As teaching English abroad involves applying for jobs and traveling overseas, you will require a variety of documentation at different times. Although there maybe some things that you cannot arrange until you have arrived in your country of choice, it is best to organize the required documents as far in advance as possible so they are on hand in case you need them during a job interview or when applying for a visa.
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Typically, anyone traveling to a foreign country requires a passport that is valid for at least six months. In some situations your passport must be valid for a full year, so the best advice is to ensure your passport has two years or more remaining to allow for an extended teaching contract or further travel once your initial contract is complete. In many cases you will also require some form of visa prior to entering your destination country. This is dependent on the laws of each individual country and should be confirmed during the interview process, or by visiting the relevant government's immigration website.
When applying for jobs there are certain documents that you will generally require whether you are in your home country or your destination country. In many cases you will need to provide your original TEFL certificate, although a copy might be sufficient in some cases. You will also need a copy of your CV/resume and a cover letter, both of which might need to be translated into the local language. Finally, it is always a good idea to have photos on hand as many employers will require them during the application process. Typically, two photos are requested, one a standard head shot and another showing your whole body. Make sure you are well groomed and dressed professionally or your application could go straight into the waste bin without being considered.
It is increasingly common for employers to request a criminal background check when applying for jobs in Asia and the Middle East in particular. Although generally less common across Europe and Latin America, those applying for government-run recruitment programs might find they are required. Several countries also require background checks when applying for a work permit or entry visa. To find out the best way to obtain a background check for your specific nationality, simply complete an online search. In countries where specific educational qualifications are required you may need to provide your university degree or diploma etc. Official transcripts of your qualifications might also be necessary. These should be in a sealed envelope and can be obtained for a small fee from your college or university. In some countries you might need to fill out a medical form when applying for visas or work permits. Specific medical tests may also be required such as TB in Japan and HIV-AIDS in Saudi Arabia. Employers may also require some form of physical examination or a drug test prior to completing the hiring process.