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Jun 10th, 2024 by David O Connor

China Visa Application – Authenticating Documents in Ireland

Authenticate documents in Ireland for China Visa

Authenticating documents in Ireland is something you must do just before applying for a China Z Visa.

The Z visa is the only one that allows you to teach and live in China legally.

So, what is document authentication?

Authentication is the term used to describe legalizing documents issued by an Irish entity. Essentially, a stamp (authentication) or certificate (apostille) guarantees the paper is legit. Authentication tells the Chinese government that the document has been vetted and deemed trustworthy. When you authenticate your university degree, for example, it tells China that your degree is legitimate and not something you created on Paint.

How do you get all this done? 

Read on and find out!

Documents you need authenticated in Ireland for your China Visa application?

First, you’ll want to gather the documents you need for your application.

They are:

  1. Online Visa Application Form – You must do this online and print it out.
  2. Your passport – with at least six months of validity left
  3. A copy of your passport
  4. TEFL Certificate
  5. Criminal Background Check
  6. Bachelor Degree
  7.  Job Invitation Letter – Provided by your school
  8. Work Permit Notice – Provided by your school


Naturally, you don’t need ALL the above authenticate – only ones issued by a separate entity. Basically:

  • A copy of your passport
  • You TEFL certificate
  • Your Bachelor’s Degree
  • Your Criminal Background Check

Once you have these docs ready, it’s time to find a Public Notary.

STEP 1 – Get your documents notarized

For many, this is a step that can be skipped. Notarisation is only required for non-state-issued documents or copies of existing original documents. The original documents issued by state bodies such as educational institutions and the Gardai (Irish police) are notarised when issued.

For those who need the services of a notary, read on….

Public Notary is an authorized government representative who makes copies of your original and verifies them as ‘true copies.’ They do this by stamping and signing them.

Here is a complete list of authorized public notaries in Ireland. Select your area from the drop-down menu at the top and find one close to you. Alternatively, you can visit your local solicitor and ask if they provide notary services.

If you are abroad, you must contact your nearest Irish Embassy/Consulate, where an authorized Public Notary will work. It is important to note that the Public Notary needs to be from the country where the document is from. For example, an Australian Public Notary can’t notarize your Irish document, even if you are Australian or happen to be in Australia. If your document was issued in Ireland, you need an Irish Notary Public!

Irish Document = Irish Public Notary

Public Notaries usually charge about €15-20 per document, although the fee may be higher if you need to do it at an embassy abroad.

STEP 2 – Get your documents authenticated by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is responsible for authenticating documents.

Authentication VS Apostille

When legalizing documents in Ireland, you have two options: authentication or apostille. You must request authentication because the apostille is part of the Hague Convention Treaty of 1963, which China does not recognize. So, remember: you need your police certificate to be authenticated, not apostilled. The Department of Foreign affairs has a dedicated  Legalization Office

What you need to gather:

  • The document(s) you need authenticating – ensure you have all your China visa-related documents to save on time and/or courier fees.
  • A cover letter detailing why you need authentication (China work visa). The letter should also include your name, address, contact number, email, and return address.

Fees: The Department charges €40 per document for authentication (return postage included.) Payment can be made by bank draft, postal order, credit/debit card, or another method. If paying by credit/debit card, they will contact you at the number you provide, so make sure it’s current. Bank drafts and postal orders should be made payable to the Department of Foreign Affairs: no cash or Amex.


Here, you have three options:

  • in person,
  • by courier mail,
  • drop off in person and pick up later–or return by mail.

Authenticating documents in Ireland

Walk-ins are accepted at the Cork and Dublin offices on a restricted timeline. Check for details on the Legalization Office link above. You can have your documents back within half an hour instead of seven days (if you opt for a courier mail-in service). This is the fastest way to authenticate documents in Ireland.

If you are near one of the two offices but cannot visit during their authentication service hours, you can drop off your documents, cover letter, and payment in person at some other time. Then, either come back to pick them up when advised – or have the lot returned to you by mail.

What to do if you are abroad and need documents authenticated in Ireland?

If you happen to be living abroad and need to have your documents authenticated in Ireland, you can also use the services of a legalization agency. These agencies can act on your behalf and gather all the necessary stamps and signatures. Yes, it will cost you a little more, but it’s convenient and will save you time.

is one of several well-rated agencies.

When authenticating your documents in Ireland, it’s essential to clearly explain what they will be used for. For teaching, it’s for the China Working Visa. The department knows the Chinese government’s requirements, so they’ll use the correct wording/stamps/signatures. You will probably be asked why you need the docs authenticated, but if not, don’t forget to mention it!

Since China adopted the Apostille Convention, there are no more steps to take. Once you have all your documents gathered and authenticated, you can send all the info to your employer. Your employer should have previous experience with Z visa and thus promptly begin your China teaching visa application.

Keen to see what else China has in store for you? Read our comprehensive Guide to Teaching in China, check out the latest teaching jobs on offer and contact us if you’d love some help in finding your dream job in this sensational country.

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David O Connor

David O Connor

David is China by Teaching’s chief contributor. When not offering sage advice about teaching in China, David is a headmaster of a Bilingual kindergarten in Beijing. David is a lover of craft beers, book clubs and super long road trips.

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