Since February 2017 the Chinese government regulations for obtaining a Z visa require applicants to get their legal documents notarised by a notary public prior to having their documents inspected and authenticated by their own officials at the Chinese consulate. So what does this actually mean? Basically, it means that before the Chinese body inspects your documents they need a trusted authority approved by the British government to verify that the documents being submitted to them are genuine ones and that the parties that awarded them are legitimate. In other words it is a measure to prevent forgeries and false documents, thus improving the quality control of the whole visa application process. The only downside to applicants is that it takes extra time and money. It is now estimated that the visa process with these new measures takes at least 2 months and can cost an additional £300. This article is written with the aim of saving you as much of these two resources as possible.
What documents need to be notarised?
Standard procedure requires three documents to be notorised prior to sending to the Chinese consulate. These are:
- DBS (previously termed CRB, or criminal record) background check
- University Bachelor degree
- TEFL/CELTA/DELTA English Language teaching certificate of 120 hours or more
How do I get them notarised?
To get your documents notarised, you need to submit your documents to an approved notary public. In the UK there are over 900 solicitor branches approved as members of the notary public that can provide this service. Different solicitors have differing fees and so it is essential to haggle with them and shop around to get the best price. As with all things involving Solicitor involvement, the potential for escalating costs are high thus we highly recommend to bargain hard and agree a fixed price prior to commissioning your chosen notary public to notarise your documents.
Whats the best deal?
In addition to going through a solicitor, you can also notarise your documents directly through the UK Government’s main website at https://www.gov.uk/get-document-legalised . The price here is also reasonable and as of the time of writing was the most cost effective solution at £30 per document plus the price of a self addressed return A4 envelope.
Please note that for applicants in the U.S the price has been reported to be considerably cheaper by notarising your documents through a notary counter clerk.
After successfully notarising your documents you are then required to send them to your Chinese embassy/Consulate for them to be verified by representatives of the Chinese Government. Once they have been approved and accepted, you have successfully completed the authentication process and can post these required documents to your employer in China. They then use these documents to officially process your invitation letter. Once they post you this, you can begin filling out the form and applying for your Chinese Z visa.