Living in China

On this page

SafeTravel registration(external link) is recommended if you are staying in China or Mongolia for several months or more.

Your details will remain confidential, but the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade will be able to contact you in case of emergency.

Visas for visitors to China

New Zealanders are advised to apply for their visa to China in the country they are ordinarily resident. If you live in New Zealand, you should obtain your visa before you leave.

Business visitors (F-visa) should note that, in addition to providing passport, passport photos and completed application forms, they will need to provide 3 documents:

  • a visa notification form issued by the relevant Chinese government department or a government-authorised company
  • a copy of their Chinese hotel booking
  • a copy of their return flight ticket booking

To obtain a visa notification form, we recommend that you liaise with your colleagues in mainland China. They will need to obtain the form on your behalf from the relevant Chinese government department. You cannot obtain the required form outside mainland China.

Embassy of the People's Republic of China to New Zealand(external link) for further information about visas for travel to China

Hong Kong

Visit Visa / Entry Permit Requirements for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region | Immigration Department ( link) for further information about visas for travel to the Hong Kong SAR.

Clubs and societies for New Zealanders

Kea New Zealand

Whether you're a Kiwi or friend of New Zealand, join Kea today to stay connected to New Zealand and grow your network.

Kea was founded in 2001 to connect and engage our global people, for the benefit of Aotearoa New Zealand. Two decades on, Kea nurtures a vibrant and diverse community of people who share a passion for New Zealand, and for the success of its people and businesses.

Becoming a member gives you full access to Kea tools and services, including the Kea Connect service, job portal, and event portal.

Kea New Zealand(external link) to find out more and register as a member for free, or email Kea

Kea organises regular business and social events across China, offering members and friends opportunities to meet and network.


KiwiConnect organises monthly KiwiDrinks meetings in Hangzhou and  Guangzhou.


The New Zealand Embassy in Beijing hosts a biannual Kiwi Community BBQ. If you would like to be added to the invite list for this event, please contact the Embassy.

New Zealanders in Beijing may also be interested in joining the ‘Kiwis in Beijing’ WeChat group, or attending the abovementioned events run by Kea New Zealand (the Kiwi Expat Association).


Kiwi Drinks are managed by Kiwi Expats Association (KEA) and New Zealand Business Roundtable in China (NZBRiC). Please follow the account "Kea NZ" on WeChat app.

Hong Kong

There are close to 3,000 New Zealanders resident in Hong Kong SAR, and considerably more when including dual nationals on the New Zealand passports.

New Zealanders are widely represented in business and various professions in Hong Kong. Several New Zealanders hold prominent positions in various fields, including the legal profession (with several New Zealanders serving as judges and magistrates), finance, media, energy, engineering, construction, transport, medicine, teaching and accountancy. On the sporting front, New Zealanders have been active in the promotion of rugby, netball, sailing and tennis in Hong Kong. New Zealand has had a major presence at the annual Hong Kong Rugby Sevens competition since its inception over 40 years ago.

The New Zealand community in Hong Kong supports several active institutions.

New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong(external link) was founded in 1992 and has approximately 100 corporate and individual members. The chamber aims to promote New Zealand’s economic presence in Hong Kong.

New Zealand Society of Hong Kong(external link) was established in 1957 as a social and cultural organisation for New Zealanders.

New Zealanders in Hong Kong come together in a range of other ways.

These universities have alumni association links with Hong Kong.

In recent years, the community has worked together to host an annual KiwiBall which is held around mid-year, attracting over 400 participants.

Getting married in China

New Zealand citizens considering marriage in China, either to a Chinese citizen or to another foreigner, should review the following information on Chinese government procedures.

New Zealand diplomatic and consular officers do not have the authority to perform marriages.

There is no legal obligation to register your overseas marriage in New Zealand. However, you may do this if your marriage ceremony is witnessed by an authorised official from a New Zealand post.

The only advantage of registering your marriage in New Zealand is that a marriage certificate can be issued to you from New Zealand. This certificate does not replace the marriage certificate supplied in China.

If you wish to have a New Zealand consular witness at a wedding, you will liable for costs incurred, such as airfares, accommodation, and per diems, as well an hourly charge-out rate for a consular officer. Non-attendance by a consular officer does not affect the legality of the marriage.

For further information, contact the embassy or consulate-general.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong SAR Immigration Department > Marriage registration(external link) for New Zealand citizens wishing to get married in Hong Kong

Registering your marriage

Marriages in China are conducted according to the laws of China, regardless of the nationality of those being married.

