Document authentication for a China visa, required by a new Chinese law set in motion November 2015, may now complicate the visa application process. These documents may include your diploma or certificate of highest degree earned, marriage license, or children’s birth certificates. To simplify these new requirements, we’ve mapped out the process in three, easy to follow steps so you can be sure to get the correct documents.
Step 1 – Get your documents notarized
The first place you will need to take your documents is to a notary public. Notary publics are public servants and can be found in banks, real estate companies, city and town clerks’ offices, courts, travel agencies, and local drugstores. You will bring your documents to them, sign it under free will, and prove your identification with your drivers license/passport/other form of ID.
Step 2 – Receive authorization from Secretary of State
After getting your document notarized, you need to take it to your Secretary of State’s office for authentication. Be sure to tell the office that your documents will be used in China so that you receive the authorization recognized by the Chinese Embassy. This authentication will be stapled to your documents and will be invalid if the staples are removed.
Federal-level authentication at the U.S. Department of State Authentication Office is also required for documents issued by following states: Delaware, Idaho, Kentucky, Maryland, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wyoming and Washington DC.
Step 3 – Submit to local Chinese Embassy or Consulate
Once you have received the authorized documents from your Secretary of State, you must gather the following documents and turn them in to your local Chinese Embassy or Consulate:
- Document Authentication Application Form
- Documents to be authenticated
- Photocopies of documents to be authenticated
- Photocopy of your driver’s license or passport
- If submitted by a processing company: fill out section 2 of the application form and include another copy of your driver’s license or passport
Your China visa application can be turned in by you, by a friend, or by a processing company, but it CANNOT be mailed in at this time.
Times and Fees
Regular document authentication for a Chinese visa at the Chinese Embassy or Consulate takes 4 business days and costs $25 for civil documents or $50 for commercial documents. Express service in 2-3 days costs an additional $20, and in extreme cases a rush service for an additional $30 fee may be allowed (all costs are per document).
cover image via sellskillz.com