Pre-Departure Procedures

A. Visa Processing

  1. The school will assist you in obtaining your visa to enter the country. You will enter China on a Single Entry Z Visa. Upon your arrival, the school will assist you in upgrading this visa to a multiple entry Resident Permit. Please send to us the following:

    Send these materials via air mail, or if time is limited, via courier service, such as DHL, UPS, and FED EX) to:


  1. For teachers who will work in Shanghai

    Miss Tina Kasono Business Relation & Human Resources Manager
    Shanghai Community International school
    1161 Hongqiao Road
    Shanghai, China 200051
    Phone: 86-21-6261-4338


    For teachers who will work in Hangzhou

    Miss Peggy Pan, Principal's Secretary
    Hangzhou International School
    No. 78 Dongxin Street
    BinJiang District, Hangzhou 310053
    Phone: 86-571-8669-0045  

    • Signed copy of contract
    • Copy of current resume (denoting month and year of work and educational background)
    • Copies of passport (pages with your picture and issuance and expiration dates on it). You must include the cover, page on which photograph appears, page where personal details are recorded, and page showing expiration date. Also include passport copies of any dependents that are accompanying you. Passports must be valid for at least one year from the time of application at the Chinese Consulate or Embassy with several blank pages. Please fax a copy in advance to the school fax number: 86-21-6261-4639, or as an alternative, you can send a scanned copy by e-mail at
    • Copy of birth certificates of any dependents
    • Copy of marriage certificate (if applicable—more important if last names differ)
    • If accompanied by dependents, Identification of Marriage Certificate and Identification of Birth Certificate done at the PRC Embassy of Consulate where you will be applying for your visa.
    • Medical Health Check Report
    • Copies of degree(s)/diploma(s)
    • Copy of teaching credential
    • University transcripts listing course work
    • Copy of non-criminal record
    • Copies of placement file or letters of reference from former employers (not needed if you are employed through a job fair)
    • For each teacher and accompanying family member 12 passport-size color photographs with white background (3.5 cm x 4.5 cm). Both ears must be clearly shown. Must be posted to Tina Kasono, 1161 Hongqiao Road, Shanghai, 200051)
    • Address of Chinese Embassy or Consulate where you will be processing your visa.
    • Full mailing address during May, June and July.
  2. We cannot overemphasize the need for you to complete the process of document collection as soon as possible. The period from signing the contract to departure may be several months, but you will realize how short it is when you try to get all the official documents together. To delay this process may result in not getting your visa approved before your scheduled departure for China.
  3. Once we have all of these documents, we will apply for your visa. It will take approximately one month from receipt of your documents to obtain visa approval from the Chinese authorities here.
  4. Contact your designated Consulate as soon as possible to find out what exactly is needed for processing your visa, whom you should see, and how long it will take to process your visa. If you are planning to visit the Consulate, find out when their holidays are to ensure that your trip is not wasted. The Chinese holidays change every year. It is important to contact the Consulate ahead of time before you receive a copy of your visa documents from SCIS-HIS, as sometimes the Consulate offices are difficult to contact and it is hard to get through. Additional phone calls may save you a great deal of frustration. You may find that Chinese Consulates and Embassy’s will no longer issue visas through the mail, and may require applicants to appear in person. If this is difficult, you may have to complete the visa processing through one of several travel agents that have been approved by the Chinese government, to complete the process on your behalf.
  5. Chinese Consulates or Embassies require that you fill out a Visa Application form, which will accompany the documents that we send to you for visa processing. This application requires a passport size photo.
  6. After you have received a copy of the visa documents, you then report by mail or in person to the designated Consulate. For families, only the head of household needs to go to the Consulate. Some faculty found that it is more effective to visit the Consulate or Embassy in person but, with plenty of time, the mail-in application process can be just as effective.
  7. You must send your passport and the required information to the Consulate or Embassy to receive your Single Entry Visa. If you go in person, you may be asked to return the next day, or within several working days, for your completed documents. However, rather than return the next day, you can have the Consulate return the completed documents, passport, and visa by registered mail. There is a small charge for this.
  8. In either case, after you have received your documents from SCIS-HIS, you must submit in person or by mail the following:
    • Your original passport (with several blank pages and valid for at least one year from the time the visa application is submitted to the Consulate or Embassy).
    • Visa Application Form of the People's Republic of China (obtainable in the Embassy or Consulate of your country)
    • The visa documents that you receive from SCIS-HIS
    • Invitation Letter
    • Visa application form