The current law relating to marriage in China is the Marriage Law of the People’s Republic of China 1980, as amended in April 2001. Under this law, marriage registration procedures are administered by the local civil affairs office, minzhengju, in each jurisdiction.

Persons planning to marry should visit one of these offices for specific information. There will be a fee for this visit.

It is recommended that the couple dress up (coat and tie for the male). This will generally facilitate the process.

If one of the partners is a Chinese citizen, the appropriate civil affairs office will be the one in the jurisdiction in which the Chinese citizen is registered (the location of the hukou).

Certain categories of Chinese citizen, such as diplomats, security officials, and others whose work is considered to be crucial to the state, are not legally free to marry foreigners.

Chinese students generally are permitted to marry if all the requirements are met, but they can expect to be expelled from school as soon as they do. New Zealand citizens wishing to marry Chinese students should bear this in mind. It also should be noted that at least one school in Beijing has required Chinese students to reimburse the school for hitherto uncharged tuition and other expenses upon withdrawal from school to marry foreigners.

If both parties to the marriage are foreigners, the civil affairs office in the city in which they live will have jurisdiction. Generally, at least one of the partners must reside in China. Two foreigners visiting China temporarily on tourist visas are unlikely to be able to register a marriage in China.

Upon receipt of an application to register a marriage, the civil affairs office will ascertain that both parties are of minimum marriageability age (generally 22 for men and 20 for women, although a higher minimum may be established by the local civil affairs office) and that both parties are single and otherwise free to marry. Persons who have been married previously will be asked to submit original or certified copies of final divorce or annulment decrees, or of death certificates if widowed.

The New Zealand partner to a marriage in China will generally be asked to submit:

  • current passport
  • valid Chinese visa
  • certificate of no impediment to marriage
  • three photos of the marrying couple, taken together
  • registration fee

New Zealand Births, Deaths and Marriages > Certificate of no impediment(external link) must be verified by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the New Zealand embassy in Beijing or consulate-general in Shanghai, and, if one of the parties to the marriage is a Chinese citizen, by the Chinese embassy in Wellington or consulate-general in Auckland.

The Chinese partner to the marriage will be asked to submit:

  • certificate of marriageability
  • certificate of birth
  • household registration book
  • health certificate
  • letter from his or her parents giving permission for their child to marry a foreigner.

The certificate of marriageability is obtainable from the office that has physical control of the Chinese partner's file.

The health certificate is obtainable from a regional level local hospital.

The letter from the parents of the local partner should include the index fingerprints of both parents below their signatures and the date.

The marriage registration process may take from several days to several months to complete, depending upon how quickly the required documents are obtained. For example, some Chinese citizens have difficulty getting a release from their danwei to obtain the certificate of birth or the certificate of marriageability.


Marriage Registration Office
Beijing Civil Affairs Bureau
Ground floor, Main Building
20 Gongren Tiyuchang Donglu, Chaoyang District
Tel +86 10 6586 6660, +86 10 6539 5015, +86 10 6539 5016
Open Monday to Friday, 9 to 11.30am and 1.30 to 5pm


Marriage Registration Center
Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau
3rd Floor, Wing D, Everbright Exhibition Center
80 Caobao Road
Tel +86 21 6432 5087, +86 21 6432 5089, press 2 for English
Open Monday to Saturday, 9am to 11.30am, 13.30 to 16.00pm.

Translation of documents

All English-language documents must be translated into Chinese.

Translations should be obtained from and certified by one of the municipal public notary offices.

Translation of documents usually takes about a month, but can be completed within 10 days at twice the standard cost.


China Translation and Publication Corp
No 4, Tai Ping Qiao Da Jie (South of Bai Ta Si)
West District
Tel +86 10 6616 8353

Applying for a visa for your spouse to visit New Zealand

Immigration New Zealand(external link) for all enquiries regarding New Zealand visitor visas and applications for permanent residency


Immigration New Zealand
Ta Yuan Diplomatic Office Building 2-5-1
14 Liangmahe Nanlu
Beijing 100600
Tel +86 10 6532 6688
Fax +86 10 6532 5681

This office is responsible for all applications for applicants residing outside Guangdong, Hainan Island, Shanghai, Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Anhui provinces.

Working in China

This guide has been prepared to give New Zealanders basic information on the business of working in China so they can be better informed before committing themselves to a particular job. The detail relates specifically to teaching English, but the general principles will apply to anyone considering working in China.

