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

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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 Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) of South Africa 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 South African public documents, you have to follow the three steps outlined below:



Degree certificate

Your bachelor’s degree needs to be authenticated/ certified by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET)


The process varies slightly depending on from which institution you obtained your qualifications:

Your TEFL certificate will need to be notarised by a notary public and in some instances, authorised by the South African High Court

Or authenticated/ certified by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET)

Police Clearance Certificate

Your police clearance certificate does not need to be notarised. Please proceed to step 2.

Department of Basic Education (DBE) and/or Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET):

Tel:  (012) 312-5911 (switchboard)

Or alternative numbers:  (012) 312-5444 / 5254 / 5260 / 6334 / 5481 or 5184

Fax:  (012) 324-6343

E-mail: registrarphei@dhet.gov.za  
Website: www.dhet.gov.za 

Tel:  (012) 312-6207 / 5201 / 5220 / 5246 / 5294 or 5298

Fax:  (012) 321-1788

E-mail: twala.w@dhet.gov.za  

Website: www.dhet.gov.za

Tel:  (012) 357-3900 / 3255 / 3250 / 3256 (Mr John Makgoka:  Supervisor:  Certification Unit)

Fax:  (012) 328-6878 or 323-0603

E-mail: nene.t@dbe.gov.za  

Website: www.education.gov.za

Tel:  (012) 312-5760 / 5752 / 5755

E-mail: devilliers.p@dhet.gov.za

Tel:  (012) 312-5352 / 5188

Fax:  (012) 323-6589

E-mail: loots.m@dhet.gov.za 

Website: www.dhet.gov.za

Tertiary Qualifications will need to be verified by SAQA

Step 2:

Step 2: Get your documents legalised by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO).

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

How to submit documentation to the Legalisation Section

Documents can be submitted to the Legalisation Section by one of the following means:

  • Option 1:  Submission in person

  • Option 2:  Submission via a courier service

  • Option 3:  Submission by registered mail

Click the button for more information!

The Legalisation Section currently does not charge for the processing of documents.

The following processing times will be implemented with effect from Thursday, 11 October 2018:

Processing of documents where 1 to a maximum of 5 documents are received between public hours i.e. 08:30 to 12:30Collection next working day (during public hours)
Processing of 6 – 19 documents received between public hours i.e. 08:30 to 12:30

Three (3) working days (during public hours)

Processing of 20 or more documents received between public hours i.e. 08:30 to 12:30

Five (5) working days (during public hours).

Signature verification: Contact signatory of the document whose signature is required to be verified.

Note: It is regretted that the Legalisation Section is not able to provide an undertaking as to how long it will take the signatory to forward their specimen signature to the Legalisation Section.

Depending on response from the relevant Department / Institution.
Please take note: The Legalisation Section to keep documents not collected by customers, before destroying the documentation..Six (6) months.

Physical Address

Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO)
Attention: Legalisation Section, NE2A-Ground Floor
OR Tambo Building
460 Soutpansberg Road

Postal Address 
Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO)
Attention: Legalisation Section
Private Bag X152

Tel:  Contact the staff within the Legalisation Section directly:

Ms M Aspeling – Assistant Director – (012) 351-1232
Ms P J Ehlers – (012) 351-1269
Ms G J Grové – (012) 351-1231
Ms V K van Heerden – (012) 351-1717
Ms S Nkonyeni – (012) 351-0595
Ms M Botes – (012) 351-0033
Ms N P Qakaza-Moyakhe – (012) 351-1490
Ms T Mhlungulwana
 – (012) 351-1268
Ms K Maja – (012) 351-0775

Fax: (012) 329-1018

E-mail: legalisation@dirco.gov.za

Note:  As the Legalisation Section receives a high volume of incoming calls pertaining to general enquiries, it is therefore recommended that you forward your enquiry via e-mail to legalisation@dirco.gov.za, as to ensure that you are able to receive the relevant assistance and guidance in writing from the Legalisation Section.

Step 3:

Documents needed:

Application fee: R250 for 1 civil document

Cash payment is not accepted

four working days

Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the Republic of South Africa

972 Pretorius Street, Arcadia 0083, Pretoria, South Africa Tel: 0027-12-4316500 Fax: +27-12-3424244

E-mail: reception@chinese-embassy.org.za

Consulate-General of the people’s Republic of China in Cape Town

25 Rhodes Ave. Newlands, Cape Town 7700, South Africa

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