How and when do you need to collect documents before coming to teach english in China?


Foreigners coming to teach english in China are becoming more and more. Most come after getting a legal working visa. Some apply for a tourist visa or business visa first then come. No matter what type of visa you will get, you should collect some necessary documents for that and find out how it works and how long time it will take. Before looking to teach in China, you had better investigate visa things and what documents you need to collect and how much money you should save for that. So you don’t have to feel panic.

There are mainly two types of schools recruiting foreign teachers. The documents you will need to collect depends on which type of school you will choose.

Public schools and international schools usually start the new semester in the beginning of September. If you want to work for them, you should start preparing all the paperwork before you sign a contract, especially when it’s close to the new semester start. All schools will prefer you to be there when the new  semester begins. If you want to come after getting a working visa in your country, and you haven’t gotten your documents authenticated at a Chinese Embassy, it will take 1-2 months to process and finally come. I’m afraid most schools couldn’t wait until then, mainly because their students couldn’t wait. You could come on a tourist visa first, and then apply for a working visa in China. The problem is whether you have all the necessary documents for getting a working visa. If not, I’m not sure whether you can get them done in China. As far as I know, few foreign teachers got their authenticated documents in China, they usually got them in their own countries then fly to China, just in case it couldn’t be done in China. Since 2017 April, most schools require bachelor’s degree and non-criminal record to be authenticated, and some even require TEFL authentication. Those are what most Chinese schools need. If you are determined to teach in China. You might as well get them done in advance. That will save a lot of time and easier to be accepted by schools that need teachers immediately.

Private language training centers usually don’t have a specific start date, but they need teachers any time. Anyway, it’s better to have all the documents ready before you come to China.

Here are the steps of getting your degree authenticated at a Chinese Embassy, just for your reference.

Step 1 Have your document notarized by a local notary public unless it is an original certified copy/certification issued by a competent Federal/ State/local Office.

Step 2 The document needs further to be authenticated by the Secretary of the State where it is executed. Some states require that the document be certified by the County Clerk first. For Federally issued certifications, skip this step, go directly to Step 3.

Step 3 If one of the Chinese Consulate-Generals holds consular jurisdiction (click to check our service area map) over you state, you may submit your document to that Consulate-General for final legalization; if not, please get your document authenticated by the U. S. State Department before the Chinese Embassy can finally legalize it. (Please note that your legalization application may be rejected by the Embassy/Consulate General that does not hold consular jurisdiction over the state where your document is executed.)

In conclusion, foreign teachers that have decided to come to teach in China should start the paperwork as early as possible. As long as you will come to China, those documents will be needed sooner or later. Whoever has all the paperwork will be more welcomed when the new semester is drawing near. Considering some cities don’t allow foreign teachers to apply for a working in HongKong or a third country which is not the country you are from, you also should prepare for them earlier. So before you come to teach in China, please make sure you are totally ready to come mentally and physically. Make sure you can get all of the documents without any trouble financially. It’s foreign teachers’ responsibility to get their own authenticated documents, it’s not the school’s responsibility. That’s what the Chinese government requires. That’s what the new policy requires. No one can help you do that. Hope you are aware of this and be ready to come!