Shanghai Z Work Visa Health Check Process

Shanghai Living

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Why do foreigners need to do a health check for a work visa in China?

Public Health Concerns: One primary reason is to ensure that individuals entering the country do not bring in communicable diseases, which might pose a risk to the local population. Diseases like tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and syphilis are of particular concern.

Workplace Safety: China seeks to ensure that foreign workers are fit for their intended employment. The health check helps identify if a potential employee has any medical conditions that might impede their ability to perform their job or potentially endanger others, especially in professions that require physical fitness or mental alertness.

Limiting Strain on Healthcare System: By identifying and potentially excluding individuals with severe medical conditions, the aim is also to prevent any unforeseen strain on China’s healthcare infrastructure and resources.

Health checks for migrants are not unique to China. Many countries around the world, especially in the early 20th century, implemented rigorous health checks at their borders. For instance, the U.S. had extensive medical inspections at places like Ellis Island for incoming immigrants.

With China’s rapid economic growth in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, there was a surge in the number of foreign professionals and workers coming into the country. This growth led to a more structured and stringent visa application process, including the health check, to manage the increased influx and ensure the well-being of both foreigners and locals.

Global health crises, such as the SARS epidemic in 2003 and other infectious disease outbreaks, have periodically underscored the importance of monitoring the health of individuals crossing borders. Such events have often led to countries, including China, revising or reinforcing their health check protocols.

As China has opened up to the world and encouraged foreign investment and expertise, it has also sought to strike a balance. While eager to welcome foreign talent, it remains cautious to ensure that such openness does not compromise public health or safety.

In essence, the health check for the Z work visa in China is a reflection of both historical practices and modern concerns. It’s an attempt to balance the country’s eagerness to integrate with the global economy with its responsibility to protect its citizens and maintain public health standards.

The process of getting the Z work visa health check in Shanghai.

Pre-Examination Preparations:

Appointments: It’s recommended to schedule an appointment in advance to avoid long waiting times. The main health check facility in Shanghai is the Shanghai International Travel Healthcare Center (SITHC). You can book an appointment through their official website or by calling them.

Required Documents: Ensure you have the following on the day of the test:

  • Passport (original and photocopy)
  • Passport-sized photos (usually 2)
  • Employment permit application form or notification letter (if available)

Fasting: Some tests may require fasting. It’s best to not consume food or drinks (except for water) for at least 12 hours prior to your appointment.

On the Day of the Examination:

Arrival: Arrive at least 15 minutes before your scheduled time.

Registration: Register at the counter and submit the necessary documents. You will be given a form to fill out, which includes general health questions.

Payment: There is a fee associated with the health check. Payment methods vary but usually include cash, debit cards, and mobile payment options like Alipay.

Health Examination: The examination is thorough and usually includes:

  • Blood tests
  • Chest X-ray
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • Ultrasound
  • Eye test
  • ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat) check
  • Dental check
  • Physical examination

Post Examination:

Results: It generally takes 3-5 working days to process the results. Some centers might offer expedited services for an extra fee.

Collecting the Report: You will be given a specific date and time to collect your health certificate. Make sure to bring your passport when collecting the report.

Validity: The health certificate is usually valid for six months from the date of issue. If there is a prolonged delay in your visa process, you may need to retake the health check.

Possible Further Actions:

Retesting: If there’s an issue with any of your tests, you might be asked to redo specific tests. In some cases, if a certain condition is detected, you might be asked to undergo additional medical examinations.

Medical Clearance: If you have a pre-existing condition, it’s a good idea to carry a letter or documentation from your doctor explaining the condition. While this isn’t a strict requirement, it can help address any questions or concerns raised during the health check.


  • Wear comfortable clothing and easily removable shoes.
  • Women should avoid scheduling their health check during their menstrual period, as this might affect the results of certain tests.
  • You might encounter queues, even with an appointment. Bring something to read or entertain yourself while waiting.
  • Ensure you follow any additional guidelines or recommendations given by the healthcare center or your employer.

Remember, the health check is an essential step in the Z visa application process. Once you have your health certificate in hand, you can proceed with other requirements of the work visa application.

If you fail the health test

Primary Consequence: If you fail the health test, the most immediate consequence is that you might become ineligible for the Z work visa. A failed health check often results in the rejection of the visa application.

Employment Implications: Since the Z visa is linked to employment, failing the health check can also mean that you cannot take up the job you were offered in China. It’s essential to inform your prospective employer about the results so they are aware of the situation.

Possible Reasons for Failure:

The specific reasons for failing the health check can vary, but they often include:

Communicable Diseases: The presence of diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, or syphilis can lead to a failed health check.

Severe Medical Conditions: Chronic illnesses or conditions that could pose a risk to oneself or others, or those that might heavily burden the Chinese medical system, can also lead to failure. This includes severe heart diseases, mental disorders, or certain stages of cancer.

Drug Use: If the blood tests indicate the presence of illegal drugs in one’s system, this will likely result in a failed health check.

Potential for Retesting or Reevaluation:

Retesting: In some cases, if there’s an irregularity in the results (like a borderline issue), you might be given the chance to retake certain tests. For instance, if there’s a suspicion that the blood sample was contaminated or mishandled, retesting can be offered.

Second Opinions: If you believe there has been an error or you have been misdiagnosed, you can seek a second opinion or undergo testing in your home country. If you’re cleared in subsequent tests, you can present these results and appeal the initial results. However, acceptance of such appeals is at the discretion of Chinese authorities.

Presenting Medical Documentation: If you have a known medical condition, providing documentation or letters from specialists in advance can be helpful. This can contextualize the findings and offer insights into the manageability of your condition.

Health check privacy concerns:

Confidentiality: The results of your health check are considered confidential. However, they will be shared with immigration authorities to inform the visa decision.

Informing Employers: While you should inform your prospective employer about a failed health check, the specifics of your medical condition should be your private information. It’s up to you how much detail you wish to disclose.

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