When you’re offered a job teaching English abroad, you may be asked to legalise your TEFL certificate. “Legalisation” is a way of proving to foreign governments and employers that your official documents are genuine.
Whilst it does take a bit of time, effort and money, legalisation is actually a fairly straightforward process. If you’d like to follow this process yourself, use our step-by-step guide to help you legalise your TEFL certificate. However, we always recommend Westminster Legal Services Ltd, a company who will complete all the below steps for you (much easier!). Plus, if you mention you’ve done your TEFL certificate through Westminster College London, they’ll offer you a reduced rate.
Step 1: Check where to legalise your documents
In general, you need to legalise documents in the country in which they were issued. For instance, i-to-i is based in the UK so you’ll most likely need to legalise your WCL certificate in the UK through the UK government. However, this all depends on your local embassy – they may still offer the legalisation service, but this is becoming increasingly rare. It’s up to you to check with your local embassy.
If you didn’t do your TEFL course with WCL and your TEFL certificate has been issued in another country, then you will need to get your documents legalised by the government of that country.
Step 2: Get your documents certified
Before you can get your TEFL certificate legalised, you need a solicitor or notary public to certify that it is genuine. There are notaries all over the world, so search for “notary public + your local town” to find one close to you. The notary will advise you which documents are required to certify your qualification.
Step 3: Apply to legalise your TEFL certificate
Once you’ve got your document certified, you’re ready for the legalisation process itself. As well as your TEFL certificate, you’ll usually need:
— Access to a printer
— Credit / debit card details
— Address you want your documents returned to.
When you’re ready to start, go to www.gov.uk/get-document-legalised and follow the instructions provided. Once you’ve completed the steps, you’ll need to send your certified TEFL certificate and order confirmation page to the Legalisation Office.
We highly recommend using an approved courier, such as Royal Mail’s Special Delivery Service, for both sending and returning your documents.
Step 4: Admire your apostille certificate
It usually takes between 2-10 working days for the Legalisation Office to process your documents – so you should receive your legalised TEFL certificate back within a couple of weeks.
You will find a small, embossed certificate attached on to your document. This is known as an “apostille”. It’s your proof that your TEFL certificate has been legalised.