A Comprehensive Guide to-5

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

Share with you friend


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:


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 that your document is a true copy of the original.


Option 1.

Notarisation is a form of legal certification which certify that a document or a signature is authentic or a true copy. It is the first step in the process of legalisation.

Option 2.

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


Your degree certificate, TEFL certificate and DBS report (Original copy)  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


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

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 
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:

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

Consular Section

Tel:020-7631 1430

Fax:020-7636 9056

Email: zj_uk@mfa.gov.cn

Close Menu