Step 1 – Get your documents notarized
First up, you will need to get the copies of the following documents notarized:
- TEFL certificate
- Bachelor’s Degree
- Criminal Record Check
Please note that you will be getting a COPY of your documents notarized, authenticated and legalized. You’ll need to get the documents notarized by a Notary Public or Registrar at a High Provincial Court. Usually, this costs about USD 50. This is the only time you will need to bring your ORIGINAL documents along.
Once you have the copies notarized, you will be using these notarized copies in the following steps.
Step 2 – Authenticate your documents with South African Authorities
The notarized signature and stamp will then have to be verified by the Dept. of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa (DIRCO) for authentication. DIRCO charges R150/200 to authenticate a document.
See the DIRCO Legalization Services page, where you’ll find details on how to submit your documents, either in person, by mail, by courier or even through a friend or family member, which is a great option if you are abroad.
Regarding the above DIRCO link: it is imperative that you closely read the section related to each type of document, as the authentication process is different for every type of document.
- Bachelor Degrees gained in a South African university: the notarized document must first be authenticated by SAQA (South African Qualifications Authority) BEFORE being processed by DIRCO
- For your TEFL certificate: if the issuing authority was South African and registered with SAQA, you can go ahead and have it authenticated by them too, before forwarding to DIRCO for further authentication. However, if the certification authority is headquartered abroad, you will first need to have it legalised by the South African High Court and only then can you present it to DIRCO for authentication
- Your Criminal Background Check: this can be authenticated directly by DIRCO
Step 3 – Legalize your documents with the Chinese Embassy in South Africa
Send your documents to the nearest Chinese Embassy/Consulate, and they will legalize all the authenticated documents.
In South Africa, there is a Chinese Embassy in Pretoria and consul general offices in:
Every embassy has its own form to fill in and you’ll be asked to detail the ‘purpose’ of your document legalization. Make sure to tell them that you need the documents for your China visa application form as they’ll know how to word/sign/stamp it accordingly. Look for the Consular Legalization Page on the relevant websites – here’s the Pretoria Embassy Legalisation Page
If you’re abroad at the time you need documents authenticated, and don’t have anyone back home who could do this for you, you can also have your docs authenticated through your nearest South African Embassy/Consulate.
First though, you’ll need to send an email request to firstname.lastname@example.org