The Requirements for Teaching English in China

There are several reasons why English instructors like teaching ESL in China. China, the cradle of one of the world's great civilizations, offers an unrivaled blend of history, culture, and food. China is the world's biggest TEFL market, with over 1.3 billion residents and an estimated 400 million English language learners. If you want to teach English in China, you need make sure you have the following qualifications:

Teaching English in China Requirements:

A TEFL qualification;

A bachelor's degree in any field/major is required.

Native English speakers from the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, or South Africa are highly desired (especially if you are looking to teach in a major city in China). Non-natives must be proficient in English and talk at a native level.

A negative criminal background check;

A current passport.

Let's go over each of these China ESL teaching prerequisites and certifications in more detail below:

1. The TEFL Certificate

To teach English in China, you must have a TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) certification. Obtaining TEFL certification will offer you with the necessary training and credentials to be recruited by a respectable school in China, as well as the confidence to deliver ESL classes to your pupils.

Which TEFL program is best for me?

Because the majority of job interviews in China are performed in advance from your home country, it is typical for students to attend our 170-Hour Online TEFL Course, which you may complete from the comfort of your own home. Because this is a part-time program, you may continue to work and accumulate money in preparation for your trip to China, whenever that may be.

2. Language Prerequisites

Native English speakers from the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, or South Africa are highly sought for, particularly if you wish to teach English in one of China's main cities. You may be considered for ESL teaching positions in China if you are a competent non-native English speaker; nevertheless, you must be proficient in English and speak at a native level.

3. Requirements for a Degree

To teach English in China, you must have a bachelor's degree. It is not necessary for your bachelor's degree to be in education; it may be in any profession (i.e.: Marketing, Psychology, Arts, etc). This criterion may be met with any four-year diploma or bachelor's degree from an approved institution (or three years if you studied in the UK, Australia, or New Zealand).

Please keep in mind that it was possible to teach English in China without a bachelor's degree until 2018, when the Chinese government began clamping down on such instructors and the institutions that hired them. As a consequence, we highly advise against it and would be skeptical of any Chinese school that claims differently.

4. Documents Required & Visa

Z Visa for English Teaching in China

The Z visa is the most frequent form of visa obtained by English instructors. This visa enables English instructors to operate lawfully in China. The institution that employs you should assist you in obtaining this visa; you cannot acquire a Z visa until you have a work offer. If your school requires you to acquire a different form of visa, be sure you understand why and what type of visa you will be receiving. Sometimes schools require a teacher to start working right away and don't have time to wait for the instructor to receive a Z visa. If this occurs, the instructor would usually go to China on a L visa (tourist visa) and then get a work visa while there.

Documents necessary for the processing of your Z visa to teach English in China

TEFL instructors seeking for teaching positions in China should be prepared to provide the following papers in order for their work visa to be processed.

Before accepting a job offer, you should start gathering the following information:

Valid passport; passport-sized pictures; university diploma and transcripts; local police background check/FBI background check (see below for further information);

Obtain an apostille for your diploma and conduct a background check.


TEFL Certificate - As part of the visa application procedure, your Chinese Consulate may need your TEFL certificate to be verified. For additional information on this procedure, see the recommendations provided by your consulate.

When you get a job offer, you must provide all of your paperwork to your school/employer. Send them by private carrier so that they can be traced. The list of necessary papers varies each school, but here's what's usually required:

Notarized FBI/local police criminal background check and necessary verification; original degree copy with Apostille; two sets of sealed university transcripts;

Resume copy

a copy of your signed employment contract;

Two passport-size photographs

After submitting all of your paperwork to your Chinese school, you will wait for the following documents to be returned to you:

Visa Notice, Visa Notification Letter, or Invitation Letter; Alien Employment License or Foreign Expert Work Permit;

You may submit your application to the Chinese consulate after you have received your Visa Invitation Letter. Most cities provide walk-in hours, so you won't need to schedule an appointment. The following papers are necessary to apply for your Z visa at the Chinese consulate:

Original signed passport, as well as a copy of the passport's data page and, if applicable, the picture page;

One filled-out Visa Application Form with a current color passport picture;

Visa Notice and Visa Notification Letter or Invitation Letter; Visa Fee; Alien Employment License or Foreign Expert Work Permit

Let the right job find you!

Job search function
Recruitment function
Employment Solutions
Free legal advice
Get professional foreign-related legal advice

Worldwide Talent Acquisition

GEOR provides a global human resource labor management platform tailored to your requirements. We will connect you with top-notch international talent while ensuring your hiring processes align with local labor regulations. Access Talent Globally through our International Recruitment Solutions.

Explore Chinese Job Vacancies

As a top-tier provider of recruitment outsourcing services, we offer expat job opportunities in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou, whether you're in Asia Pacific, Europe, or the Americas. For additional career opportunities and job listings in China, please log in or register to access more detailed information.
GEOR Global Recruitment is an industry-leading recruitment outsourcing service provider, we are committed to achieving compliant and efficient global recruitment for all kinds of companies around the world. We provide one-stop human resource solutions for digital global employee recruitment and management for Chinese overseas enterprises with our technology platform and professional services, and aspire to become a global human resource labor management platform, which mainly provides foreigner recruitment, foreign talent recruitment, overseas talent recruitment, foreigner job search, foreign talent network, foreigner recruitment network in China, foreign talent recruitment platform, foreign talent job search platform, foreigner talent Recruitment in China, Overseas Foreign Talent Recruitment, Foreign Talent Job Hunting in China, Foreign Talent Headhunting Service, Overseas Foreign Talent Job Hunting, Foreign Talent Intermediary Service, Foreign Talent Recruitment Platform, Foreign Talent Job Hunting Platform and so on. The company has branches in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chongqing, Suzhou, Chengdu, Wuhan, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Tianjin, Ningbo, Qingdao and Changsha. Our global market experts provide a range of customized recruitment solutions based on your needs. Whether in Asia Pacific, Europe or the Americas, we will match you with the best international talent and ensure that your recruitment practices comply with local labor laws. Our experts have a unique insight into all aspects and every step of the overseas recruitment process. We offer our experience and expertise in everything from inquiring about interviews and developing offer letters to onboarding employees. By leaving the complex hassles of overseas recruiting in our hands, you can save more time and focus on your company goals of global expansion success.

Overseas Employment Agencies and International Recruitment

Whether you're looking for job opportunities abroad or planning to hire foreign talent, our guide has all the information you need. Explore the latest job openings, receive expert agency recommendations, and learn how to secure employment overseas. Don't miss out on global career opportunities; discover trustworthy international employment services right here.