Physical examination for Z and S1 visa holders

Hi all,

Pretty soon, I'll be relocating to China having been hired by a Chinese university. After going through the ordeal of obtaining visas for my dependants and myself, I found I'll have to undergo a physical check up which includes, to my horror, chest x-rays.

I certainly don't appreciate being forced into this, but I can put up with it. What I can't compromise on is my toddler daughter's and my elderly mother's health, so does anyone know whether toddlers and seniors (over 70) have to undergo the same medical procedures as middle aged adults (44) like myself?

Thanks in advance!

To your horror. Why? Chest x-rays are noninvasive and safe. "You don't appreciate being forced to do this." You are moving to a communist country. To adjust, your attitute might need revision. There are many things you will be "forced" to do that might not be to your liking.

But, in the past, only adults, not children

Chest X-rays are used to screen for lung abnormalties. China does not want to admit people with certain sicknesses. It is pretty common.



On a side note, and for the benefit of those who are going through this "adjustment" process, I don't believe one necessarily has to buy into the viewpoint of authorities. It's a matter of how much you can allow yourself to put up with. Hence, saying "I don't appreciate being forced into this" doesn't mean I won't abide the law of the country I'm going to live in for the next 3 years. When (and if) it's too much for me to come to terms with, I'll just resign and go back to my home country, that's it. But for now, I'm just trying to explore my options, if any.

One more thing: stating that x-rays are safe is plain untrue. Ionising radiation is never completely safe, let alone when used on a sensitive area like the chest. That said, I'm aware I have no alternatives and I'm willing to undergo this procedure for the sake of my career. However, I simply don't want my daughter to pay the price of my ambition. Luckily, my employer confirmed that she won't have to undergo any physical examination. So far so good.


@Wellington12 Hi Wellington, I am not a visa expert but have been a physics teacher at various international schools in China for the past 4 years. I can tell you the visa process is very strict. A health check is a standard & mandatory requirement along with the authentication process of your degree certificates, criminal checks etc. I do know that pregnant women are usually exempted from X-rays, I am not sure if an application for an exemption from the X rays can be made to the authorities with a valid reason. I do know that the annual exposure of radiation from natural background radiation is way higher than from a x ray occasionally however I am no medical expert, good luck hope it all works out for you and your family.

hello Wellington12

for Z visa you will have to do regular annual health checks + initial check in approved institution, including X ray, as i did for last 4 years, until start of 2022 that is. I am not sure about your daughter, but for your mother i am pretty sure she will have to do it. My Korean colleague, a 67 y.o., had to do it.

On a different note, as already stated above, you will learn many interesting things in China. The first and the most important is that who wishes to keep western style attitude towards government and life in general will soon find himself in the plane back to England/Europe/wherever. So, as painful as may be, the sooner you (and anybody) brush off that attitude, the better.

But i guess you are already came to terms with that.

All the best

Don't worry. The exam for visas is comprehensive, but won't really result in disqualification unless you have a really SERIOUS problem. You will go to a hospital that performs the examinations for ONLY visa holders, and while it is comprehensive, it isn't really anything that you need worry about.

No, your daughter and grandparents will NOT go though the same hospital checkups as you do.

Your physical is associated with a Z-visa. Theirs will be different.

(I say this as it is highly unlikely that a 70-year old and a child would get a Z-visa. The cutoff-date for the Z-visa is 55 years, and you need a minimum of a college education and two years experience to teach for a Z-visa.)

And in general, they won't need a physical exam, unless the visa that they have requires it. You didn't say what the visa was for the daughter and grandparents, so I cannot answer on those issues, and requirements for exams are visa dependent.

In general, I am a BIG believer in Chinese medicine, both Western and the traditional forms, and have multiple REAL EMERGENCIES that the Chinese staff performed as being first rate.

So relax and enjoy the trip.

One final comment. China is a great place to live, but YOU MUST FOLLOW THE RULES. They are not optional, or can be relaxed under certain conditions. If you do not plan on obeying the laws, or following the rules, don't come. The punishments can be severe. I don't want, nor intend to be cruel, but the entire society and legal system is structured quite differently from what you would find in the West. Come with an open mind and an open heart and you will be just fine.


Thanks for your message.

Well, I've found I can do the tests in the UK, which is relieving. My daughter is exempted, but my mother will have to undergo basically the same tests.

I don't intend to stay longer than the duration of my contract (3 years), and even during this period there will be time off, holidays and the like. Of course, I don't have anything against China and its rules (I know absolutely nothing about it), but it wasn't exactly my choice to relocate there, so I guess being annoyed with these practicalities is only too normal isn't it? And if I soon find myself on a flight back to the UK, well, I'll come to terms with it.



Hi, thanks for your message.

Well, I don't know whether or not to believe in Chinese medicine, but I'm under the impression x-rays are not exactly part of it, hence my skepticism. As for the rules, I think I can behave if I want to, and after all I know very little about China, so I'll give it a go and see how I feel... Like I said before, if it feels overwhelming or unpleasant for any other reason I'll just jump onto a flight back.

Thanks a lot!


You will be fine, and you will be SURPRISED. Everyone usually is.

I can predict what will happen.

  • Excitement and exhaustion, as you move into a new life.
  • Amazement, and satisfaction, as you experience the life.
  • Dawning realizations, and understandings at how many things that you thought were just really wrong.
  • Adaption, and appreciation.

Followed by...

  • Can I renew my contract? I really don't want to go back home.