Frequently Asked Questions: Visas

I have been asked to have my documents legalized. What is involved in this process?

  • In order to ensure your documents will be recognized by the government and/or school that you are applying to teach in, there are some basic steps you should undertake:
    • Contact the closest consulate of the country where you will be teaching to determine what is required. The procedure may vary depending on the state in which you live and the consulate closest to you. A representative can advise you if your documents need to be authenticated, legalized or if you will require an “Apostille.”
    • Ask your school director/recruiter (after ensuring they are legitimate) what steps you should take to apply for this visa. They will often be able to provide you with a detailed outline of the procedure/requirements.
    • The documents will likely need to have one or more of the below processes:
      • Notarized: A member of the notary public signs a photocopy of your document attesting that the signature/seal on the document is true and genuine. This process is the cheapest, fastest and most common so you may want to have this done before applying for jobs. It is also a preliminary step for the next two processes.
      • Apostille: A government official in the Department of State Office declares the signature of the notary public as true and genuine (on a standardized form).
      • Authentication: A government official in the Department of State office provides an official declaration that the apostille is true and genuine.
      • Legalization: The embassy of the country where the document is to be presented declares and accepts the signature, seal, or stamp appearing on the document as genuine.
  • The two websites below give information for residents of the USA or various other countries so they can determine where to get an apostille or authentication, as well as the procedure and cost: http://www.apostilleinfo.com/usa.htm, http://www.state.gov/m/a/auth/.

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