Once I received the Temporary Residency Permit, the focus shifted immediately to preparing the documents required for the one-year Residency Permit (Step 8). Because of the hold up with my Temporary Residency Permit, I actually had about 26 days (rather than 29 days) to do this.
The first step was for me to give my HR Director my passport, temporary residency permit card, and two new pictures. I was hesitant to give her my passport just because it was my official identification in the foreign country, but she said that was the only way. Because I had copies of my own, I felt ok letting her have it.
The HR Director used my documents to accomplish two important tasks that had to be completed before I could apply for my Residency Permit.
- Secure my Foreign Experts Certificate. This is the formal document issued by the Chinese government stating that I have a special skill needed by the Chinese and that I am therefore eligible for the Residency Permit.
- US Health Examination Verification. This is a formal statement by the Chinese health authorities that my US health examination met all requirements.
Both of these tasks took longer than normal in my case. First, the Foreign Experts Certificate was a bit harder because I did not have a Masters degree. More and more that is becoming an expectation for foreign teachers in Beijing, although other parts of the country are less strict with this requirement. Because my prior experience was a bit unconventional, I am pretty sure the school had to pull some strings to get me approved.
The health examination verification took longer than normal as well. But the story is worth its own blog entry. See the next post for more details.