Learn Chinese in China
tooironic

urgent visa help - authentication of diploma for work permit in China

40 posts in this topic

I am currently gathering the documents needed to apply for a teaching position at a university in Beijing. I have run into a significant problem, and was wondering if anyone here could advise me.

 

To be a foreign teacher at a university in China you need to supply about a dozen different documents. One of them is the "copy of diploma" which "should be authenticated by a Chinese embassy" (最高学位证书(中外文)需要由中国驻本国大使馆认证).

 

My situation: I am on the last semester of my second Master's at Xiamen University. I haven't got my diploma as I haven't graduated yet. I have the diploma for my first Master's and Bachelor's - both from Australian universities. However, the Australian consulate in Guangzhou has informed me that I would need to go back to Australia to get these authenticated - and the notary offices I visited in Xiamen said they couldn't help me either.

 

My question is: if I submit an official letter from Xiamen University - or an academic transcript, something with the school's official seal on it - would that meet the requirements to apply for the work permit? My American friend who went through a similar thing last year was able to do that - however the secretary at the university I am applying to work at said the policy has changed and that may not be possible this time. She has enquired with the relevant department twice already, but when I pressed her for a definite answer, she was unable to confirm whether a Xiamen Uni document would suffice. She said she would ask again this week, but I am starting to worry that, even if I do make the application, it will be denied.

 

It is not possible for me to return to Australia at the moment, as I am busy with my graduate thesis. I will fly back in July, however the uni told me it would be too late by then to apply for the work permit.

 

Any advice you could provide would be much appreciated. Thanks.

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2 hours ago, tooironic said:

However, the Australian consulate in Guangzhou has informed me that I would need to go back to Australia to get these authenticated

Is is possible to post them back to Australia and get a friend or family member to take them in to be authenticated?

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I just received official confirmation from the university in Beijing - a certificate from Xiamen University in lieu of a diploma upon graduation will not suffice. So it seems the rules for the work permit are indeed getting stricter. I will have to get my diploma authenticated. The question now is whether the embassy in Melbourne will accept an Award Verification (electronic printout), or an original diploma only. I will give the consulate a call tomorrow morning (closed now). If they only accept the original diploma I will have to post it back to Australia per imron's suggestion. I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks.

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If you just have your plain old diploma, the Chinese embassy isn't going to authenticate it alone: they don't recognise your university's seal and signatures. You need a chain of authentications leading to an official government seal and signature the embassy recognises.

 

I don't know about Australia, but in most countries there are document service companies which know the ropes and get this rigamarole done for you.

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Thanks for the heads up 889. I will ask the Chinese consulate about this tomorrow.

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Update: I have confirmed at the Chinese consulate in Melbourne what I need to do. They said because I have my original university diploma I don't need to go to a notary public - I just need to get it authenticated at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), and then authenticated again at the Chinese consulate. All up, that'll cost me over $100 AUD in fees, plus I need to send it all back to China by express. Thankfully, I have a friend in Melbourne who can help me do all this on my behalf. The Chinese consulate also required that I send over my passport. It's a risk obviously, but I don't have any choice, since I can't be in Melbourne in person. Thanks guys for your help. I'll let you know how it goes, in case anyone else finds themselves in a similar situation and are as confused how I was. 889 was right - it really is all about needing "a chain of authentications leading to an official government seal and signature the embassy recognises".

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Hope it works out.

 

If you can find the time, I'd be interested in a post detailing your experience studying a masters in China and how it did or didn't live up to expectations. 

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Yep, I'm planning on writing something up after I finish my graduate thesis. I can also do a post on living in Xiamen and studying at XiaDa in general.

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Just in case someone else happens upon this thread, I had to get my Master's degree notarized and authenticated back in the US for a new job I'm starting in Shanghai. I have my original diploma, but I would have had to go back to the US as well. American universities do re-issue diplomas and most registrar's office also have notaries. I contacted my alma mater to have them re-issue and notarize it. 

Then in the state I attended my MA degree, I had to have the Secretary of State (Ohio in my case) verify it and then it has to go to a Chinese consulate to be checked out. Since I'm living in China now and don't have family in the state where it needs to get done I'm working with mychinavisa.com. This is going to run me a fair bit, but it gets things done so I can get my new work permit and residency visa before I head back to the US for the summer. It's a hassle, but the new job is better and I'm excited about returning to Shanghai.

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Update: I finally got my authenticated Master's diploma back from Melbourne. I have express-posted it to the university in Beijing, along with all the other documents. One potential problem is the authentication certificate; the Chinese consulate stuck it on the back of my original Master's diploma, in the same way as the Department of Foreign Affairs did for their authentication. The secretary at the university said this may be a problem as the Chinese government will hang on to all the documentation provided for the work permit application. This process really has been one headache after another. Can you believe I may not have no choice but to let them take my original Master's degree...! I'll keep you posted.

