Can I teach in China without a TEFL?

The requirements for teaching English in China have changed frequently in recent years. They are also frequently misunderstood and the situation has become even more complicated due to COVID-19. So let's dive into it.

What kind of visa do I need to teach English in China?

The main requirement for teaching in China is a valid Z-Visa in your passport. This is the only type of visa that allows you to work in the country legally. This means that those who want to teach English in China must meet the Z visa requirements.

What are the requirements to obtain a Z visa in China?

To obtain a Z visa you must meet certain requirements, which range from nationality and age to qualifications and a few other crucial details. It is critical to understand that many of the rules outlined below have exceptions.

The following are the primary Z Visa requirements:

1. Your nationality.

You must be a citizen of one of the seven approved countries: the United Kingdom, Ireland, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or South Africa.

China has decided that only citizens from these seven countries can teach English to their students. Yes, we know that it doesn't always work that way, but we cannot change this regulation.

2. You must be fluent in English.

This one is closely related to the first rule and it makes more sense. If you want to teach English to Chinese students you should be fluent in the language.

3. A Bachelor's Degree is required.

China has also decided that it only wants foreign teachers with a Bachelor's Degree to work there. The important news is that the degree can be in any subject. It does not have to be related to teaching or English in any way.

4. You must have a recognized and accredited TEFL certification.

One of the fundamental requirements for teaching English in China is a TEFL certificate. A TEFL certification is the best first step into a rewarding teaching career anywhere in the world. Furthermore, you must have a TEFL certificate of at least 120 hours in order to qualify for a teaching visa in China.

5. A CLEAR criminal background check from your home country is required.

To apply for a Z visa you must provide a criminal record check (also known as a police check) demonstrating that you have no convictions. Don't be concerned about minor infractions; they are only looking for a genuine criminal record.

6. You must be between the ages of 18 and 60 (men) and 55 (women).

Because this is the working-age range for Chinese teachers, foreign teachers working in the country must follow it as well.

7. You must pass two medical examinations.

China wants to make sure you are physically and mentally fit to teach in the country. Primarily, the country wishes to ensure that applicants do not unintentionally bring diseases into the country.

The medical examination will screen not only for general health but also for HIV, hepatitis, and tuberculosis.

The first medical examination is usually conducted when you apply for your Z visa, so you must go through a certified medical facility in your home country. The second medical examination will take place as soon as you arrive in China.