What is legalisation and why do I need it?
Once you have been offered a teaching position abroad, you may need a work visa. Depending on the country in which you will be working, you may need to have your TEFL certificate, Degree certificate and a criminal background check (Police Clearance) certificate legalised. Legalisation provides confirmation that your documents are genuine and valid.
This confirmation is called an ‘Apostille’. It is provided in the form of a certificate and embossed seal applied to the document. Once you have that on all the documents required by the government of the country you will be working in, you are ready to apply for your work visa!
How do I go about getting my TEFL certificate and other documents legalised?
FIRST: Find out which documents you need to have legalised.
Enquire with your employer, recruiter, or the consulate of the country in which you will be working as to which documents need to be legalised for your work permit.
Note: documents need to be legalised in the country where they are issued. As TEFL Graduate is a company registered in the UK, and the certificates are issued in the UK, you will need to have your certificate legalised in the UK.
If you are already abroad, you may be able to get everything done through the UK Embassy in the country where you are located, or your employer may be able to arrange legalisation through the Embassy. Please refer to your employer on this or contact the Embassy directly to enquire. (Please note that Embassy assistance is becoming rare, so this advice may change.)
The following pertains to getting your certificate and other documents legalised the UK.
Getting the UK Legalisation Apostille involves a 2-step process:
Step 1: Notarisation – a solicitor or Notary Public certifies that your certificate is genuine.
Step 2: Legalisation – the notarisation (including notary’s signature) is confirmed as genuine by a government official. This provides further confirmation of the authenticity and validity of your documents. Your documents are then apostilled.
The whole process (step 2) can take 2 to 8 weeks (depending on which Embassy) – so ensure that you factor this in when planning your departure dates.
You have two options:
OPTION 1: Do it yourself. This involves getting your certificate (and your other documents), notarised by a solicitor or Notary Public in the UK. You can google ‘Notary Public near me’ to find the closest Notary Public or refer to your local solicitor. You will then need to take or post your original documents to them for notarisation. The solicitor or Notary Public will make a copy of each document, notarise the copies, and return the originals and notarised copies to you.
Note: Notaries need to verify the authenticity of your TEFL Graduate certificate with TEFL Graduate in order to notarise it. This can be done online at https://teflgraduate.com/certificate-verification/
Once they have returned the notarised documents to you, you would then need to complete the legalisation process through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). (See: www.gov.uk/get-document-legalised)
Note: always make sure you check the most up to date procedures at www.gov.uk/get-document-legalised as processes and requirements can change.
OPTION 2: You can use services of an Apostille or Visa Agency specialising in the full legalisation apostille process. These agencies can be a little more costly, but they offer the simplest, most reliable, and quickest way to get everything done. Estimated cost is £170-£200/$230-$270 per document.
We can recommend the services of The Hague Apostille UK – https://www.hagueapostille.co.uk/ or for China we recommend Chinese Visa Direct – https://www.chinesevisadirect.co.uk/. Both companies offer a third level of confirmation that your documents are genuine and valid. This is called ‘attestation’ and is required by the governments of countries that are not signatories to ‘The Hague Convention’. This includes Vietnam.
ALREADY LIVING OR TEACHING ABROAD?
We recommend the services of the Hague Apostille UK – https://www.hagueapostille.co.uk/ or Chinese Visa Direct – https://www.chinesevisadirect.co.uk/ .
If you have not yet ordered your hard copy TEFL Graduate certificate, you need to do the following:
Please contact your visa agency to arrange for them to take delivery of your TEFL certificate. Then, on ordering your hard copy, please specify the address of the visa agency as the delivery address – prefixing it with any order or reference no. they provide, and/or name of your contact person. You’d then need to arrange with them to send your legalised certificate to you in your country.
If you already have your certificate, please contact a visa agency directly. Remember to refer them to our online certificate verification facility at https://teflgraduate.com/certificate-verification/.
NON-UK CITIZENS/INTERNATIONAL TEACHERS
You are a citizen of Ireland, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, or any other country, and you need to have your TEFL Graduate Certificate legalised in the UK, we recommend using a third-party agency in the UK to legalise your TEFL Certificate. We recommend the services of the Hague Apostille – https://www.hagueapostille.co.uk/ or Chinese Visa Direct for China – https://www.chinesevisadirect.co.uk/.
If you have not yet ordered your hard copy TEFL Graduate certificate, and you wish to get your certificate legalised straight away, you need to do the following:
Please contact a visa agency to arrange for them to take delivery of your certificate. Then, on ordering your hard copy, please specify the address of the visa agency as the delivery address – prefixing it with any order or reference no. provided, and/or the name of your contact person. You’d then need to arrange with them to send your legalised certificate to you.
If you already have your certificate, please contact the visa agency directly. Remember to refer them to our online certificate verification facility at https://teflgraduate.com/certificate-verification/.
(Please note that a UK visa agency will only process your UK issued documents. You will need to get your Degree, Police Clearance certificate and other documents legalised in your country, or the country where they were issued.)
You will need to check with the consulate of the country where you will be working, or your employer, for visa requirements specific to your nationality. You may also be able to get your certificate notarised by a Notary Public in your country, and legalised through the UK Embassy, but again, please check with the Embassy or Notary Public in your country.
If you have not yet secured employment: To save time and the expense of couriering your certificate back to the UK, it may be a good idea to opt for a visa agency for legalisation of your TEFL Graduate certificate, on ordering your certificate.