As many of you know, I’m heading off to China preeeeetty soon, to continue my teaching career!
Our flights are booked for January 29th, but I’m 99.9% certain that they will have to be pushed back by a week or two.
Let me tell you, this is no quick process. I could almost definitely jump on a plane tomorrow, land in Vietnam and find a job within a week.
China is totally not that simple.
The first step is to get documents notarized. What’s that?
Well, you have to find a notary public, which is an extra step up from being a lawyer (sort of), and they have to confirm you document is original and official, then they sign, stamp and attach a seal to your document.
In our case, our Bachelor degrees. This process took one week and £75 per document – that was cheap!
Secondly, we had to apply for a ‘criminal background check’ from Disclosure Scotland, which cost £25, took 2 weeks to arrive and then had to be sent, with our Bachelor degrees, to the FCO for legalization. The FCO attach their own seal of approval to each document, to say that the documents can be used for legal purposes outside of the UK. This took a week as well and cost about £65 per person
Thirdly, and finally for the documents, we had to send them to the Chinese Embassy to be authenticated, to make sure we could use them in China. This took just over a week and we used a fantastic company called i2Visa – owned by Joey Zhou, a truly genuine, helpful and knowledgeable man! We paid £108 for both documents, which we thought was reasonable!
However, this entire process in itself was an absolute nightmare. I spent hours and hours online, trying to find the best prices, the easiest, the quickest, the most reliable way to go through each process. It was countless trips to the shop to buy envelopes, to the post office, tracking numbers, receipts, worrying over whether our documents would come back to us in once piece.
All I can say is… I wish I’d done it all sooner!
Amidst all of this we managed to get our jabs done, for Hep A and Typhoid I believe, which cost us £80 each. My god, my arm hurt so badly for about 48 hours, but at least it was one less thing to worry about. It’s best to check with your GP or pop into your local pharmacy for advice on your local travel clinic, to find out which jabs you need, how much they will cost and when you need to get them done!
We put off the final process until mid December, which meant everything else was held back, such as knowing whether we could get jobs, booking our medical exams etc.
I feel like I wasted a lot of time.
The next stage was actually having the medical check. Now believe me, I spent hours, and hours, and hours on google, on the NHS websites, calling GPs, calling hospitals, calling clinics, trying to find out the cheapest, quickest and easiest way to get this ‘Visa Medical Form’ completed. Let me tell you, there is no easy way around this.
Your best option is just get on the train/coach to London and get it all done in one day, in one place. We used Doctorcall on Harley Street, just 10 minutes walk from the top of Oxford Street! I wish we had just done it months ago. The results can take up to 2 weeks to come back, and we are once again left waiting for these until we can apply for our residents permit. At this rate, we could still be 4 weeks away from getting on the plane.
Please take my advice, if you’re going to move to China, do not waste time on these processes. Just get it all done asap! That way, once you finally accept a job offer, you can expect to wait 4-6 weeks before you head out. I have been waiting roughly 2 months because my documents weren’t completed.
This pretty much sums up my China ‘prep’ so far… are you thinking of heading out to China? Where are you going? Share your experiences in the comments! I’d love to hear what your plans are.