Authenticating degree, TEFL and no-criminal record certificates for use in China


Post Date: 8 Oct 2019


Authenticating degree, TEFL and no-criminal record certificates for use in China

The process for correctly authenticating your degree, TEFL and no criminal record certificates for use in China can sometimes feel convoluted or complex. There are several words which upon glance all seem to have the same general meaning: Apostille, legalisation, authentication, notarisation… what do they all mean, what do you need to focus on, and what steps should you take to make sure you’re getting it right? In this article we will help you understand the things you need to do.

 

Below, the three main steps for document authentication are explained. These explanations also act as a basic explanation of the main terms: Notarisation, Apostille, and Legalisation.

 

In this article we will help you understand the things you need to do.

 

 

Notarisation, Apostille and Legalisation

Below, the three main steps for document authentication are explained. These explanations also act as a basic explanation of the main terms: Notarisation, Apostille, and Legalisation.

  1. Notarisation: This is the process by which a document is verified by a legal professional known as a notary. Notaries are internationally recognised and regulated private lawyers who are authorised to check that certain documents are true and correct. A notary will take a copy of your original documdent an affix a certification to say that it is true and real, then sign and seal it.

    Not all documents need to be notarised. If the original document was produced by a government body, you may be able to bypass the notarisation step.

    In the case of a Chinese work visa application, the most likely documents requiring notarisation are your degree certificate and TEFL certificate. In some cases your non-criminal record clearance may also require notarisation; this is dependent on the country you are from.

  2. Apostille: An apostille is an additional level of authentication which is required for documents to be accepted internationally. After notarisation (if it was required), you must send your document for an apostille by a government department such as the Home Office, Foreign & Commonwealth Office or Department of State.

    An apostille can only be granted for documents that have come from institutions based in the same country of origin. For example, the UK Foreign & Commonwealth office can only grant an apostille for documents that were obtained via a UK institution.

    All countries that are part of the Hague Convention must accept apostilled documents. Some countries, including China, have not signed up to this convention, so an extra step is required: Legalisation.

  3. Legalisation: This is the process by which a document is granted legal status in a country. In the case of a Chinese work visa application, your apostilled documents must be legalised via a Chinese embassy based in the country where the apostille was obtained. This is normally a Chinese embassy in your home country.

 

Note: Once you have completed the authentication process, you'll need to obtain a work visa and work permit.

To learn more about that, see here: How to Apply for a Work Visa and Work Permit


The 3-step process

After your documents have been authenticated via the above steps, you should send a scanned copy of the documents, along with scans of all authentication certificates and/or stamps, to your new employer who will be able to start the work visa application process on your behalf.

The notarisation and legalisation process can differ depending on what country you are from, or whether you have any peculiarities that need to be dealt with. For example, if you have lived outside your home country for a long time, it may be more difficult to obtain a criminal record certificate.


Authentication processes for the United Kingdom, United States, Australia, South Africa, Canada and Ireland are outlined below.

 

The 3-step process outlined typically takes about 3 weeks.

 

 

Document authentication in the United Kingdom

·         Step 1: Complete a non-criminal record check via the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)

o   A DBS check costs £25

o   If you have been out of the UK for a long time (i.e. you have no verifiable UK address or bank account), you may need to go via the Criminal Records Office instead. This costs £45

·         Step 2: Have your degree certificate (and TEFL certificate if required) notarised by a solicitor or notary public

o   The notary will create a copy of your document(s) and attach a letter of attestation

o   Typical price: £30

·         Step 3: Obtain certification of your non-criminal record document

o   The document must be sent back to the issuing authority with a request for a legalisation stamp

o   The certificate will be given a government stamp recognising it as a true document

o   If this option is not available, you will need to go via a notary instead

·          Step 4: Have all your documents apostilled by the UK government legalisation service

o   Standard service: £30 per document (takes up to 10 days)

o   Express service: £75 per document (1 day).

o   The criminal record certificate must be the original. Copies will be rejected

·         Step 5: After obtaining apostilles, the documents must be legalised by a Chinese embassy in the UK

o   This must be done in person at the embassy. There is no postal service available.

o   Normal service: £15 (4 days)

o   Express service: £30 (3 days)

·         Step 6: Your documents are now ready to make your Chinese work visa application 

 

Document authentication in the United States

·         Step 1: Obtain a non-criminal record certificate

o   This can be done at the state level or federal level

o   State level checks can be done via your home state’s website

o   Federal level checks must be done via an FBI Background Check and normally take 2 to 4 weeks

o   Ensure the document you receive is signed by the issuing authority

·         Step 2: Have your degree certificate (and TEFL if required) notarized by a public notary

o   This must be done in the state the certificates were issued

·         Step 3: All documents must then be authenticated by the Secretary of State in your home state

o   Authentication must contain an appropriate seal, signature and clear wording

o   More information can be found on the Department of State Document Authentication website

o   Click the following for a list of State Authentication Offices

o   When submitting documents, make it clear that they are for usage in China, so that the official handling your case can use appropriate wording and formatting in the authentication document

