After moving back to the US from South Korea, I applied for many American jobs, and didn’t get even one interview. So as a back-up plan, I applied to ESL teaching jobs in other countries. I couldn’t get anything in South America or Europe. Out of all the offers I got in Asia, China had the best pay and most benefits.

Preparing to move to China is quite different from the process of moving to South Korea.

TO-DO List

  1. Print your contract and read it out loud slowly.
  2. Sign, scan, and email your contract back to your school.
  3. Get your diploma notarized in the same state as your university.
  4. Mail your notarized diploma to CVSC.
  5. If you’re a US citizen, get your background check from the FBI. If you submit your application electronically, the process only takes a few weeks, but if you mail in your application with your fingerprints, it could take a few months.
  6. Mail your FBI background check to the CVSC in Washington DC. Notarizing it there takes 11 business days and costs $321.
  7. Authenticating your notarized diploma takes about one week and costs $220.
  8. Your school will use your authenticated documents to order your work permit.
  9. With your work permit, you will be able to apply for your Z-Visa at the Chinese Embassy. The application is four pages long. You must attach a passport sized photo of yourself to the first page of the visa application. You need a photo copy of your passport information page. You will also be fingerprinted electronically at the embassy. It costs $160, which you will pay when you pick up your passport (visa) at the embassy. It is a Single Entry visa, but you will be allowed to exit and reenter the country once you have acquired your residence permit (alien card).
  10. Be sure to get the Chinese medical form from your school before you go get your physical. The physical exam includes a chest x-ray.
  11. I was advised to bring a minimum of 24,000 Yuan cash with me to China.
  12. My school will provide me with a hotel for two days while I look for an apartment.


I hope this information makes your transition to China less stressful.

Thank you for reading.

Happy travels!