Teach English in Taiwan – Guide to TEFL certificate legalisation

If you've decided to teach English in Taiwan, you'll likely have been asked to legalise your documents for a work permit. In this article, we will talk about the process of legalisation and attempt to demystify this complex procedure.

In this article

What We’ll Cover

  • What the term legalisation means

  • How to legalise documents for use in Taiwan

  • What supporting documents are required

  • How to find out which documents to get legalised

What is legalisation?

So you’ve chosen Taiwan as your destination of choice to teach ESL. You’ve got your TEFL certificate and other documents, then you find out you need to “legalise” them for your work permit. A whole new and complicated world of paperwork opens before you and you have no idea where to start!

I’ll break down just what legalisation means, how to get it done and what you need to be wary of.

The process of legalisation, also known as “authentication” or “attestation”, takes documents from one country and makes them legally recognised in another. This can include anything from a single stage, up to 6 stages, dependent on many factors. It’s dependent on the document type, where it was issued, what you’re going to use it for and where you’re presenting it, to name just a few.

The main concept of legalising a document can be simply split into 3 main stages:

  • Legalisation by the government of the country of issue
  • Legalisation by the government of the destination country in the country of issue
  • Verification stages in the destination country
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Taiwanese Legalisation Cover

For example, if you have a UK-issued TEFL certificate and wish to present it in Taiwan, it would need to be certified by a recognised UK solicitor, Apostilled by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and then stamped by the Taiwanese Embassy in London. This must all happen in the UK, before having everything finalised when you reach Taiwan by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA).

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It’s important to note that documents must always be processed in their country of issue. If you have paperwork issued in the UK, it will need to be returned there for legalisation to take place. It can be be done overseas, even at a UK Embassy in a foreign country.

As straightforward as this seems, no two processes are the same. Each country has a unique procedure, so how things work could be dramatically different from one country to the next. If you are handling these processes yourself, it’s imperative that you figure out the requirements based on your own personal circumstances. No two situations are the same, and therefore using an experienced agent can be a real time and money saver.

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How do I get my documents legalised to teach English in Taiwan?

The legalisation process for Taiwan will depend on the document type, as well as the country of issue. In this article, we are dealing with UK documents only, so please be aware that this process will differ if your documents were issued elsewhere.

All education documents for Taiwan must be verified by a solicitor or Notary Public before it can be processed for legalisation. The solicitor or Notary must contact the awarding institution and verify the award is genuine, as well as the details on the certificate itself. They must then make a statement to this effect on the certified copy of the certificate which will then be sent for legalisation.

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Taiwanese Application Form

As well as your documents, you must also submit an official application form and a colour photocopy of the data page (photo page) of your passport. This must be a clear copy and your passport must be valid at the time of submission. Please note that the signature on your application form must be a wet signature, you can not submit a photocopy of the form after you have signed it.

If you are having a third party submitting your documents for you, you must produce a Letter of Authorisation. This gives permission for someone else to lodge your documents with the Embassy on your behalf. You must sign this document and have it witnessed by a UK solicitor or Notary Public, or if you’re outside the UK, at your local ROC Embassy or Mission. This is required for it to be accepted by the Embassy.

Document list:

  • Original personal documents (birth, marriage and police clearance) or verified copies (education documents)
  • Application form with signature, which must match signature on the applicant’s passport
  • High quality colour photocopy of the applicant’s passport
  • Authorisation letter signed by the applicant in the presence of the solicitor (if not submitting yourself)
  • Agent’s valid passport (if not submitting yourself)

There are 2 Taiwanese Embassies currently in the UK and if you are having an education document legalised, which office you submit to will depend on where your award was issued. One office is in London and the other is located in Edinburgh.

The map below shows which Embassy will deal with the college or university awards in each respective area.

For universities in the South of the country, documents are processed in London. This includes South of Durham and Cumbria, as well as dependencies including Guernsey and Jersey, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, the Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Northern Ireland, and Seychelles. 

Documents issued from Northern Britain, which covers North of Durham, Cumbria, Scotland and the Isle of Man should be sent to the Edinburgh Office for authentication.

Documents issued in the Republic Of Ireland will be processed at the Taiwanese Embassy in Dublin after the Department of Foreign Affairs have Apostilled the document.

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Which documents do I need to get legalised for a TEFL job?

The documents you need to submit will depend on your employer. Whilst there are minimum document requirements, certain job roles could ask for additional paperwork so it’s extremely important that you find out the exact documents you need at the start.

If you are having your documents legalised for any other purpose, we strongly recommend you get a specific document list from whomever has requested the documents and who you will be presenting them to in Taiwan.

If you have the wrong documents legalised, or are missing something you require, this could cause significant delays and possibly a loss in fees.

Can I get help with the process of legalisation for Taiwan?

We know that this can be both an exciting and stressful time, but we are here to put your mind at rest. We will check over your documents before submission as well as answer any questions you may have about the process.

Whether you’re getting ready to travel out to Taiwan, or are already in-country and are looking for employment, we offer unrivalled support, convenience and excellent value. You don’t have to travel to complete any of the stages: we can complete everything for you and return them via secure courier as quickly as possible.

Get in touch today to speak to our friendly team via our live chat system, give us a call on 0330 088 1142 or send us a text message via WhatsApp.

key takeaways

Key Takeaways

Although Taiwanese legalisation is one of the more complex processes, as long as you plan ahead and ensure you collect all of the supporting documents you will need, it can be stress-free. Double check the document list and complete all forms fully before submitting them to avoid any delays, and if you’re still not confident in handling it yourself, our friendly team of specialists are here to help.

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Melanie Clarke
Melanie is a Digital Marketer and TEFL Specialist at Vital Consular. Before taking up a Marketing role, she spent 3 years building up a rich knowledge of global legalisation processes on the operations team. When she's not working, Melanie enjoys attending music events and pursuing many creative interests including screen printing and merchandise design.
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