I just wanted to write a guide to getting a Chinese Work (Z) visa in Bangkok. This is based on my own horrible experiences and might not be completely correct, but at least it'll get your further than the official embassy website: http://www.chinaembassy.or.th/eng/ which doesn't have much information on it at all.
Here's what you'll need (and this is order you should present it to them at the Visa Office):
- Visa Application Form A (with passport photo on)
- Visa Application Form B (supplementary form)
- Photocopy of passport page
- Photocopy of Thai visa page
- Photocopy of last Chinese Visa (if any)
- Employment letter and any other documents your school sends you
- Bank Statement
- Flight Booking
- Hotel Reservation (I didn't submit one as I was staying with a friend – but you'll need to put his/her address in the appropriate section)
- Photocopy of Medical Form (with the same passport photo as the one on your Application Form)
First, you'll need to get your documents from your school in China. They should advise you as to exactly what they need (it may differ in different parts of China) but generally it should be the following items (which you'll need to scan in and send to them via email):
- Scan of passport info page
- Photo of yourself
- Scan of degree
- Scan of teaching certificate (if you have one)
- References (might not necessarily need these – check with your school)
Once they receive these, they'll take them to be processed and then send you the employment letter and any other documents which are needed from their side). This can possibly take a week or two (or maybe longer) so in the mean time get the rest of the documents together.
First, go the Visa Application Centre to pick up the Application Forms (A and B) and the Medical Check Form (unfortunately, these forms are not available online). The Visa Application Centre is not the same as the Chinese Embassy. This link explains how to get there: http://migrationology.com/2011/07/how-to-get-a-china-visa-in-bangkok/ .
Take the Medical Form to the nearest hospital, which is Praram 9 hospital. It's important that you take it to a Thai government hospital and not a clinic. Praram 9 is fine and it's the closest one. It's possible to walk there (takes about 15mins) or you can take one of the motorbike taxis from outside the embassy – they all know the place. Here's a map from A (the visa office) to B (the hospital).
The hospital will do the full medical check and have the results back to you within a few hours. Make sure they put an official hospital stamp over your picture and at the bottom.
Then take this form with your passport to a copy shop. There are a few near the Visa Office – turn left when you exit the Visa Office and walk a while and you'll come across some. Do all the copies that I mentioned earlier (passport info page, Thai visa, previous Chinese visa and the medical form).
Fill in the application forms (A and B) carefully. You'll need the address of the school and the address of someone you're staying with (alternatively, book a hotel but be sure to take a print out of the booking with you for the visa application). There's also a section on the Form B about the school's Alien Employment number or something like that (I can't remember exactly the terminology). Ask your school for this too.
Print off a recent bank statement. Try to make sure you have at least a bit of money in there otherwise they might reject it on the basis of you not having enough money (note: this is a guess on my part. I don't know for sure, but I heard of one guy who had problems for not having enough money in his account – exactly how much is required is anybody's guess!).
When you get your documents from your school, book a flight and print off the E-ticket. Allow yourself about a week of 'wiggle room' in case there are problems at the Visa Office (I met a few people who missed flights due to unforeseen problems).
By this time you should have all your documents ready. Put them in the order I mentioned earlier and prepare yourself for going to the Visa Application Office. It opens at 9am but I recommend getting there earlier. If you turn up at 9am then they'll be a huge line of people and it'll take you a few hours to be seen. I recommend getting there at around 7.30am – 8am. There a 3 lines outside (although people generally don't know this so it's little chaotic). The far left line is for Visa applications – stand here. The middle and far right lines are for tour groups and people collecting their passports (they'll have these little pink slips which you'll come across later). Generally, they let the tour groups and passport collectors in first. Don't worry – they'll be in different lines once you get up to the office).
Once you get let in at 9am you'll proceed upstairs. When you enter the office, get a ticket from the machine (or if the machine is broken you'll need to line up in front of the windows). The office has glue for you to stick your picture to your form. When your number is called present your documents with your passport and pray that everything is fine. If there's a problem then they should let you know at this stage. Stay calm and try to make sure they tell you exactly what you need to do.
If all is well then you'll get a pink slip which will tell you when to collect your passport. You can choose from 1 day, 2-3 days, 4 days processing (with various different prices for each). I recommend the 1-day processing (since the school should pay you back anyway) just in case there are any further problems. I've seen people trying to collect their passports only to find out that there's been a problem with the processing (you still get your passport back but you'll need to apply again). If you do do the 1-day processing then there's a big shopping centre just around the corner from the Visa Office. You can kill time there, get some lunch, coffee and generally mope around until you pick up your passport.
When it comes to collecting your passport, again make sure to get to the Visa Office early to ensure you won't be waiting too long. I picked mine up on the same day and got there 1 hour before the 3pm pick up time. It was lucky I did since there was a long line of people behind me by 3pm.
When collecting your passport you first go the last window on the left (number 14) and pay the cashier. You give them your pink slip, they scan it and tell you how much to pay. They then give you a white receipt which you take to window 12 and use these two to pick up your passport. Hopefully, everything will be fine and you'll be on your way to China! If there has been a problem with the processing then they won't let you pay and they'll make you wait at a different window where someone should come and explain the problem.
As I said before, this is all based on my extremely stressful experience. I spent 4 days in a row going to the Visa Office trying to get my visa sorted. Almost everyone else I met had similar problems and issues – all down to a lack of available information on the application process. I hope that this guide can go some way to helping others. If there are any mistakes or things which need updating/editing then please let me know and I'll do my best to keep it up-to-date.
Good luck, and remember to stay calm – it can be a very frustrating experience.