How to prove your degree is real…Apostilles and Authentifications

Doing some more research. In order to prove that you have a degree – which seems essential if you wish to teach overseas – you have to go through several steps.

1.Call the registrar’s office at your college and request a notarized transcript – in other words: a notary attests to the fact that the registrar who signed it was indeed the registrar and authorized to sign the transcript. My school did not charge extra for this service and they understood what I needed. Thank you!

2.Mail the notarized transcript to the  the State Notary Public Administrator for authentication. My school is in Massachusetts, so I have to mail it to the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. If you ever have to do this, here is the website to find out where you need to mail your notarized transcripts: https://www.hcch.net/en/states/authorities/details3/?aid=353

3.Now it gets exciting. There are two groups of countries, one group is part of the Hague Apostille Convention, the other group is not. And of course, some of the countries I’m interested in belong to this group (like China, Korea, most European and most South American countries), and others do not (like Vietnam or Thailand). So much for the practical side of globalization.

4.A. If the country does belong to the Hague Apostille Convention group, the state Notary Public Administrator can affix the Apostille certificate and – tada – you’re done.

4.B. If the country does NOT belong to the Hague group, the state Notary Public Administrator will affix a state authentication certificate – so make sure you request that and not the Apostille. And THEN, you get to mail the whole thing to the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. so the State department can attach their seal saying that the state Notary Public Administrator was authorized to affix his certificate. You need to use the following form and send more money, of course:  https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/183033.pdf

5. And then, if you are truly unlucky, you might have to send it to the embassy of the country that you wish to work in so they can authenticate the seal that the U.S. Department of State affixed. I’m hopeful that I don’t need to do that.

Notice a theme here? Each agency “certifies” that the agency on the level below is actually “real” – the notary says that the registrar is real, the state Notary says that the notary is real, the U.S. Department of State says that the state Notary is real, and the foreign embassy says that the U.S.Department of State is real…. and all of this to say that I really graduated…. wow.

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