So, you’ve freshly graduated, you’re full of youthful enthusiasm and you’ve got your teaching destination planned. Then someone drops the question, “Do you have your Apostille sorted out?” and your balloon is burst! Take heart though... although it may seem daunting you can quickly learn what an apostille is, why you might need one, and how you can go about getting one:
What is an Apostille? - An apostille, or authenticating mark, is a special stamp issued by local government and is used for the authenticating a document that has been notarized.
Why do I need it? - Some countries require that all foreign documents (including educational certificates or diplomas) be authenticated before they can be accepted in that country. You will just need to verify if this is a requirment of the country you wish to work in. Many countries are part of the Hague agreement, whereby they will recoginize apostilled documents from other coutries in the agreement. Other coutries who were not part of this still may require a similar authentication but instread of calling it an apostille, it may just be called legalization. The steps you need to take are basically the same regardless of what it is called.
How do I get an Apostille? - First, your educational qualifications (TESOL certificate, or other diploma or degree) need to be notarized. A Notary Public will verify that you have genuine, true copies of your documents, and that you've made a sworn statement that these are accurate copies, and your ID will be required for this too. Next, you will need to take in person or send by mail all this to the local government office (Secretary of State in the US) along with a cover letter where you request the apostille, and mention which country you intend to use these documents.
Essentially, all the government office does is check in their records to see whether the notary public you used is valid and official. Then they affix their fancy stamp or seal... the apostille! The whole process may seem daunting, and authoritative, and it is necessary depending on where you plan to go, but ultimately, it's just silly hoops to jump though that don't prove or establish much of anything, and we'll be happy when they are a thing of the past!