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A Beginner’s Guide to Teaching in China: How to get your documents legalised (UK)

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Document Legalisation

The People’s Republic of China has not signed The Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents (1961) official documents are therefore required to be notarised by a notary public, Authenticated/ legalised by the FCO Legalisation Office and the Chinese Consulate or Embassy. Basically, to be able to use your documents in China you will need to legalise them before you apply for your Z Visa. 

Note: documents must be legalised in the country of issue.

To legalise a UK public document, you have to follow the three steps outlined below:

Documents:

Step 1:

You have two options, you can either contact a notary public and ask them to notorise your documents or you can contact a solicitor and ask them to certify your documents.

Option 1.

Notarisation is a form of legal certification which certify that a document or a signature is authentic or a true copy.

Option 2.

You can certify a document as a true document/ copy of the original by getting it signed and dated by a solicitor. This is the cheaper option and certified documents has been approved by the FCO in the past.

Your degree certificate (copy), TEFL certificate (copy) and DBS report (original)  must be certified by either:

  • a solicitor or notary public in the UK
  • an official of the British Council (only original certificates)

When the solicitor or notary public signs the document, they must:

  • have a valid practising certificate
  • sign the document in the UK
  • state the action they have taken e.g. witnessed, certified a copy, confirmed as original
  • use their personal signature, not a company signature
  • include the date of certification
  • include their name and company address
  • The solicitor or notary public’s signature must be an original, hand-written signature. The Chinese Embassy does not accept a photocopy or scan of a signature.

Price (certifying a document): approx. £5-10 per copy.

Note: If your document is not a UK public document please contact an international notary public for notarisation.

Step 2:

Step 2: Get your notarised UK document legalised by the FCO.

You can get a UK public document ‘legalised’ by asking the UK government to confirm that a UK public official’s signature, seal or stamp on the document is genuine.

The Legalisation Office will check the document, including whether the signature, stamp or seal is genuine. They’ll legalise the document by attaching a stamped official certificate to it.

You cannot get documents issued outside the UK legalised using this service – get them legalised in the country they were issued.

What you’ll need to use the service you’ll need:

  • the documents you want to legalise
  • a credit or debit card for payment
  • the address you want your documents returned to
  • access to a printer

Tip:

You may not find “TEFL certificate” when you use the tool provided on FCO website, you can just simply press “skip this check

The standard service costs £30 per document, plus courier fees or postage.

Courier costs

CountryPrice
UK (including British Forces Post Office)£5.50 per 1.5kg
European countries (not including Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Liechtenstein, Kazakhstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Russia, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine)£14.50 per 1.5kg
Rest of the world£25 per 1.5kg

If you do not want to pay courier fees

Your documents will be returned by courier but if you’re in the UK you can have them returned by post. You must include an A4-sized envelope with the return address written on it. Attach enough UK postage stamps to cover the return postage.

It normally takes 2 working days to process your documents using the standard service, plus courier or postage time.

It takes up to 5 working days during the peak period from March to August.

Premium same-day business service

The premium same-day business service is for registered businesses only and costs £75 per document.

Documents must be taken to and collected from the premium office in central London.

Contact the Legalisation Office if you need help with your application.

Legalisation Office 
legalisationenquiries@fco.gov.uk 
Telephone: 03700 00 22 44
Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm

Step 3:

After completing step one and two, please submit your documents to the Embassy or Consulate of the People’s Republic of China for legalisation.

Documents needed:

  • a completed application form
  • original copies and photocopies of your documents legalised by the FCO
  • passport and a photocopy of your passport
  • No appointment is needed for legalisation service
  • Postal application cannot be processed, the legalised documents cannot be returned by post either.

Civil Affairs – £17 per document

Express Service – £15 per document

You pay on collection. 

Standard service: collectable on the fourth working day;

Express service: collectable on the third working day and an express fee will be charged.

General Line: 020-72994049

Website: www.chinese-embassy.org.uk

Consular Section

Legalization Office of the Chinese Embassy

Office Hours: 9:00am-12:00 noon (Monday-Friday,Except British and Chinese holidays)

Address:31 Portland Place,London,W1B 1QD,London,W1B 1QD

Tel: 020-7631 1430 (09:00am-12:00 noon and 2:00pm-4:00pm by operator,during the rest of the day by auto-attendant)

Fax:020 -7636 9056

E-mail: zj_uk@mfa.gov.cn

Manchester

Address:38A Schuster Road, Manchester  M14 5PE, United Kingdom 
Office Hours: 09:00–12:00 hrs (Monday to Friday, Except public holidays)
Tel: 0161-224-8672 (14:00–16:30 hrs Monday to Friday, Except public holidays)
Fax: 0161-257-2672
Edinburgh

Office Hours and Holiday Schedule

The office hours of the Consular Office are: Tuesday & Thursday  9:00am-12:00pm, 2:00pm-4:00pm except the Chinese and British public holidays. )

Addressand Location: 

55 Corstorphine Road. Edinburgh EH12 5QG 

ApplicationOffice: The main entrance of the Application Office is located at the backyard of the Consulate.

Belfast

Working Hours:9:00am-12:00am (Every Tuesday and Thursday, except Chinese and British holidays)

Address: 75-77 Malone Road, Belfast, BT9 6SH (No Parking Spaces for Consular Visitors)

Tel: 028-90682499-8028 (9:00am-12:00am & 2:00pm-4:00pm, Monday, Wednesday and Friday)

Fax: 028-95214870 

Email :visainfo2018cn@gmail.com

Important!

The Embassy of the People’s Republic of China:

“In order to provide better consular legalization application services, as of 8th November 2019, the consular legalization applications of British citizens as well as third-country citizens should be submitted to the Chinese Visa Application Service Center (CVASC).”

If you submit your documents for legalisation on or after the 8th of November please use the instructions below.

Application submission : 9am to 3pm, Monday to Friday exc. holidays

Collection: 9am to 4pm, Monday to Friday exc. holidays

From the 8th of November the Chinese Embassy and Consulates require all legalization application forms be filled in on the computer. Handwritten forms will no longer be accepted.

An appointment must be booked before you come to the Visa Centre to submit your application. The Centre can’t accept any application without an appointment.

How to make an appointment? – click here!

Fees: The CVASC will charge consular legalization fees on behalf of the Embassy and Consulates. Extra service fees will also be charged. For more information, please visit the official websites of CVASC or inquire via telephone, email or fax.

More information here!

Payment will be made at the time of application.

Processing time: Please allow a minimum of 4 working days after submission for standard consular legalization applications,and a minimum of 3 working days for fast track service where extra fees will be charged.

*The consular officer has the right to require the applicant to provide other proof documents, supplementary materials, or to have an interview at the Embassy. Therefore the processing time may be longer than service time which are listed above.

** If the applicant requests to have the passport returned by post while lodging the application at the counter, the service time will be 5-10 working days exclusive Royal Mail post time.

The detailed arrangements are as follows:

Contact details for the CVASC

London Visa Center:

Address: 12 Old Jewry, London, EC2R 8DU

Tel: 02077767888

Fax: 02077106001

Email: ukcentre@visaforchina.org

Official website: http://www.visaforchina.org

Manchester Visa Center:

Address: 71 Mosley Street, Manchester, M2 3HR

Tel: 01612361070

Fax: 01612445883

Email: manchestercentre@visaforchina.org

Official website: http://www.visaforchina.org

Edinburgh Visa Center:

Address: Exchange Tower,19 Canning Street, City of Edinburgh, EH3 8EG

Tel: 01312292519

Fax: 01312291598

Email: edinburghcentre@visaforchina.org

Official website: http://www.visaforchina.org

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