Apostille: What is it? Why do you need one? How do you get one?

Someone asked me recently:

Can you comment on what an apostille is?

This is asked often enough that it is worth making a post out of it. It can be made to seem quite mysterious and complicated, but…

Long story made short. Your potential employer expects that you will not be sending them the original of the documents requested.  Therefor you need to have a copy made.

A notary (if you are in the USA/Canada – similar if elsewhere) – needs to make the copy for you and notarize the copy as being a true copy (not an altered or false one).    You then must send the copy – with the notary signature on it – to the Secretary of State in the jurisdiction (state/province) in which that notary is registered.

The SoS then verifies that the notary’s signature is real.

It’s a mess, but so many teachers have falsified and altered documents that schools/employers (and sometimes countries) now have to do this.  Sadly, all you ever hear about is all the bad schools – you never hear about the bad teachers . . .

I apologize for the the political commentary – but it is so.  Zillions of pages on the internet about school scams – but in fact many times (probably more often) the scam is the teacher.  But just about zero pages on the internet about that.  So – don’t believe everything you read on the internet.

You can also Google – apostille – for a lengthier and possible better and certainly much more complicated though probably more accurate description of apostille.   But that is the basics.

TED’s Tips™ #1:  Not everywhere or everyone asks for an apostille, nor will they always ask for it for every document. It is not usually worth getting it done “just in case” as it can be expensive in some states/provinces.

TED’s Tips™ #2: Unfortunately though, the process can often take a fair amount of time.  In that case send a regular copy or a copy of the notarized copy pending sending the copy with the apostille on it.

Teaching Internships in China

Author: Ted

Semi-retired EFL teacher/teacher-trainer working and living abroad since 1989 in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.