·         Step 4: Have all your documents legalized by a Chinese embassy or consulate in the United States

o   Complete the following application form

o   Submit the form, along with your documents, to your nearest embassy or consulate

o   The form and documents must be submitted in person, or by a nominated person on your behalf

o   The legalized documents will be returned to you after processing is complete

·         Step 5: Your documents are now ready to make your Chinese work visa application


 

Document Authentication in Australia

·         Step 1: Obtain a non-criminal record check from your local authority 

o   The certificate is obtained via a National Police Check

·         Step 2: Degree and TEFL certificate (if required) must be notarised by an Australian notary

o   You can do this via a notary in any Australian state or territory

·         Step 3: Have all documents apostilled by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

o   Visit smartraveller.gov.au for more information on what legalisation services are available

o   Can be done in person or by post

o   Postal service is only possible via Melbourne or Sydney

·         Step 4: Have all your documents legalised by a Chinese embassy

o   The embassy must be in the same jurisdiction as that for which any notarisations were obtained.

o   For example, if your degree certificate was notarised in Queensland, then you must have all your documents legalised via the Chinese consulate in Brisbane


·         Step 5: Your documents are now ready to make your Chinese work visa application

 

 

Document Authentication in South Africa

 

·         Step 1: Obtain a Police Clearance Certificate from the South African government

·         Step 2: Bachelor degree (and TEFL if required) must be certified by the Department of Higher Education and Training

·         Step 3: Obtain apostilles for your degree, TEFL and no criminal record

o   Do this via the Department of International Relations and Cooperation

o   In some cases, your TEFL certificate will need to instead be notarised by a public notary and then verified by the South African High Court

·         Step 4: Have all your documents legalised by a Chinese embassy

o   First complete the following application form

o   Take the form, along with all your documents (originals and copies), including your residence permit and passport, to your nearest Chinese embassy for processing

o   Consult the following for more information: Cape Town Chinese Consulate FAQ

·         Step 5: Your documents are now ready to make your Chinese work visa application


 

Document Authentication in Canada

 

·         Step 1: Obtain a non-criminal record certificate

o   Visit canadainternational.gc.ca for more information

o   In most cases you will be applying for a Certified Criminal Record Check

o   You will need to provide your fingerprints

o   If the check brings up no criminal matches, you will be able to obtain the certificate in 3 days or less

o   If the check requires any manual processing, or you are found to have criminal matches, the certification process may take up to 4 months

o   Processing fees are $25, plus local service fees which depend on your local jurisdiction

·         Step 2: Your degree, TEFL (if required) and non-criminal record documents must be notarized by a notary public, lawyer or Commissioner of Oaths of Canada

o   Notarization should be completed in the same jurisdiction as the Chinese embassy you intend to go to for the next step of the process

·         Step 3: All documents must be apostilled by the Canadian government

o   This must be done in the same province or jurisdiction as that in which your documents were notarized

·         Step 4: All documents must be legalised by a Chinese embassy

o   The process is done via a relevant Visa for China Centre

o   This must be done in the same province or jurisdiction as that in which your documents were notarized

 

·         Step 5: Your documents are now ready to make your Chinese work visa application

 

 

Document Authentication in Ireland

·         Step 1: Apply for a Gardaí Police Certificate

o   A Police Certificate is issued by the Superintendent in the District where the relevant applicant resides, or formerly resided, in the Republic of Ireland.

o   Certificates are issued free of charge

·         Step 2: Degree, TEFL, (if required) and police certificate must be notarised by a local notary public

·         Step 3: Have all your documents apostilled and legalised by the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

o   Application can be via post or in person

o   Cost: €40 per document

o   Cash payments are no longer possible in the Dublin and Cork offices. You can only pay by bank card, bank draft or postal order

·         Step 4: Submit your documents to the Chinse embassy in Ireland for legalisation

o   You will need to complete the following application form

o   The legalisation process is outlined here: China Embassy Ireland - Legalisation

o   Required documents are outlined here: China Embassy Ireland – Legalisation Documents

 

·         Step 5: Your documents are now ready to make your Chinese work visa application


Document Authentication in Other Countries

Unfortunately we can't write an article for every country here. The above list covers the most common cases that we deal with here at eChinaCareers.


Most countries follow a similar authentication process to those explained above. However, there are some exceptions. For example, Brazilian and Russian passport holders are able to get their no-criminal record certification at a consulate in China without having to leave the country.

If you have any doubts or questions, the best bet would be to visit your country’s Chinese embassy website.


The authentication process can always seem a little confusing at first. Just remember to break it down into the three main points: Notarisation, Apostille, and Legalisation. With this in mind, you should feel more at ease following the relevant steps for your country outlined above. 




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