Conversion of L visa to Z visa in China
Apr 27, 2012 06:14
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Dear All,

I was recently offered a job by an international company in Suzhou, China.

Initially, I was told to send them these documents:

a. Copy of passport
b. Copy of education certificate (In English or Chinese)
c. Copy of birth certificate(In English or Chinese
d. Original health report.
e. Original non-criminal certificate.

They told me that after receiving these documents from me, they would be applying for an alien employment license (AEL) and letter of invitation (LOI) issued by the Chinese government for me. They will then send the AEL and LOI to me.

Then, I may use the AEL and LOI to apply for a Z visa in my home country, before leaving to China.

However, after sending them the documents that I have listed above, they replied saying that it would take a long time to apply for a work permit. The reason they gave was that the work permit was originally issued by Suzhou Industrial Park (a district in Suzhou), but now it is being issued by Suzhou city and thus would take a long time.

I am required to be in China very soon and therefore the company suggested that I come to China on a L visa and then try to convert it into a Z visa either in HongKong or in my home country.

To be honest, this sounds a little fishy, but I would like to give the company the benefit of the doubt.

Therefore, I'd like to enquire:

1) Is it possible to convert a L visa into a Z visa after arriving in China by doing it in HK?
2) Is this a common practice? (this 'temporary' illegal immigrant status thing)
3) What is the worse case scenario that could happen?
4) What is the difference between
- alien employment license
- letter of invitation issued by the Chinese government
- work visa and work permit?

If someone can answer just 1 of my questions, I would be extremely grateful.

Thank you in advance!
Apr 27, 2012 06:42
GUEST33222 Only businesses approved by the Chinese government can provide legal employment and a Z visa, and job opportunities are very limited unless you are qualified to teach English. If there is any doubt about this I would avoid them. If you travel on an L visa you will still need to leave China to apply for a Z visa and the requirements will be the same. Some agencies have ways and means to provide Z visas for a price, but may not be strictly legal.
Apr 27, 2012 11:27
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Hello,I try to asnwer your questions as what i know.Firstly,i am 100% sure that you can't change your "L" visa to "Z" in mainland of China,because i consulted the Administration of Entry and Exit while my husband was here in China.Finally,he went back to his country,now his is employed by a university in China.The university is trying to make "Z" visa for him.Normally,it is easy to make "Z" visa for a foreign teacher,and they will get a Foreign Expert Certificate.Many companies make a "F" for foreigners too.Yes,they can stay one year too with that kind of visa.However,actually it is illegal to work with "F" visa.

Someone says that it is possible to change "L" visa to "Z" visa in Hongkong.I don't know how the situation in Hongkong now is.About 4 years ago,my foreign oral teacher did in this way and he got the "Z" visa successfully.You'd better send e-mail to consult the relevant administration in Hongkong.

The worse can be happened is,once you are discovered to work illegally by police,then you will be fined and repatriated by them.
Alien employment license is the work permit to allow you work legally.With the invitation letter and alien employment license,then you can get the "Z" visa(means work visa).

I hope i explained clearly and would be helpful for you.
Welcome to China.
May 2, 2012 09:31
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Z visa is issued at your home country which only last for one month before that your employee shall send you all relevant documents such as Suzhou Municipal Bureau Commerce or Entry and Exit Department of Suzhou letter of approval Z visa, bear in mind Z is only one month visa which you need to get it done at your home country Chinese Consulate than come to China in between one month so you can get a Work Permit which stated in your Visa in Chinese Wording no other than L or F, Z
May 7, 2012 04:27
GUEST12091 I am in a similar situation and was just wondering if it is at all possible to get the Z visa processed in Hong Kong. I hold a UK passport and currently trying to work in Shenzhen. I have been told by some people that it should be OK to get the visa processed in Hong Kong - but the company I am applying to work for is adamant my application would be rejected. I have the Invitation Letter and the Confirmation Letter of Invitation from the company, and was wondering, on what grounds would an application be be rejected?

Should I risk trying to get my Z visa processed in Hong Kong? I really don't want to fly home just to get the Z visa.

May 7, 2012 05:05
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I am also in a similar situation. Does this mean that it is not possible to get a Z visa in Hong Kong? I am already in China (Shenzhen) and have the necessary documents for the Z visa from the company I am applying to work for. But I don't want to fly home to the UK just to get the Z visa processed. Is there any other way to get the Z visa processed with returning to your home country?

Would the Foreign Ministry in Hong Kong reject my application if I try and apply for the Z visa there?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

May 7, 2012 07:49
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You should be able to get the visa issued in HK. I have done so and I am continually hearing of people doing it. make sure the employer fills out the forms fo taking them to HK, not UK. All absurd, isn't it??
Jun 19, 2012 08:06
GUESTFARAH Hi! husband is studing in wuhan ...i m in Pakistan, now i want to visit him...i contacted the chineese consulate in my home country, they are saying they can issue me a 6-months L-visa whcih can be extended after wards from china....I want to stay longer with my hubby(about a year or more)...can my L-visa be easily extended for such a long period in Wuhan? if i would nt be able to get a longer extension then fr which type of visa should i apply for ? waht about faily or F visa? can my L-visa be converted into F-visa there in Wuhan?
Pls reply urgently any one!!1
especially Annyuan..:)
Jun 20, 2012 06:02
GUEST67938 An initial 6 month L visa is unusually long, but usually you can renew a visa twice without leaving China. However, most L visas are 30 day so this means 90 days total. After this you can leave China (for Hong Kong) and apply for a new L visa.
Jul 29, 2012 03:39
GUEST94126 I am in the same situation as the original poster.

A rather reputable western agency based in Shanghai who contracts small universities is telling me that it is 'OK' to work on an L visa while my documents are being processed (only an interim measure). Once ready, I then go the HK. But the entire time I'm working on the L visa which they simply state they only need approval from the university.

Is this truely possible. Another member in my destination city tells me it is but for only 30 days and advised me to get written approval from the school first. Someone please tell me if this is really true. I have a kid in China and don't need to be involved in games.
Oct 15, 2012 21:43
GUEST20182 It is absolutely possible to arrive in China on a 'l' (tourist) visa and then convert legally to a 'z' visa to work as an English language teacher if you have the right qualifications, documents, are the right age (25-59), come from the 'right' countries (generally UK, USA, Australasia). If you are going to work for a reputable company, they should know how to do this and guide you through the process. This can be done in Beijing. You just need to get assurances from whatever company you're going to work for and, if possible contact current staff who work with them.
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