Document Apostilles & Legalisation

 

Getting your documents apostilled or legalised is a process required by many countries in order to obtain a work visa. For most countries an apostille is sufficient to recognise your qualifications and certificates. This is a two step process where your documents must first be notarised by a solicitor or a public notary in your home country, then apostilled by the relevant government agency in your country. 

However, countries that are not members of the Hague Apostille Convention do not recognise an apostille. Therefore if you need to have your documents approved by one of these countries (Incl. UAE, Qatar, China, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Thiland, Malaysia etc.) you will have to go through a third step called embassy legalisation.

Below you will find a detailed guide on the apostillle and legalisation process for specific countries.

*It is worth noting that many people use the words certified, authorised, apostilled etc interchangeably. The process outlined below is what you are being asked for, regardless of the words or phrases used!

UAE

Getting your documents legalised for the UAE

Step 1. You must visit a Public Notary, a Commissioner of Oaths or a Solicitor to have your documents notarised (signed and confirmed as genuine copies of the originals).

*Notarisation procedures vary from country to country, with some authorities asking for original documents while others ask for notarised copies. Many documents will require notarisation before they can be authenticated and legalised, but not all. Visit the official government website of your country in step two for specific details and to clarify which copy of your documents you need i.e solicitor, public notary or original issuer.

Step 2. You must take the notarised documents to the relevant government body for the apostille process. See below for list of relevant bodies per country:

Step 3. The notarised and apostilled documents must be sent to the relevant UAE Embassy where a Certificate of Legalisation will be added to the front page. See below for relevant embassy per country:

Your documents will then be sent to the UAE and attested at The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) before being returned to you. 

Note: The entire process can be expensive as each document and certificate is paid for individually at each step. It is important to begin the steps as soon as possible as these can take time. Schools will need this completed in order to process your visa.

China

Getting your documents legalised for China

Step 1. You must visit a Public Notary, a Commissioner of Oaths or a Solicitor to have your documents notarised (signed and confirmed as genuine copies of the originals).

*Notarisation procedures vary from country to country, with some authorities asking for original documents while others ask for notarised copies. Many documents will require notarisation before they can be authenticated and legalised, but not all. Visit the official government website of your country in step two for specific details and to clarify which copy of your documents you need i.e solicitor, public notary or original issuer.

Step 2. You must take the notarised documents to the relevant government body for the apostille process. See below for list of relevant bodies per country:

Step 3. The notarised and apostilled documents must be brought to the relevant Chinese Embassy for legalisation. Normally it takes four working days for legalisation; for express service, it can take three working days. Please check the Chinese Embassy in your country for details. 

Important: Legalisation of documents for China cannot be done by post. You must apply in person or entrust someone else to apply on your behalf at the Chinese Embassy. Chinese embassies have specific times when this can be done so please check the website of the Chinese Embassy nearest you for exact times and days.

They also have very specific details you must follow, for example,  documents containing two or more pages must be tied together and sealed properly by the notary office or if there is any blank page in your documents (including covers), you must mark the page with letters such as "This page has no contents.” Also if someone is doing this for you, they need to bring their passport, amongst other things. For this reason it is important to check the details relevant to your country on the Chinese Embassy website - links to the relevant information for each Country are below. 

Note: The entire process can be expensive as each document and certificate is paid for individually at each step. It is important to begin the steps as soon as possible as these can take time. Schools will need this completed in order to process your visa.

Member Countries of the Hague Apostille Convention

Getting your documents authenticated / apostilled 

Countries that belong to the Hague Apostille Convention only require documents to be apostilled. Countries outside of the convention such as China and UAE must complete a further step to have the documents legalised.

Getting your documents apostilled:

Step 1. You must visit a Public Notary, a Commissioner of Oaths or a Solicitor to have your documents notarised (signed and confirmed as genuine copies of the originals).

*Notarisation procedures vary from country to country, with some authorities asking for original documents while others ask for notarised copies. Many documents will require notarisation before they can be authenticated and legalised, but not all. Visit the official government website of your country in step two for specific details and to clarify which copy of your documents you need i.e solicitor, public notary or original issuer.

Step 2. You must take the notarised documents to the relevant government body for the apostille process. See below for list of relevant bodies per country:

*There are 98 countries who have signed the Hague Apostille Convention (1961) and for whom the apostille acts as the final step in the authentication process for documents when applying for a visa. Here is a link to a list of the countries involved and the departments in each who are authorised to confer apostilles.

Note: The entire process can be expensive as each document and certificate is paid for individually at each step. It is important to begin the steps as soon as possible as these can take time. Schools will need this completed in order to process your visa.

 

 

If time is not on your side then there are companies and agencies that can help with the process. A popular agency that many International teachers use is Vital Certificates. This tends to be a good option if you are currently overseas or do not have the time or means to do it yourself. It can also make the process smoother and less stressful, though it should be noted that it is a more expensive option. 

You can request a free quote on their website by clicking the relevant link below:

They also offer services for many other countries.

Job Pages