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What do I need to be wary of when legalising a TEFL certificate for Thailand?

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Whether you’ve just completed your TEFL course and you’re wondering what the next step is, or you’re only just planning to start your new journey, being aware of the paperwork requirements can be crucial to your success in finding employment.

If you don’t plan ahead, you could easily fall foul of a whole host of pitfalls when it comes to obtaining your overseas work visa.

I’m Melanie and I work as the TEFL Legalisation Specialist for Vital Consular. I’m here to give you the lowdown on the processes involved in moving overseas for your first TEFL position and how you can make things as easy and stress-free as possible.

What is legalisation and why do I need it?

Dependent upon where you are in your journey, you may or may not have come across this term. It can be also known as attestation, verification or authentication. These terms tend to vary from country to country, but all essentially refer to the same concept.

If you have a document issued in one country and wish to present it for official purposes in a different country, it will need to be checked for authenticity. This will involve several stages of checks and stamps from the relevant authorities within the document’s issuing country, which is known as legalisation.

This is to aid the officials in your destination country feel confident in the validity of the document, having seen the original government stamps applied directly to it.

There are many reasons you may require documents to be legalised, but the most common one is the application process for a work permit or resident visa overseas. These usually require several documents to be presented, many of which will need to have been legalised before being accepted.

The steps involved for legalisation will rest on several factors, including but not limited to:

  • The country of issue
  • The document type
  • The length of the document
  • The language of the document
  • The destination where it is to be presented
  • The purpose of legalisation

As each country has their own unique guidelines, both for documents leaving and coming into their jurisdiction, things get confusing very quickly. Especially if you’ve never had to deal with anything like this before.

In order to decipher which stages you’ll need for your individual circumstances, you will need to consider each of the above points individually. This will ensure you don’t miss anything out, or complete things in the wrong order.

Should things not be done right, this could cause rejection, leading to lost time and money when you just want to get things done and dusted.

How is a TEFL certificate legalised for Thailand?

As an example we will look at legalising a UK-issued education award for use in Thailand. We will use a TEFL certificate for this purpose, as that is likely what you’ll be requiring if you’re reading this blog!

Since 2018, the Thai government has introduced more stringent requirements for paperwork presented for visa purposes in the country. The legalisation process is now usually requested for all work visa requests.

To process a UK-issued TEFL certificate, you will need to:

  • Have a solicitor- certified copy made of the original
  • Have an Apostille applied by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO)
  • Request a consular stamp from the Thai Embassy in London

This is an overview of the fundamental steps of legalisation in this individual case, which must be completed in this order. There are, however, many things to be wary of to ensure your document meets the criteria set by each office you deal with.

For example, you will need to check whether your chosen solicitor is FCDO recognised and has their signature on their database, otherwise there will be a delay whilst this is obtained, verified and then re-processed. You will also need to make sure the certification contains all the correct information in order to be recognised and have the Apostille applied.

What do I need to be wary of when legalising a TEFL certificate?

When your TEFL certificate does reach the FCDO, it will be subject to their rigorous checks. The TEFL provider, as well as the certificate itself, will need to meet a list of criteria to be recognised by the UK government and receive an Apostille. If either falls short of the requirements, you could be left out of pocket, with the prospect of having to take a whole new course from scratch.

This has caused a host of problems in recent times, due to the amount of new providers issuing certificates without fully understanding requirements of using a document overseas. We have received countless unrecognised certificates from customers who’ve had the bad news that their certificate is not fit for purpose.

To tackle this issue, Vital Consular has created a list of verified UK TEFL providers who issue certificates guaranteed to be accepted by the FCDO. TEFL UK is a proud member of this list and has passed all the independent checks required, so you can be confident that by studying any of their courses, you won’t face any issues presenting your award overseas.

How can I get help with the legalisation process?

Wherever you are, and wherever you’re going to, Vital Consular can help have your documents legalised. We understand the process can be complicated when there’s no set formula; that’s why our friendly team of specialists are here to listen to your situation and determine the correct service for you.

Get in touch with our TEFL legalisation specialist, Emma Thompson, on 0330 088 1142 or [email protected] to discuss your documents and which processes you'll require.

As we are the UK specialist in handling TEFL certificates, you can feel confident in having us handle your legalisation for you. We even offer a 100% acceptance guarantee!