Documents Legalization for China Work visa/ Work Permit Application - Ultimate Guide

Updated: Feb 12

Not only you, all the ESL teachers feel confused about the document legalization process!


Not matter which country you go, as long as you are applying for the work visa as a TEFL teacher, documents' legalization is unavoidable.


This article is technical guidance regarding the legalization of the documents. We will use a very understandable way to explain it.


During the work visa application process, there are only 3 documents that would take your time, money and energy to prepare. Those 3 documents require the legalization of the Chinese embassy.


The purpose of the legalization is very simple: make your foreign document recognized by the Chinese government


The documents required to be legalized are:

- Degree

- Police Check

- TEFL certification

(Note: If the major of your degree is relative to language or education, or you have had 2 years teaching experience after graduation, you won't need a TEFL, neither need to legalize it)


Once your documents are legalized, your school could use your documents to apply for the work permit notification letter for you.


Each of your documents will go through 3 legalization process

- Firstly | Notarization | by the Notary Public

- Secondly | Apostille | by the Foreign Ministry (UK) OR Secretary of the states (USA, CA)

- Thirdly | Legalization | by the Chinese embassy


This is the most confusing part of the legalization process.


Why!? Why 3 process!?

Why can't the Chinese embassy just legalize my document directly!?


Basically, the legalization process is like a trust line between the different levels of departments of the country.


Let us explain to you the story by a cartoon:


This is you, who just signed a contract with a school in China, and ready to start the legalization process

This is the Notary public, the solicitor who will do the notarization of your documents:

This is the Foreign ministry (UK - FCO) or Secretary of the state (USA, CA), who will attach the apostille on your documents:


This is the Chinese embassy who does the legalization of your documents:


Now you know those departments, and start the legalization process for your documents:

- Degree

- Police Check

- TEFL certification

The three original papers are on your hand, you bring them to the notary public

Secondly, you bring the documents notarized to the Foreign Ministry (UK - FCO) or Secretary of the states (USA, CA) for the Apostille.


Then, bring the documents with Apostille to the Chinese embassy for the Legalization.



Once get the legalizations from the Chinese embassy, you can scan the documents and email the documents to your school for the work permit application.


How to scan your documents? Click here to see tips


Example

- Example - UK


Notarization:

On the back of the true copy of degree, stamp of the solicitor Raymond A Koh, who notarizes the original document is true


Apostille:

The officer of the foreign ministry of the UK - L Smethurst, who declare the signature and stamp of the notary public - Raymond A Koh is true


Legalization:

The officer of the Chinese embassy, declare the signature and stamp of the officer of the foreign ministry of the UK - L Smethurst is true


Then, the UK degree becomes valid in China


- Example of USA


Notarization:

On the paper attached to the original non-criminal record, the notary public Caitlyn Enrich declares the original document is true.


Apostille:

The officer of the Secretary of State of Colorado - Jena GRISWOLD, who declare the signature and stamp of the notary public Caitlyn Enrich is true


Legalization:

The officer of the Chinese embassy, declare the signature and stamp of The officer of the Secretary of State of Colorado - Jena GRISWOLD is true

Then, the American background check becomes valid in China


Details


- Notarization


Where to find a notary public?

- For UK citizens:

Google Search "Notary Public + Name of your city"

It's a bit like the clinics when you make appointments with the doctors.

Example of "Notary Public + Plymouth"


- For US citizens:

Sometimes, the notary public and the secretary of the states work in the same office, sometimes not, it really depends on the states.


For example, in California, the notary public and secretary of state are together.b

https://www.sos.ca.gov/notary/


Google search "Notary Public + Name of your state"


How long does it take?

In less than 1 week


How much does it cost?

It varies between 15 USD to 100 USD, depends on the price of the solicitors who are quite independent.


How does it work?

The solicitor of the notary public will photocopy your original document, and put a stamp on the true copy to prove the document is true, or write a letter to prove the document is true and bound it to the true copy of the document.


Do they accept mailing?

Yes, and also mail back to you.




- Apostille


Where to find the foreign ministry or the Secretary of State?

- For UK citizens

click this link directly: https://www.gov.uk/get-document-legalised

- For US citizens

Google search "Apostille + Name of your state + gov"

Example for California: https://www.sos.ca.gov/notary/request-apostille/


How long does it take?

Less than 1 week.


How much does it cost?

- 30 GBP in the UK

- 20 USD in the US


How does it work?

You mail the documents to the foreign ministry or secretary of the state, they verify your notarization and attach an apostille on your document.


Do they accept mailing?

Yes, and also mail back to you.


- Legalization


Where to find the Chinese embassy

- For the UK

https://www.visaforchina.org/

Choose the United Kingdom, then choose the most convenient city for you


- For the US

http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/ywzn/lsyw/gzrz/

For finding the closest Chinese embassy to you:

http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/zmzlljs/t84229.htm


How long does it take?

less than 1 week


How much does it cost?

17GBP or 25 USD


How does it work?

Fill in a legalization application form online, (Can be downloaded from the website of the Chinese embassy), make an appointment, and go to the Chinese embassy for the legalization.


Attention: Someone must bring the document to the Chinese embassy! They don't accept mailing!

It can be you, your friends or family, or an agency, not necessarily by yourself.


For how to fill in the legalization application form, please check this video guide:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNNsZ92iBdw&t=146s


Do they accept mailing?

No! But they can mail the document back to you.



For the whole legalization process, it takes 3 weeks in total, and 100 USD to 150 USD per document.


For the cost of legalization, generally, your school won't reimburse it.

Because it's kinda like the TEFL certification, the legalizations are your own documents. You could use them for all the schools in China, also for changing your school/employer later.


When you finish all the legalization processes, you could be ready for sending your documents to your school.


For the details, please check this article:

https://www.wooktalent.com/post/the-standard-for-scanning-your-documents-for-the-work-permit-application


If your school is in Beijing, please also check this article:

https://www.wooktalent.com/post/mailing-your-documents-to-beijing-what-you-need-to-know



Hope the information in this article could help you.

If you have more specific questions, welcome to leave a comment below.


By WOOK Talent

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