The Chinese economy is booming, but doing business is as competitive as ever. And China is no longer a cheap place in which to live and travel. To land a good job in China, it is no longer enough to simply be a foreigner or to be able to speak 'a bit of Chinese'. Gone are the days when a new arrival could wing it on nothing more than good luck and the ability to speak English.

Most New Zealanders do enjoy their experience in China. But unfortunately some have arrived under contract with promises of generous salaries, bonuses and other amenities, only to find themselves in tenuous situations.

Now the official warning. The advice contained here is simply that. We do our best to ensure that the information is accurate, but we cannot vouch for, guarantee, or take responsibility for any events arising from following this advice. It is the responsibility of each individual to decide what pertains to their own situation and to familiarise themselves with their legal obligations while in China. This responsibility applies equally when travelling in any country.

We cannot be liable for any errors made by New Zealanders who may interpret this advice, which may be different or perhaps even changed by the Chinese authorities at any time.

The embassy is not permitted to become involved in individual cases, conduct an investigation, or act as a lawyer in legal or contractual mishaps experienced by New Zealand citizens.

We do not maintain a list of employers or teaching institutions, and can neither investigate nor certify employers or schools. It is up to each individual to evaluate potential employers before signing contracts.

Prospective teachers are urged to deal directly with the school and current or former teachers from the institution.

If you do experience other problems, the consular officers at the New Zealand embassy in Beijing or consulate-general in Shanghai may be able to provide guidance.

SafeTravel(external link) for travel advice for New Zealanders

We suggest that before departing New Zealand you prepare yourself mentally, physically, and financially. Much of this preparation is common sense and good tips can be found in the many guidebooks available.

Cash and credit cards

The currency of China is Renminbi (RMB) and the country is still very much a cash society. The banking system is not as advanced as in New Zealand and even the most straightforward transaction can be time-consuming and expensive. Ensure you arrive with sufficient cash and have access to funds - US$ is the most useful. New Zealand currency is unlikely to be readily converted.

Credit cards and ATMs are not widely accepted in China. Usually only major shops, hotels, and friendship stores are able to offer credit card services.

Medical insurance

Medical care in much of China is basic, especially outside major cities. While routine health services may not be as expensive as in New Zealand, emergencies can be costly, especially if service is sought from a foreign or private clinic, or a medical evacuation is necessary. Many hospitals may not accept overseas health insurance and demand payment before treatment.

It is important for individuals to make sure that they have arranged their own medical insurance or have sufficient funds available in case medical care is needed. We strongly recommend that all travellers to China have some form of internationally recognised medical insurance.

Foreigners may be entitled to a form of medical cover through their employer. This should be clarified at the time of acceptance of employment. It is important that you understand the nature and scope of any coverage, as the quality and extent varies considerably.

Working in Hong Kong

The consulate-general in Hong Kong SAR cannot investigate, certify, or vouch for employers. It is up to each individual to evaluate any potential employer before signing a contract. Prospective teachers are urged to deal directly with the schools or institutes.

Looking for general employment

The Government of Hong Kong SAR Labour Department provides:

Job vacancies are also published in local daily newspapers.

Looking for teaching jobs

Hong Kong SAR Education Bureau > Education system and policy(external link) to download a complete list of secondary schools and other education institutes in Hong Kong, and their contact details

Alternatively, contact the Native-speaking English Teacher Section of the Education Department for vacancies in the Native-speaking English Teacher (NET) Scheme operated by the Education Bureau.

Native-speaking English Teacher Section
Room 1120, 11/F, Tsuen Wan Multi-storey Carpark Building
174-208 Castle Peak Road
Tsuen Wan, New Territories
Hong Kong
Tel +85 2 3549 8300
Fax +85 2 2334 8707

Hong Kong SAR Education Bureau > Native-speaking English Teacher (NET) Scheme(external link)

Some expatriate teachers who are currently teaching at local government schools (mainly secondary teachers) in Hong Kong on the NET scheme have set up the Native English Speaking Teachers’ Association (NESTA).

NESTA Hong Kong NET Scheme Native English Teachers’ Association(external link)

Primary NET teachers, including some New Zealanders, share information and access resources on HKPNET, the Hong Kong Primary Native English Teacher website. Its guest section allows anyone to post information and ask for assistance.