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Another update for those interested: The secretary from the university in Beijing has received all the documents required to apply for the work permit. But... of course... there's a problem. The (ridiculously overpriced) physical examination I did in Xiamen is invalid (不合格). Funny, considering I used the same health organisation that I did when applying for my residency permit! The secretary informs me that the government will only accept a physical examination undertaken in a specified place in Beijing or at a Chinese consulate in Australia. Can you believe this? She said she will get official confirmation for me by Thursday, but I doubt it will do any good. Considering my flight back to Australia is not until July, I think I may have to fly up to Beijing in the coming weeks and get everything sorted there, then fly back to Xiamen. More money wasted, of course, but I have no Plan B. On a side note, I discovered that the list of documents she supplied me originally was something that she just wrote up herself! There is no actual official document stating all the documentation required for a work permit, and the policy is constantly changing, especially Beijing. Suffice to say, it's been a long and stressful process, and I haven't even put in the application for the permit, let alone the visa! Let this be a warning to any foreigner out there who is thinking about applying to work in China.

 

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Good news: Just got off the phone with the secretary in Beijing. After speaking to the government, she has confirmed that the physical examination I did in Xiamen can be used for the work permit application. This means I won't have to fly all the way up to Beijing just to do another one. They also said that they will photocopy my original, authenticated Master's diploma, and keep a copy for their records, so I won't have to surrender the original document to them.

 

Not-so-good news: The government has said that they can't accept the criminal record check that I did in Xiamen that applies for the past three years living in China, as I will be applying for the visa in Australia. Saying that now sounds perfectly reasonable, but when I was first made enquiries at the school I was told that the Chinese criminal record check would suffice, and so I paid to have it done accordingly. Now I will need to apply for a criminal record check from the Australian federal government, which will take a while to process. The secretary assures me that I have plenty of time; in fact, there are many other foreign teachers applying for the work permit who are much more behind than me. She said that recently the government decided to make Beijing a "model" for other cities to follow when it comes to work permit applications, and so they made the requirements particularly strict. Again, that sounds reasonable, but the schools in Beijing don't receive any written notice outlining the specific changes in the policy, so each time the secretary is uncertain about something, she has to go down to the office in person, queue up and ask. I feel bad for her, as she is responsible for helping over 50 people apply for work permits in a system that is incredibly complicated and rules that are extremely unclear.

 

Current status: The secretary has already express-posted my work contract. Now I just need to get this Australian criminal record check done, get my friend to have it authenticated by the Chinese consulate in Melbourne, and I can officially apply for the work permit. Originally I was under the impression that I would have to get the work permit approved before going back to Australia in July, but it turns out that even if I get it a bit late it doesn't matter as they can issue it to the applicant even if s/he is overseas. This is a big relief for me as I thought that maybe I wouldn't make it in time, but the secretary reassured me that I've still got plenty of time. :)

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Good luck.

 

Out of curiosity, what will you be teaching?

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Just out of curiosity too -- we're a very curious bunch here -- where do you get your fingerprints done in China acceptable to overseas police?

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Posted (edited)

In Australia, you don't need fingerprints depending on what the criminal background check is for.  For something like overseas employment/visa they won't do them (or at least they didn't when I got one done).

Edited by imron
'Straya

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Are you talking about Australia in particular? Other jurisdictions, like the FBI in the U.S. and the HK Police, do need fingerprints for a criminal records check.

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Australia in particular, and both tooironic and I are from Australia.  I meant to add that it was Australia specific in my post, but it seems I didn't.  I'll edit it back in.

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@imron I'll be teaching Chinese-English translation. Though the pay is relatively low (7,500 RMB/month), it includes free accommodation and full reimbursement for a two-way flight home once a year. Once I move to Beijing, I'll also be seeking out bigger, more meaningful translation jobs than I've done in the past. Since most of my experience is in community translating, none of my work is ever published. I hope to write or translate a book one day, or even do a doctorate (though I'm still very conflicted about that). I also met an incredible American guy who teaches Chinese interpreting at the uni. Having personally visited about a dozen translation schools in China, I can tell you this is almost unheard of, since almost all foreign teachers employed at Chinese translation schools are not Chinese-English translators or interpreters, but rather English helpers, or translators/interpreters for other languages. So I'm really looking forward to working with someone with a similar background, and maybe even collaborate on a few projects. I'm also excited because it'll be the first time for me teaching translation (or any subject) in China. That reminds me, I need to contact the dean to discuss lesson plans.

 

@889 I'm not sure what you mean. The police check I did at the local government office in Xiamen (aka a fancy PSB) included a finger print check. As to whether police bureaus in other countries would accept that kind of check - you'd have to ask them. At the very least you'd probably have to get it authenticated at an embassy or consulate. Regarding the situation in Australia for police checks, I just had a casual look online, and you can choose between a standard federal police check and one that includes finger prints, the latter being much more expensive. I'm hoping the Chinese government will accept the non-finger print one. I'll have to call the consulate in Melbourne to confirm.

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Of course the PSB will take fingerprints for their own record check. I was curious whether they'll take them for foreign purposes.

 

Hopefully, you're not going to have to find out.

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I don't see why not. At least in Xiamen it seemed pretty straight forward. You just write in the form what you need them for, but they don't really care that much about it.

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