I'm a citizen of the United States but I'm currently living in Moscow and legally working as an English teacher. I recently received an offer to work in China when my contract in Russia ends. They've informed me that I would need to apply for a Z-type work visa.

There is a Chinese embassy here in Moscow. Assuming that the Chinese company sent me a letter of invitation, sponsorship, etc. is it possible for me to apply for a Z-Visa without having to first return to the U.S. which would be quite costly?

  • You may want to talk to your employer and their legal team. You have a much higher chance of winning a visa if a company and lawyers are backing you. Aug 11, 2014 at 0:33

2 Answers 2


The official letter of invitation from the Foreign Experts Bureau or similar body will state on it the location where you can apply for the Z-visa. If this letter says Moscow or Russia then you can apply there. If the letter says the USA then you have to go back to the USA to apply. As far as I know, Americans always have to go to the USA and apply from there. British citizens, and a few other nations, can apply form Hong Kong so long as their invitation letter says that location. In short, you need to have the correct endorsement on the invitation letter and it is up to the Bureau in China issuing that letter to decide if Moscow is OK or not.


I was a recruiter and HR professional in China for several years. Normally, for a Z-Visa, you must first apply for your working permit, obtain the visa and do most of the steps BEFORE moving to China.

However, if you move to China first, you can sometimes get lucky and find an agent to transfer your visa status, or fly to Hong Kong for a "Visa" run.

It depends on your employer, but some of them will even foot the bill for you.

Worst case scenario, you might have to fly back the the States, but negotiate with your employer/future employer and try to at least get some compensation. Some employers will give you money for a plane ticket at the end of 12 months.

  • 1
    You aren't answering the question here. This isn't about whether the Z-Visa can be obtained from inside China, but whether it can be obtained while resident in a country where the applicant is not a national. Jul 28, 2014 at 11:31

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.