Obtaining the necessary documents to teach in Korea can be really stressful and a big headache if you do not know where to start or how to go about it. From experience, following a methodical order of things needed to be done will help speed up the process. Every citizen coming to Korea has a different route to follow and one needs to know the specific requirements for their nationality. The method of obtaining documents is different in every county. So what may be allowed in America, may not be allowed in South Africa.For South Africans, acquiring the necessary documents to teach in Korea is pretty straightforward and is much easier than other nationalities’ lengthy processes. There are 5 things you need to have and a particular order of steps that you should follow in order to use your time efficiently. This blog will lead you step by step to make the sure process is easy and efficient.
If you live outside of Johannesburg and Pretoria, it is highly recommended that you make use of a third party service, such as Docs4Expats or DocAssist. From personal experience, Docs4Expats, run by Noma, is a trustworthy and efficient courier service that is well-connected and has a speedy overturn rate. If you prefer to not sit waiting, Noma does everything for you, once you have paid the required fee. Before you begin gathering the required documents, make sure you know which ones and how many of each you must obtain if you go through Aclipse to teach for ChungDahm Learning. The documents you need are:
- 1 apostilled copy of a criminal background check (clearance certificate)
- 1 apostilled copy of your university degree
- 2 passport photos
- 1 degree verification
Step 1: Apostilled Police Clearance Certificate
The Criminal Record Centre in Pretoria processes all South African Police Clearance Certificates. First, you have to have your fingerprints taken at the nearest police station along with a copy of your passport/ID book and your original passport/ ID book. Next, the applicant can opt to use the SAPS postal service or their own courier service. It is advised that you use an external courier service, like Docs4Expats, for quick processing. If you live in Johannesburg or Pretoria, it is much quicker to drop off your PCC at the CRC yourself. If you drop it off or use an external courier, the process will take about 6 weeks. The process cost for one PCC is R96,00.00 which you can be paid at the CRC or via a bank transfer or directly to your courier service. A re-issue of the PCC can be made within 6 months, and it will cost an additional R96, 00.00.
A final step is to authenticate your certificate. You have to get your PCC Apostilled at any High Court in South Africa. For convenience, there is one in Pretoria, which you can go directly to, with your PCC and University Diploma, after collection. Another option, is to pay for a third party to process your PCC and Apostille it at the same time.
While you are at the police station kill two birds with one stone, and get a copy of your passport information page certified. Take your passport and 3 x copies of your passport and get all of them certified by a ranked officer. You will need this at a later stage in the application process.
Tip: request 2 copies of your PCC for future use, it takes some time to request a new one, even though it is valid for 6 months.
Step 2: Notarized and Apostilled Photocopy of University Degree
The Korean government wants foreign teachers to bring their original university diploma with them to Korea to present to the Korean Education Office when it is requested. However, in South Africa you have to apostille two copies of your University Degree. First, you need to make two clear A4 copies of your degree, black and white is fine, then you need to submit your original degree and the copies of your degree to a South African High Court to Apostille the document, thus authenticating it. You can opt to do it yourself, after receiving your PCC, together with your original and copied university diploma and take it to the High Court in Cape Town or Pretoria. A more convenient way, is to use a courier service like Docs4Expats, that will Apostille all documents once they have received your PCC and your emailed copies of your university degree.
Tip: Wait for your PCC to arrive. Afterwards, take your PCC, original and copies of your University Diploma to the High Court to get it apostilled.
Step 3: University transcripts
While you wait for your PCC to be processed, you can email your universities registrar and get them to mail you 2 sets of University transcripts. You only need one for the application, but a back up transcript is always helpful. You must tell your university to seal the back of the transcripts with the Universities official stamp. The transcripts must not be opened before coming to Korea, the Korean Education Office requests all of them to remain sealed and will not accept them otherwise.
Step 4: Passport Photographs
Getting a good set of passport photographs for teaching in Korea is important. By the time you look again, you can’t believe almost all of them are gone. You need passport photographs for contracts, ARC registration, visa application, and a Korean Health Check.10 photographs should be sufficient and follow the Korean photograph guidelines, regarding size and posture. These should be 3.5cm by 4.5cm and in color. All photographs have to be the same shot. You can go to any studio or photo printing shop in South Africa. Make sure to specify the correct size and color.
Tip: Ask for a digital copy in the correct sizes, then you could just reprint it at a studio in Korea.
- Make sure your passport is valid for the duration of your stay in Korea
- Apply at AA for an International Drivers Permit
- Have photocopies of all original documents, and authenticate them at SAPS
It is no surprise that Tijana Huysamen, a South African born Capetownian, avid traveler and travel journalist, fell in love with South Korea and its people. After Tijana arrived in South Korea in 2010, she had the opportunity to live in the heart of the Korean countryside. During her time spent in Chungnam province she learned to speak Korean, prepare Korean food and experience the humble nature of the countryside people. After a year break in New York, Tijana jumped at the opportunity to return to Korea again, and is currently working at the CDI Jamsil Branch, in Jamsil, Seoul. Read Tijana’s Aclipse blog to gain a unique perspective on Korea and her shared experiences and adventures both in a major city and in the countryside. Follow Tijana on Twitter @TeeAnni or email firstname.lastname@example.org to request more information on teaching in Korea!