Getting a medical for the China Z visa

In case you haven’t been following my blog, I’m heading out to China in a few weeks! This is my second post on my ‘move to China’, the first of which can be found here

My final step before the school in China could apply for my work permit was having a medical check here in the UK… I spent hours and hours trying to find a cheap and simple solution to this but unfortunately there isn’t one.

If you’re in the south like I am, head to London.
If you’re in the midlands or up north, you can go to Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh and a few other big cities.

Those of you moving to China are quite likely to hear different stories, just as I did, which could be any of the following:

  1. You don’t have to do it in the UK, just do it in China
  2. Just go to your local doctor and they can sign it
  3. Go to your local hospital on the NHS and they will do it
  4. Sign it yourself, no problem
  5. I will get you a fake copy, just pay me some money
  6. I will get you a fake document, for free, because I’m nice!

How many of these sound ‘legit’? Let me tell you, number 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 are not.

Your local GP cannot sign a form saying you have had an x-ray if you haven’t, your local NHS hospital will not fill out the form for you, they will send you to a private hospital or clinic.

Number 1 is a tricky one because each province can decide whether or not the employers require a health check in the UK. Some of them will allow foreigners to have one in China on arrival BUT in two different situations someone told me I wouldn’t have to have a health check in the UK, then they spoke to their agency and government contacts who then told them I would have to have a health check in the UK.

Believe me, it is so much easier to just bite the bullet, pay the £350+ and have the medical done and dusted in one day. If you go to a private clinic that specialises in visa medicals, they will know what you need doing, they will do it and they will sign (and stamp!) the form for you.

After weeks of trying to find a way around this, we found Doctorcall, on Harley Street, in London. They offered a 10% discount if you booked and paid upfront via their website and we had an appointment within a day (December 30th!).

If  you need the Foreign Medical Form – you can find it here

We turned up a little early and sat in the waiting room, the place was deserted as everyone was on holiday! but each medical only took about 50 minutes. The standard procedure for the medical is this (the order will probably differ depending on the clinic):

  1. Pulse check
  2. Checking your heart beat
  3. Checking your ears and eyes 
    (the above are pretty much what happens when you see your GP)
  4. ECG – Where they attach patches (electrodes) to your chest, arms and legs, which are hooked up to a machine that can read your heart rate and rhythm.

    A very standard procedure but the one thing I really hate about these things is having to sit half naked whilst they do it. I hate not being dressed, in any situation.

  5. Blood test – ouch! No one likes these anyway, right? Be aware that some clinics will charge you extra if you don’t know your blood group. Doctorcall did not charge extra, thankfully.
  6. Eye sight – checking your sight and colour recognition. Pretty much like any standard eye-test you have at your opticians.
  7. Urine sample
  8. X-ray – now some clinics will have their x-ray clinic in the same building, Doctorcall doesn’t and we had to walk about 10 minutes down the road to the London Imaging Centre – they were extremely professional and we were in and out within 20 minutes (for both of us)

That’s about it really. It’s an absolute pain-in-the-neck if you don’t live near a clinic but trust me on this one, just get it done. By the time you get to China you’ll have made the money back within a week or two.

Plus, is a day out in London really so bad? I’ll be blogging about things to do nearby the clinics in London later… so check back for that.


I hope that’s helpful for some of you, please let me know if I’ve missed anything or if you’d like to share your experience!


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