Necessary Documents: Working Through the Red Tape

Getting all of the necessary stamps of approval can be tough! photo cred

Getting all of the necessary stamps of approval can be tough! photo cred 

One part of international teaching that I heartily dislike is visa paperwork! There are so many hoops and red tape that need to be navigated through that I decided to write a post about it since I am going through the process yet again!

When you are an international teacher it is best to keep all of your original documents close by. Not only are the originals sometimes necessary to show to employers, but also if you do need to make a copy of something to keep on file, it is best to do so from the original.  It is difficult to produce documents if they are at home with your parents!

Not only is it best to have the originals, but you should also keep scans of all of your originals in a file on your computer (or on Dropbox) because many of the documents will be requested before you can give them to schools in person.

Also, many foreign countries will require you to have documents authenticated (AKA apostilled). To do this, you need to take copies (my new school requires two apostilled copies of everything!) of your documents to a notary, certify that they are an authentic and real copy, and then you either mail or take them personally to the state capital to have them officially apostilled.

I usually get my documents notarized for free in my local bank where I hold and account. Then I drive down to the state capital and pay $10 per copy that needs to be apostilled.

These are the documents that are frequently apostilled:

  1. Master degree
  2. Bachelor degree
  3. Teaching License
  4. Birth Certificate
  5. Marriage License (if that applies)

Some other documents that you should also have on hand:

  1. Passport
  2. Social Security Card
  3. Official sealed transcripts from all universities attended
  4. Copies of all letters of recommendation
  5. Letter from a physician saying you are in good health
  6. A professional looking headshot of yourself (not a doc but frequently requested)
  7. Criminal history check (not sure if you can open and scan it without it becoming invalid for visa purposes)

Again, it is nice to have originals for all of these, scans of all of them, and certified apostilled copies of all of them (sometimes two apostilled copies of each will be requested).

These are just documents that schools have requested that I produce on numerous occasions. Every school is different (even schools in the same country!). Remember also, that while it will be helpful to have these documents on hand, that schools will often reimburse you if you keep a receipt for any costs involved in producing these documents.


Did I forget any documents? Have you received any weird requests from schools?


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