If you are preparing to get a work visa or residency in China, you will need to understand the document authentication process.
Whether this is the first time getting a work permit or you lost your work permit and residency during the pandemic, you will be faced with the grueling process of gathering and authenticating your documents before entering China. Will documents you already authenticated in the past still be accepted? Which documents should I get authenticated, and which documents do not require authentication? Here are a few tips that come from my experience processing documents from the United States.
- Make sure you know exactly which documents you will need. Each document requires a lot of time and money, adding one additional document or not having everything you need will be painful. If you do not clearly understand the process after doing your own research, contact the HR department of the company hosting you or a visa agent in the city you plan to move to for more details.
- Understand the work permit classification system. Your employer may be looking to help you get a class B work permit, but if you can process one or two extra documents and move yourself up to a class A work permit, it will come with advantages. Some documents that would help include proof of previous work experience or an HSK certificate (Chinese Proficiency Test). If you would like to find out which work permit classification you qualify for, you can download and fill out this form.
- Consider when to start gathering documents. If you have had diplomas and 'proof of work experience' authenticated in the past, you should still be able to use them today, but six months after being issued, some documents are no longer valid (i.e. marriage certificates and non-criminal record) It is a good idea to start as early as possible with other documents, but don’t plan too far ahead with these.
- Research, research, research. Carefully read all the instruction on the website of the Chinese Embassy in your home country. Check the websites for visa agencies that handle document authentication in your area for further instruction. I personally like the reminders from this website: Chinese Document Authentication (www.usccc.org). After you know which documents you need, determine which states you will get them from. Look up which consulates hold jurisdiction for that state and work backwards. Reading the requirements of the consulate, the U.S. State Department (if applicable), the secretary of state, the county clerk (if applicable), and the institution you are requesting documents from. Take notes. Once you understand the requirements of each step, start the process.
- Understand that the requirements of the Chinese embassy or consulate may be higher than you expect. For example, we have seen documents that had staples removed and reinserted sent to the secretary of state for authentication… they were accepted and authenticated. Even though the Secretary of State authenticated these documents, the consulate would not. Removing staples is an indication that the document was tampered with. DO NOT REMOVE OR INSERT STAPLES unless instructed to do so by the consulate or embassy.