B. Ticketing and Arrival

  1. Tickets

    For overseas hired staff for whom the school provides a travel supplement, the school prefers that you pay for your ticket at the time of booking, and then receive reimbursement upon arrival in August. In those cases, where this is not possible, contact the school, and request payment in advance. Staff are informed that for tax purposes, the school will collect your boarding pass and the revenue portion of your air ticket. Please save these documents when you’re finished traveling.

  2. Arrival

    You must arrive in Shanghai or Hangzhou in time to participate in orientation for new teachers. You will be notified by the school as to the exact dates for this orientation, but generally this takes place one week before employment begins.

    Notify Tina Kasono ( of your flight number, departure date, arrival date and time. With this information, a representative of the school will meet you at the airport, immediately after you have cleared customs and exited the airport. The person meeting you will take you to your apartment if you are an overseas hired employee, which will be ready for your arrival. Please note that there are two international airports in Shanghai. Pudong International Airport (PVG) and Hongqiao International Airport (SHA).  Which airport you arrive at, is dependant on which airlines you fly, and your point of origin. For those staff who will fly directly to Hangzhou, there is only one international airport located in the southern part of the city, about 20 minutes from the school campus.

    If you arrive in Shanghai or Hangzhou unannounced or you are not met, call the school from the airport. If you are unsuccessful reaching someone at the school by phone, go to the information desk, and they can assist you in getting to a hotel.


C. Arranging Your Travel

Flight reservations must be made as far in advance as possible. Do not wait until you have received your travel allowance to book your flight(s). Reservations should be made at the time the contract is signed, or soon after. August is a month of peak demand for travel to East Asia. Remember, in most places you do not have to pay for your ticket when making reservations.

Your trip may include scheduled stopovers for personal or timetable reasons. SCIS-HIS does not cover the cost of personal stopovers, and you may be charged for excess luggage at each stopover. Check with your airline for baggage restrictions if you are breaking your travel for a stopover. You may find that, while you may check in two suitcases at your city of departure, if you stop over and check in again, your baggage allowance may be only 20 kg. per person and you may be required to pay excess baggage charges. Check this with your airlines.


D. Arriving Prior to the August Reporting Date

SCIS-HIS strongly discourages new staff from arriving in Shanghai, Hangzhou or elsewhere in China prior to one week before the reported starting date. If you arrive early, the school cannot assist you in any way, and it may put you in violation of the immigration laws because of our processing limitations. (Sometimes, however, arrival a few days early is necessitated by flight bookings, and the school would rather have a teacher a few days early than a few days late.)

If a teacher enters China before the school has issued the necessary authorization, the teacher will have to leave the country later and re-enter after visiting a Chinese Embassy or Consulate outside of China (normally the Chinese Consulate in Hong Kong). Expenses for this trip will not be reimbursed, as the trip would not have been necessary had the teacher not entered China prior to the issuance of authorization.

If a teacher would like to travel in China before August and if the school is able to provide the visa in time, then that is fine, as long as the teacher understands that she or he will be entirely on her or his own upon arrival. SCIS will be unable to arrange airport pick-up or other assistance. The important thing to remember is that if a teacher makes travel plans prior to August, the teacher will be liable for the Hong Kong trip expenses if her or his visa is not ready, and there is a good probability that the visa will not be ready—this is something that is simply beyond the school’s control.