How to get your documents attested for your teaching job abroad

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Congratulations! You've secured your ideal teaching job abroad! Once you get over the celebrations, you swiftly realise that you've a to-do list the length of your arm! One vital part of the process is getting your documents legalised and attested for your school abroad. You need to complete this process before you arrive to your new country, in order to get an employment visa.

These documents include:

  • Your undergraduate degree
  • Your teaching certification

Some schools also ask for the legalisation and attestation of:

  • Your Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT certificate)
  • Your Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) certificate
  • Your birth cert
  • Your marriage cert
  • Your postgraduate degree
  • Your background check (e.g. in the UK, there is the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks, previously called the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks or an Irish Police Certificate)

ALWAYS find out the exact documents required by your school, because this process isn't cheap, and you don't want to waste money unnecessarily legalising and attesting documents. Some documents should be first authenticated by a solicitor or notarised by a Notary Public before legalisation and attestation. This may or may not be the case for you, so check with your school. You should also join location-specific expat groups and ask there too for advice.

Legalisation and attestation of your documents is a two-step process:

  1. You get them legalised (verified and stamped) by a relevant authority in your own country (e.g.  Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade in Ireland or the Foreign Commonwealth Office in the UK) to confirm that they are genuine.

UK: http://www.gov.uk/get-document-legalised

Ireland: https://www.dfa.ie/travel/our-services/authenticating-documents/

  1. Then you bring/ send the legalised documents to the relevant embassy, where they will be endorsed/ attested.

UK: https://www.embassypages.com/uk

Ireland: https://personal.aicc.ie/information-page  (The Arab-Irish Chamber of Commerce (AICC) will arrange legalisation following certification of documentation when required, so contact them to let them know)

Then you are ready to go! Keep your receipts carefully, as some schools abroad refund the cost once you present the original receipts to HR when you arrive.

The process can be a bit time-consuming and stressful, so you may find it easier (though much more expensive) to pay a company to process your papers for you. Some companies I have heard other expat teachers using are Vital Certificates and Argentum LLC, but there are tonnes of them so definitely do your research, ask other expats for recommendations, and contact at least 3 companies for quotes to get the best deal for you! I have always done it myself and it has been fine. I'd just say to start it as soon as you sign that job contract, i.e. don't leave it on the long finger!

My name is Sorcha Coyle and I’ve been teaching in the Gulf (Qatar and Dubai) for the past 9 years. I also run Empowering Expat Teachers, whose mission is to empower future and current expat teachers to lead personally, professionally, and financially rewarding lives. If you haven’t already, join the supportive EET FB group here and follow me on IG @sorchacoyle_eet for lots of research, CV, and cover letter tips! Last but not least, I also provide CV and cover letter support to future and current expat teachers with my range of services in Teach Abroad Academy- check them out here!

Sorcha x 

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