You were interviewed and have been successfully hired to teach in an international school, CONGRATULATIONS! But, before you finish dishing out high fives and start planning your going away party, your school sends you a list of required documents. This seems easy enough: diplomas, transcripts, teaching license, passport and... attestation?! What is that?!
You immediately begin to panic at this unfamiliar and threatening sounding word. Luckily, there is no need to fear. At first glance, the process of attestation will seem complicated and intimidating, but once you read, re-read and re-re-read the instructions, it will begin to feel more straightforward and attainable.
Attestation, apostille or authentication are three words that all mean the same thing:proof that an official document is real and legitimate.
Your hiring school needs to know that certain documents, like your diploma or teaching license, were not forged or printed off the internet. And, since your school is hiring teachers from countries all over the world, they cannot possibly know what every valid qualification looks like.
So, your school will safeguard itself by requiring that you have the state, province or country that issued your qualification to verify its legitimacy by placing a stamp or sticker that marks their approval. Only with your attested documents will your school's government issue you a work visa because you have proved that you are qualified for that position.
Your process will begin in 1 of 2 ways:
1) You will attest your original documents. If you choose this option, your original diploma (which may be in a frame hanging on your wall) will be returned to you with a stamp or sticker on it; or
2) You will notarize your original documents to create official copies that will then be attested instead.
The latter option is a popular choice by many teachers who want to keep their original documents safe and untouched. In order to make these copies, you will have to visit a notary who will place a stamp or seal on the copies of your original documents to prove their legitimacy. These copies will then be attested so that your originals stay intact.
After you have selected either option 1 or 2, you will present your documents to the government that issued them for attestation. It's important that you research attestation fees in advance because they are non-negotiable. It is also a cost that all teachers are expected to pay for themselves so you will need to be prepared for it.
Attestation can be very stressful, particularly if you have a very narrow time frame to complete this process, as well as dozens of other items to check off your list before you depart. If you need help, there are third party companies available for you to invest in that will take care of the attestation process for you. You would simply need to submit your documents to them and then they will take care of the legwork: Voila! Attested documents in hand without barely lifting a finger.
Once attested, your documents must be submitted to the embassy of the country that will be issuing your work visa. You can then scan your attested documents to your school, breathe a sigh of relief and feel very accomplished as you move one BIG step forward on your journey.
For more information on the attestation process, please refer to this video:
As an International Education Consultant with Edvectus, I connect newly qualified and experienced teachers with international private schools primarily located in the Middle East and the Far East. I am equally invested in and dedicated to my teacher candidates and our partner schools to ensure that the needs and interests of both parties are met.
If you are interested in learning more about Edvectus or beginning your international job search for the upcoming academic year, please register with us: https://www.edvectus.com/
--Written by Stefanie Donly, International Education Consultant based in North America