HKPNET Hong Kong Primary Native English Teachers(external link)

British Council in Hong Kong > English language centres(external link) recruit English teachers with specific teaching qualifications and experience for the council's English language courses.

NET Teacher Survival Guide(external link) is a wikibook with practical information for people planning to teach English in Hong Kong.(external link)

Working holiday scheme

New Zealanders aged between 18 and 30 can apply for a 12-month working holiday visa for Hong Kong.

Post your application form to the Government of Hong Kong SAR Immigration Department. You can also apply by post to the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in Wellington.

Hong Kong SAR Immigration Department > Working holiday scheme(external link)

Living in Hong Kong

The consulate-general in Hong Kong SAR can assist New Zealand citizens in a variety of ways. We provide notarial and passport services, and consular services for New Zealanders in distress. We can refer you to Hong Kong SAR government agencies and attempt to answer questions.

The consulate-general, by regulation, cannot enter any case, conduct any investigation, act as mediators, or recommend lawyers in any personal or professional conflict experienced by a New Zealand citizen.

GovHK(external link) is an official source of information, including:

Hong Kong SAR Home Affairs Department Race Relations Unit > Information centre(external link) has publications to download, including Your Guide to Services in Hong Kong.

Invest Hong Kong(external link) has information for working and investing in Hong Kong.

Travelling out of Hong Kong with your New Zealand passport

Ensure you have:

  • a valid passport
  • current visas for your destinations
  • sufficient visa pages in your passport - some countries’ visas take up a whole page
  • your travel documents kept in a safe place
  • travel insurance

Most countries require that your passport has at least 6 months’ validity upon entry. Airlines and carrier agencies may not allow you to board if your passport does not have 6 months’ validity.

Contact the local consulates of the countries of destination to determine whether or not visas are required. You will not be able to board the plane without a visa.

If you intend to travel to the United States under the visa waiver programme, ensure that your passport is machine-readable to satisfy the visa waiver requirements. If your passport is non-machine readable, you will need to apply for an entry visa before entering the United States.

Ensure your destinations are safe for travel:

Living in Shanghai

Visas and travel

For all Chinese visa enquiries:

Bureau of Entry and Exit Administration
Shanghai Municipal Public Security Bureau 上海市公安局出入境管理局
3F, 1500 Min Sheng Road (near Ying Chun Road)
Shanghai 200135 上海浦东民生路1500号3楼 (近迎春路)
Tel +86 21 12367
Tel +86 21 6854 7110 24-hour emergency line
Open Monday to Saturday, 9am to 5pm

Bureau of Entry-Exit Administration of Shanghai Public Security Bureau(external link)

Emergency contact numbers

Fire 119

Ambulance and rescue 120

Police 110

Bureau of Entry and Exit Administration 24-hour hotline +86 21 12367

Where to buy New Zealand goods

New Zealand food and beverages are available at imported food supermarkets in Shanghai and online:

  • City Super, located in Shanghai IFC Mall, Shanghai Xingye Taikoo Hui, and Shanghai IAPM Shopping Mall
  • ALDI Supermarket, located all over Shanghai
  • Epermarket(external link), quality online supermarket offering imported groceries
  • Ole Supermarket, located in Shanghai, Jing'an Kerry Centre, Shanghai New World Mall, Shangahi Lujiazui Centre
  • Tmall(external link)

Getting a driving licence

If you have a valid foreign driving licence and wish to apply for a Chinese licence so you can drive in China, your visa must be valid for at least 90 days.

Shanghai Vehicle Administration Office 上海车辆管理所
2999 Hua Xi West Road, Shanghai上海市华夏西路2999号
Tel +86 21 2895 8491 / 2895 8572
Open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm

Documents and procedures:

  • valid foreign driving licence
  • translation of foreign driving licence
  • New Zealand passport and valid Chinese visa (original and copy)
  • registration form of temporary residence
  • take photograph on site
  • medical report from physical exam
  • make an appointment for the theory exam
  • prepare for and attend the theory exam
  • collect the license after one week



The New Zealand consulate-general in Shanghai provides this non-exhaustive list of healthcare providers from information that is publicly available.

By providing this information, the consulate is not endorsing any provider on the list.

The New Zealand consulate-general in Shanghai does not accept any responsibility for the quality of work performed by any local hospitals on this list, or for the consequences of any advice or services provided.


We use cookies and other tracking technologies to improve your browsing experience on our website, to analyze our website traffic, and to understand where our visitors are coming from. You can find out more information on our Privacy Page.