lawful stay or residence permit in Singapore (for citizens of other countries who are in Singapore);
  5. Original Chinese passport or original Chinese visa (for those who had Chinese nationality and later joined a foreign nationality);
  6. Certificate of COVID-19 vaccination with verifiable QR code;
  7. Effective “Notification Letter of Foreigner’s Work Permit” or the original “Foreigner’s Work Permit”.

Scan the QR to check details:

Physical Examination

Hospital Name: 深圳市口岸医院( Shenzhen Port Hospital)


Fee: About 480RMB(5 work days) ; Urgent:About 720RMB (2 work days).

Documents required:

  1. Original passport, photo page and visa page copies.
  2. Three 2-inch color photos.

Temporary Accommodation Registration Form

Please ask local police station for details, the normal documents are as follows:

  1. Lease contract;
  2. One photo with blue-background;
  3. Original Passport.

You can also do it online by scanning the following QR code:

Work Permit and Residence Permit

  1. All hard copies of documents for  Notification Letter of Work Permit;
  2. Z visa and latest entry stamp page;
  3. Visa Digital Photo Receipt of Guangdong Province, signed by the applicant;
  4. Passport, original;
  5. Temporary accommodation registration form, original and copy;
  6. Health certificate of Shenzhen port hospital within half a year, original and copy;
  7. Residence permit investigation form;
  8. One 2-inch blue background photo, size 48*33mm;
  9. Visa application form with company seal and the applicant’s signature;
  10. Guarantee Letter with company seal and the applicant’s signature;
  11. Work permit for foreigners; original and copy;
  12. Other materials required by the Public Security Bureau.

5. Q&A

  1. May I apply to transfer to another company as English teacher if I am not a native English speaker?
    Can do if you hold an English teacher work permit(foreign expert certificate) from September 2015 and have been working as an English teacher till now.
  2. May I apply in another job title and work as an English teacher if I am not from a native English country?
    No, it’s illegal to do like this and there is a risk to get rejection.
  3. May I apply as a Spanish teacher and work as an English teacher if I am from Spain?
    No, it’s illegal and also will be rejected if your school doesn’t have Spanish course. Meanwhile, Foreign Expert Bureau may let your company/school provide Spanish Opening Certificate(西班牙语开课证明) issued by Education Bureau.
  4. Can I apply for English teacher work permit if I don’t have two years’ English teacher work experience?
    Can apply if you have a bachelor or higher degree in education, language or teaching, or have acquired a qualification certificate of teaching (TEFL,TESOL,CELTA, ect). TEFL or TESOL certificate must be more than 120 hours and notarized.
  5. Can I apply for a new English teacher work permit if I am from a non-native English country?
    It’s possible if you have a master degree or Ph.D obtained in a native English country and your major is in  language or education or teaching. 
  6. Can I apply for English teacher work permit if i don’t have a bachelor degree?