Whether you’ve been offered an employment (Z) visa in order to work in China, are coming here as a student (X visa), or will be joining your spouse (S visa), as a foreigner you’re going to need to get a clean bill of health before you’ll be granted your residency permit.
As with everything in China, getting the official document that proves that you are fit and healthy involves a fair bit of admin and jumping through hoops-you-didn’t-even-know-existed, but if you go prepared, navigating the ‘Medical Examination for Residence Permit for Foreigners’ can be one of the easier challenges that first faces you in Beijing.
For up to date information, visit the official Beijing International Travel Healthcare Center (北京国际旅行卫生保健中心) website here (in Chinese).
Things to know
- There is currently only one facility in Beijing where you can get a visa requirement health check.
- You cannot do this examination at a hospital, your private clinic, or anywhere else in Beijing.
- The center is only open 8.30-11.30am.
- The center is busiest in August and just after Chinese New Year. In general, we suggest getting there as close to opening time as possible.
- Most of the staff at the centers speak basic English and are used to dealing with foreigners.
Prepare before you go
- Your passport.
- Approx RMB 600 in cash.
- Your address in Chinese (if you want to have your results mailed to you).
- Two passport photos. There is a photo studio at the health check center if you don’t have time to get them before.
- An empty stomach. You cannot eat breakfast the day of your health check, as this will affect the blood test and stomach ultrasound results.
How to get to there
There is only one Beijing International Travel Healthcare Centers in Beijing:
- 23/F, Jinao International Building, 17 Madian East Road, Haidian District (5864 8800, 6427 4240)
This location is closest to the city center.
NOTE: This location is due to close on Apr 25, 2019 and officially restart operations on Apr 29 at:
- 20 Hepingli North Road, Dongcheng District (6427 4239)
To get to the 17 Madian East Road location, take line 10 subway to Jiandemen Station, Exit D (South West), then walk to the center for about 10 minutes through the lovely Madian Park.
NOTE: The center was formerly located at 10 Northwest Wangdezheng Road, Haidian District, (海淀区西北旺德政路10号) and is still listed as active on certain blogs. This location is no longer the correct location for the health check center.
Navigating the Medical Examination, step-by-step
Step 1: Register
Fill in an “Application for Medical Examination Form” as you arrive. It’s standard stuff: full name, passport number, phone number, and a brief medical history.
If there are none of these blank forms available proceed straight to the registration counter.
Queue up at the registration counter at the center of the room. The staff member who inputs your details will take a snapshot of you on a digital camera, print out a form which lists the examinations you need to complete, give you a pack of barcode stickers that will be used by the doctors to track your results, and direct you to the cashiers.
Step 2: Pay
As of April 2019, the cost for a Health Check for a Work Visa was RMB 506. You can only pay by cash. Hang onto the yellow fapiao if you need to claim this back from your employee or school later.
Step 3: Begin your examinations
This is where the fun begins. The printed form that you got at registration is like a bingo card, listing the various exams that you need to undertake, the room number, and space for the doctors to sign off on the test. Get all the exams signed off, and you win the right to stay in China… hopefully. The exams are typically the following: ECG (heart), ENT (ear-nose-throat), eye test, stomach ultrasound (for men too), chest x-ray, blood test, and simple weight and height measurements.
As you do the exams (you don’t need to do them in any particular order), the doctors will take a barcode sticker, sign off your ‘bingo card’ and send you on your way.
Like bingo, but for your health and future
- There may be multiple rooms available for each examination.
- If you wear a bra, you’ll need to remove it for the chest x-ray, but can leave your shirt on.
- The examinations are quick, painless, and non-invasive, although you will need to expose your bare chest for the heart rate monitor (overseen by a female doctor).
- If you look visibly foreign, you may sometimes be hauled to the front of the queue, past the long line of old grannies. Just go with it.
Step 4: Return your form
Now that you’ve got all the exams done, take your form to the “return form” desk of the registration counter, and hand it over along with two passport photos, which you can get taken at the photo studio if you do not have copies yourself. You can keep any other printouts that the doctors have given you (heart rate monitor for example), for your records.
You will be issued two copies of the health check, which are valid for 6 months. If you think you may need more than two, ask for extra copies now and prepare to pay extra for them.
You have a choice of either picking up the results yourself or having them mailed to you for a fee of RMB 30. If you choose the latter, have your mobile number and address in Chinese ready.
Congrats, you’ve done it! Your results can be picked up two days later, or mailed to you within a week.
READ: Medical Insurance – Why You Need It and How to Get It
Images: Unsplash, the Beijinger, Anna Pellegrin Hartley, betminded.com