What Documents Do You Need for International Teaching?

When you apply for an international teaching position, there’s always a lot of paperwork to do. It’s important to have all the documents you will need to teach overseas saved on your computer and ready to present if and when required.  In addition to the standard documents you submit before the interview, there’s still more paperwork to be done. You still need to apply for a working visa. First of all you want to make the process of hiring you, checking your credentials and references, easy. Secondly you will want to ensure the work visa application goes as quickly and smoothly as possible.

Although school requirements vary, here are the basics of what you will need.

Application Package for International Teaching:

You should have the following documents (and scanned copies of each) ready to submit to schools and recruiters:

  • Your CV – Make sure your CV is up to date and current. For tips on writing a great teacher’s CV click HERE
  • A Cover Letter – Be sure to tailor each Cover Letter to the school and teaching job you’re applying to. Click HERE to learn more about writing an effective Cover Letter.
  • Reference Letters – You should have two or three Reference Letters, from recent teaching jobs ready to share with schools. 
  • Referees – It is also important to have the names and contact details of a few strong referees that you can pass to the school or recruiter. Many schools will want to contact your referees directly, by email or phone. Make sure all your referees are current, that they know you may be exploring new teaching opportunities. Ask them if they are willing to provide you with a strong referral in a timely manner.
  • University Degrees, Teaching Certificates and / or Teaching Licences and in some cases your University Transcripts – Most International Schools require teachers to hold a PGCE or Bachelor of Education. Language Schools or Training Schools will usually accept a Bachelor Degree combined with a TEFL Certificate.
  • A copy of your Passport information page.
  • Photo – If your passport photo isn’t the most flattering, you may want to submit a separate color photo (head and shoulders only) with your application package.
  • A current Police Clearance / Police Check – typically obtaining a police check can take weeks, sometimes months. So if you are thinking about an international teaching job in the future, be sure to start the Police Check application process right away.
  • A Medical Form or Declaration – Normally your school will provide you with a form to be filled out by your doctor.  Most reputable schools will reimburse any cost associated.

Formatting Your Documents:

Save everything as separate documents rather than as one large file. Label each file clearly and consistently – e.g., ‘Last Name, First Name – Name Of Document’. Save them in PDF format and keep each file smaller than 3mb. Degrees, passport and licences should be scanned in color. Avoid submitting photos or jpegs of your documents.  Above all if the school specifies a certain file format and naming system, follow that exactly.

The Visa Application:

Work Visa application requirements for international teaching jobs differ by country. In most cases you will need most of the documents above, and they will need to be authenticated. You should receive detailed instructions on the process from your school and the local embassy or consulate of the country you will be seeking a working visa for.

Visa Application in China:

China has its own documentation authentication procedures that differ from all other countries in the world.  Even if you have already had your degrees authenticated by a lawyer or notarized by a government agency, you will still be required to go through the authentication procedures laid out by your local Chinese embassy or consulate. It can be a long, expensive process.

In China you have to process your visa application from your country of citizenship (the country where your passport was issued). If you’re not currently living in your country of citizenship, you can ask a helpful family member or friend to assist. You can also choose to hire an agency to manage the entire process for you.  Your school will clarify whether you can apply from the country you are living in now or if you must be in the country where your passport was issued.  There are costs to this process and most International Schools will reimburse these fees.

Prepare Your Documents in Advance:

The paperwork, application process and visa requirements for international teaching can be complicated and time consuming. The process is easier when you are prepared and organized. Remember to always try and make it easy on the person reviewing your details or processing application.  You always want to reduce and remove any obstacles to hiring you. When you are able to submit your documents on time and in order, it helps to make the decision to hire you easier . In addition your visa will be approved in a timely manner and before you know it you will be starting your new adventure!

Find high-quality international teaching jobs HEREor email teachers@byronrecruitment.com.

By Susan Swier and Jeff Baggs

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