What paperwork might I need when teaching English abroad?

Once you have completed a TEFL qualification you will probably apply for a range of jobs, most likely outside of your home country, which means you will certainly need to have some documentation to hand. You might need to wait until you arrive overseas before sorting some things out, but it is recommended that you organize everything well in advance in case any documents are needed during the interview process etc.

What basic documents will I need for teaching English abroad?

If you plan on teaching outside of your home country you will need a passport that is valid for a minimum of six months, or a year for some destinations. In reality, it is highly recommended that your passport has at least two years remaining on it to avoid the hassle of having to renew it from outside your own country. Depending on your destination, you will most likely require some form of visa to enter your host country. In many cases these are issued on arrival, but in some countries you will need to apply for a visa before you set off. You should confirm your visa status during the interview process, or by visiting the relevant government's immigration website.

Will I need any specific documents when applying for TEFL jobs?

The documentation required will vary from one job to the next, although there are a few items that are commonly required. The original copy of your TEFL certificate is often needed, although a copy might be adequate in some cases. You should always make sure you have several copies of your CV/resume and cover letter to hand, you might also need to have these translated into the local language in some cases. A photograph is also a common requirement with many job applications. This generally means a passport style headshot, but many employers will also ask for a whole body shot as well. When choosing which photos to send, be mindful that the employer will read a great deal into your personality through these photographs. Always make sure you are well groomed and professional looking or you might find that your application will get no further than the school waste bin.

What other documentation might I be asked for?

In many Asian and Middle Eastern countries in particular, a criminal background check is often asked for by the employer. This might also be required when making a visa or work permit application. How you acquire a criminal background check will depend on your home country, so it is best to do a quick online search to find out what the specific process requires in your situation.

It is common for EFL teaching jobs to require specific educational qualifications, either for the job itself or for immigration purposes. If this applies to the job you have been offered, make sure you take your degree or diploma with you when heading overseas. Official transcripts of your qualifications might also be required. These come in a sealed envelope and can be obtained from your college or university, usually for a small fee. Medical examinations and/or specific tests are also quite common when applying for visas or work permits. For example, In japan you will need to take a TB test, while an HIV test is a requirement in Saudi Arabia. Some employers might also insist on a drug test during the hiring process.

What paperwork might I need when teaching English abroad?