getting documents together for my Z-visa to work in China

In order to get my Z-visa to work in China I had to get a few documents together. It was not easy. If you're going to go through this, prepare yourself for hours of work and many repeated exercises, and maybe you'll get lucky and come away surprised at how easy it was.
The two most difficult documents I had to get were:
1. Physical Examination Form
2. Kinship Certificate

I'm by no means an expert on this process, but let me share with you what I learned from my own experience and also from the advice of others (thanks Mike, Yasmin and Debbie!)
1. Physical Examination Form

You can download this form here:

Here are some things to watch out for.
a. Photo: The form has a place for your passport-type photo. Ask the examining physician to sign the picture with some color of ink other than black. You want the signature to span your picture and the form in the background but it should not obscure your face.

b. Height/weight: The form asks for your weight and height. All the measurements should be in metrics. c. Chest X-ray: You'll have to produce an original film from your chest X-ray. The doctors' office that I visited has to keep the original on file, so in the end they took two X-rays and kept one original and gave the other to me. God knows howmanyfold I've increased by chances of getting cancer with this maneuver but anyway, I got the original films.

d. ECG: Similarly, you'll have to produce an original tape from your ECG. In my case this meant the doctors' office had to run two tests on me. They kept one original and I got the other.

e. Laboratory exam: The doctor has to run a blood test for HIV and syphilis serodiagnosis. There are different types of tests he or she can order. RPR is the one the Chinese government seems to want. As for the results of the test, you guessed it, they want the originals.

2. Kinship Certificate

My husband is a citizen of the PRC so I didn't need to prove my relationship to him. However my kids are US citizens and their visas will be dependant on mine. That's why I needed to provide a so-called kinship certificate, to prove that my kids are really mine. If you find you have to provide one of these, start off by reading the official, somewhat mind-boggling process here:
Here's how that played out for me though.

a. I got a copy of my kids' birth certificates from the county records office in the county where they were born. It had an embossed seal on it and looked really official so I took the birth certificates, a copy of my passport and copies of the kids' passport to the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco, along with this "Notarization/Authorization" form that I had filled out:

b. A very polite woman who worked at the Consulate told me that the birth certificate wasn't official enough, it needed to be notarized. That seemed like a crazy notion to me because you can't sign a birth certificate, so how would you notarize it?! Well, here's how.

c. I took the birth certificates to The Deputy for the Secretary of State of California at 455 Golden Gate Ave., Suite 14500, San Francisco, CA, 94104. The phone number is 415.557.8000. This office looked up the records and confirmed that the birth certificates were in fact authentic. They wrote a letter confirming this and then stapled it over the birth certificates. Apparently those staples are really important. You don't want them to get loose or God forbid remove them, in that case you have to start the whole process over again.

d. I photocopied both the birth certificate and also the letter of authentication from the Sec. of State. I have never in my life been so nervous about copying something - I did not want to mess up the staples. It turned out OK.

e. I took the authenticated birth certificates, the photocopies of the certificates, a copy of our passports and also my own original passport to the Chinese Consulate, where they told me I had all the documentation in order and I could come pick up my kinship certificates the following day. They might as well have told me I had won the lottery, I was so excited.

f. I returned the next day and, as promised, the kinship certificates were ready to pick up.

Very nice summary of the z-visa process. Thank you. I thought of blogging my experience too. It was much harder and less fun.

Posted by Sin-Yaw Wang on September 30, 2005 at 03:20 PM CST #

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