What to take to the embassy with you when applying for a working visa
People actually ask me this quite frequently and my answer is always the same: Take Everything!
Take your degree(s), take copies of your degree(s), take your TEFL certification and copies of it, your transcripts and copies of them, take your passport and copies of the ID page, take several professional passport type photos (usually 2 inches by 2 inches) and double check on the back ground that is required. Take your resume/cv and take copies of it. Take everything your future employer sent you and copies of everything they sent you.
Yes, take a big folder with everything in it – and copies of everything.
Why all this fuss and why take EVERYTHING?
To some degree this has nothing to do with the job. It has everything to do with often uncooperative embassy and consulate workers around the world. Foreign service workers in consulates and embassies sometimes (not always!) have an attitude of entitlement and if they can find a way to avoid having to do your petty paperwork, they would like to find that way.
That way is often to ask you about what you have brought and what you can provide. And sometimes you will be facing a worker who will run down a long list of things they would like – that sometimes are not even required. What they are looking for is something that you did not bring, so they can send you away to go and get it and maybe someone else will have to deal with you when you come back.
You will even, more than once if you live abroad for a while, meet workers who are obviously disappointed that you brought everything and rather grudgingly go ahead and process your paperwork. You might even be made to feel like a trouble maker.
TED’s Tips™ #1: Take EVERYTHING! And copies of everything. Take more photos than required.
TED’s Tips™ #2: Don’t take this part of the process personally. It is just one of the cultural games you will play while living overseas.
BTW, don’t think that your own country’s embassy won’t do this or you will be quickly sent away to bring the one thing you didn’t take. Don’t forget you will still need to visit your own embassy from time to time for a variety of paperwork, passport renewals, notarized documents, etc.