So, you need an apostille - but there's two problems.
First, you're not even sure what that word means. Apostille, not apostle. We aren't getting biblical here ;)
Second, you have little to no idea how to go and about getting said apostille. Well don't worry! This guide was made with you in mind.
Welcome to Part 3 of my comprehensive guide on how to become a teacher with English Program in Korea (EPIK). The following is a step by step guide aimed at explaining and streamlining the apostille process.
Part 1 and Part 2 of this guide were created specifically for people working towards being a TEFL teacher with English Program in Korea (EPIK); however, most all overseas jobs (especially English teaching positions) will require apostilles on various official documents. So even if you aren't in EPIK, you might find this helpful.
Your first question might be: What the hell is an apostille, anyways?
Essentially, an apostille is an official form of verification that enables a document to be used overseas - kind of like a notarization, but for international use. All it really says is that the document is valid, genuine, and not some kind of forgery knockoff.
If you are a soon-to-be EPIK teacher, and you haven't yet gotten to the apostille stage, please check out my first two posts in this serious. Part 1 is about the EPIK application process, and Part 2 is a comprehensive guide to the required pre-employment paperwork. If you're past all that and you're ready to go check out my epic EPIK packing list, and the Korea page of this site for more information on where to go, what to eat, and how to get the most out of your time in Korea.
Getting an Apostille Made Easy...
I've listed the steps for getting your Criminal Records Check (CRC) apostille first, because depending on your state this step could take a lot longer than your Diploma apostille. Before getting started, call the office of your states' Secretary of State and find out whether or not they will apostille Federal level documents - some states do it, and some don't - so make sure to check beforehand.
If they don't apostille Federal documents, then follow the steps listed directly below. However, if they do then just skip to the second section (apostille for your diploma) and follow those directions instead.
+ OBTAINING APOSTILLE FOR YOUR FBI BACKGROUND CHECK
- Check out the Federal site for information on requesting apostilles.
- Fill out this form: Requests for Authentications Service.
- Obtain a money order or personal check for $8 (Don't send cash!)
- Include a self-adressed, pre-paid envelope far return service
Mail everything - the filled out request, the payment, and the return envelope - to the address listed below:
Office of Authentications
U.S. Department of State
44132 Mercure Cir, P.O. Box 1206
+ OBTAINING AN APOSTILLE FOR YOUR DIPLOMA
- Make a copy of your diploma: Pretty easy stuff, just make sure the entire thing shows up on the copy. I would suggest making three or four just in case.
- Get the COPY notarized: Finding a notary public in your area shouldn't be too difficult. If you just google 'Notary Public (Your State/City)' you should be able to find a list without too much hassle. Most banks have them, as do some UPS stores. I found mine at the public library. Once you find the Notary, make an appointment, and go in with both your copies and the original. Only notarize the copies... not the original!!! You only need the original to prove that the copies are authentic.
- Find the Secretary of State's Office for your State
- Go to the office in person, or send in your documents by mail
- Personally, I found it easier to just drive to the office downtown. It's faster in terms of processing, and this way you can walk-in and then walk-out with everything in hand.
- Be aware most states do charge for this process, so come prepared with cash
- Remember! Get the notarized COPY of you degree apostilled, not the original
***So for your CRC you apostille the original, and for the diploma you apostille the copy. Don't mix up the two, or you'll have a lot of headaches in your future!***
- Sending your FBI Background Check to Washington for apostille should take about 1-2 weeks (so don't worry, it's not super lengthy)
- Once you have both your background check and diploma apostilled, DO NOT remove the apostille paper. Once the apostille has been stapled on, it is official. If you rip the apostille off for any reason, it is automatically invalid. You can fold around the staple if you need to make copies, but don't rip it off or you'll just have to repeat the whole process.
- Once you've reached this step, smile! You're almost there!
Have questions? Concerns? A place to rant about how annoying bureaucracy can be? Comment below or message me on Facebook! If you found this helpful (or know someone else who would) please 'share' and pass on the love :)
Enjoy the beautiful view!