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

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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 Irish public document, you have to follow the three steps outlined below:


  • Degree Certificate
  • Teacher Qualification (TEFL, TESOL, CELTA, ETC)
  • Criminal Record Report (original copy) - FYI this document must be within its six-month validity when you arrive in China. 

Step 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.

You will need to have your document notarised by a Notary public or solicitor.

Your degree certificate, TEFL certificate and Criminal Record Report (Original copy)  must be certified by either:

  • a solicitor 
  • notary public in the UK

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

  • have a valid practising certificate
  • sign the document in the Ireland
  • 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.

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

If the documents were issued by an Irish government department, you may have them legalised directly by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Ireland. 

Step 2:

Send the notarised documents to The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. 

They will then authenticate your documents to verify its origin by confirming that a signature, seal or stamp appearing on a document is genuine.

Who can authenticate documents?

In Ireland

  • The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade can only authenticate documents executed in Ireland that will be used in other countries. 
  • All documents must either be created in Ireland or show an Irish connection. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade reserves the right to refuse to authenticate any documents which we deem not to have an appropriate Irish link.
  • In the case of sworn documents, the person swearing the document before an Irish Notary Public or Solicitor must be resident in Ireland.
  • Solicitors, please note that documents signed in the name of the firm as opposed to the name of the solicitor signing the document will not be authenticated.
  • Copies of foreign Identification documents can only be authenticated if they have already been verified by the Embassy of that country accredited to Ireland.
  • All documents to be authenticated can only be authenticated if they have already been verified by the Embassy of that country accredited to Ireland.
  • All documents to be authenticated should bear an original signature, seal or stamp from an Irish practising public official or organisations.


Authenticating a document doesn’t mean that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is verifying that its contents are accurate or that the Department approves of its contents.


A document may need to be Legalised if it is for use in a country which has not acceded to the Hague ConventionLegalisation is a more complicated process in which a document must:

  1. Be authenticated by the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade in Ireland, and,
  2. Be authenticated by the diplomatic or consular mission accredited to Ireland of the country in which you wish to use the document

Applying in Ireland

Call to our offices (Dublin and Cork)

If you have a document that was created in Ireland, and that needs to be authenticated, you can call to our public offices in Dublin or Cork to make an appointment.

By post:


If you’re sending documents by registered post, include a brief covering letter giving:

  • your name
  • return address
  • telephone number
  • the name of the country the document(s) are for use in
  • the appropriate fee

Each Apostille/Authentication stamp is €40

Methods of payment

You can pay by:

  • Cash
  • Bank draft (drawn on a bank in Ireland and payable to the ‘Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’)
  • Irish Postal order
  • Credit/debit card

Cheques and Electronic Fees Transfers are not accepted.

Public Office and opening hours

A Public Office providing the services are available in the Passport Offices in Dublin and Cork.



Authentication Section
Ground Floor
Knockmaun House
42-47, Lower Mount Street
Dublin 2, D02 TN83

Tel: 01 408 2174

Opening hours

Monday – Friday (excluding bank holidays)

9:30am – 12:30pm and 2:30pm – 4:00pm

The postal address for applications will continue to be:

Authentications Section, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 80 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, D02 VY53

Postal Address

Authentication Section
Consular Division
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
80 St. Stephen’s Green
Dublin 2
D02 VY53


Consular Services Section
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
1A South Mall
T12 TA46

Tel: 021 4944765/021 4944766

Opening Hours

Monday – Friday (excluding bank holidays) 9:30-1:00 and 2:30-4:00pm

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 Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Ireland
  • passport and a photocopy of your passport

 20 Euro per document

Payment method

  • post order 
  • bank draft of AIB or Bank of Ireland

Pay on collection.

Five working days

118 Merrion Road, Dublin 4

Tel: 01-2196651

Opening Hours:

Consular and Visa Section

From 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon

Monday through Thursday (except public holidays specified below)

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