Upfront Costs – Teach English in China

So you are thinking about the future and the great opportunities outside of your countries borders. The great earning potential a teaching job in China offers and the rewarding experience of teaching and travelling to a new and exciting country.  But then you wonder, what are the costs involved in relocating to teach English abroad? Well, it’s not cheap and there are upfront costs to consider. Although most of the upfront costs will be reimbursed by the school, you will need to make sure that you can afford the initial investment needed to embark on the adventure of a lifetime.

Please find more detailed information and useful links below.

A teacher will have to pay for a medical check and the documents in China with some schools. 

TEFL (if applicable)

If you don’t already hold a teaching qualification you will need to obtain a minimum of a 120-hour TEFL certificate. The cost varies depending on whether you opt for an online course or an in-house course.


There are two things you have to take into consideration.

1) Document legalisation

2) Z visa application

The fee depends on your country of residence.

Check out more by clicking on the buttons below. 



Pre-departure Medical Check (if applicable)

Check with your doctor or local GP - guide below. 


Flights fluctuate in price depending on the time of year, the day of the week and how far in advance you book. Your return flight will, either be reimbursed at the end of your contract, or the school will offer you a higher salary to make up for the cost.

You can compare prices using these websites:

Living Expenses 

You will need to bring some pocket money to be able to live, shop and eat during your first month in China. You will receive a monthly salary and therefore your first paycheck won’t arrive until the following month. The recommended minimum is to bring the equivalent of a minimum wage in the city you are going to, but it also depends on your lifestyle.

To get a better understanding of the cost of living in China, check out our blog!



The school will offer you either free accommodation or a housing allowance (an amount paid on top of your wages every month).

Free accommodation

If you get offered free accommodation on-campus there won’t be any upfront cost when you arrive in China, you can move straight in.

Housing Allowance

A school representative will assist you in finding appropriate accommodation off-campus within your budget. If you get offered a contract with a housing allowance, in some cases you will need to bring enough money to cover the first month’s rent, a deposit and the agent’s fee. Sometimes the school can help you by offering a loan, they will pay some money towards the upfront cost, and the amount will then be deducted from your monthly wages in instalments. 

NEW: Quarantine hotel and negative covid test

All new arrivals are required to quarantine for two weeks on arrival. This is a measure put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19. The cost will depend on which hotel you get matched to on arrival. Most hotels will cost between 200-500 RMB per day. This is subject to change. 

A negative COVID-19 test is required to be allowed to board your flight to China. Please check the Chinese embassy website in your country to see which tests are accepted and the associated cost.