Living and working abroad is rewarding on many levels. Benefits of relocating include personal growth, CV enhancing, and travel opportunities. Unfortunately, people fail to make a big move, being overwhelmed by the formalities of setting up a new home. You are not one of them. You have decided where you want to go, found a place to live, and have even set the departure date. Are you not forgetting something? You have to legalize your academic degrees. Diplomas are not automatically valid abroad. What you need is to get your documents validated. All documents issued in the U.S. have to be authenticated when they are going to be used in a foreign country. Degrees legalization is a necessary step, actually the most important one. No matter if you are planning to move to China, South Korea or India, you will have to prove that your diplomas are real. This is how to get your university degrees legalized.
You have to take the university degrees to an international notarization company. Do some online research and when you find a reliable company call and see if they can help you. International notarization companies are usually busy, so do not be surprised if they are not available. You are not going to provide your original diplomas, but copies. The originals will be sent to the foreign country and they will not be returned to you. The specially authorized person will want to verify the authenticity of all your documents. The specialist will contact the education institution to confirm that they issued the documents in question. Not all international notarization companies go through this trouble. Some just make you sign a statement.
Once the authenticity of the documents is established, the notary legalizes the academic degrees. In some cases, the signature of the specially authorized person needs to be checked. When you have your university degrees notarized, you have to send them to the Secretary of State. Why? Because you need to get an apostille. Not all countries are part of the Apostille Convention, which is the reason why you need a certificate from a competent authority. An apostille is just another form of legalization. If you do not know to which state department to send the notarized documents to, google ”apostilling documents” and you will immediately get results. After having sent the paperwork, you will get your notarized academic degrees back, together with a stamped envelope. You will get your apostille in a week, so it is a good idea to postpone your trip.
Depending on where you are going to live and work, you may have to get your documents translated in the official language of the country. To know for sure and spare yourself of headaches, ask whether it is necessary to translate the documents. You can get your paperwork translated in many places, but it is best to contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Look for a company that offers a certified translation service. The certification will only make the translation more fitting.