When you apply for a China visa, residence permit or police certificate, you may be asked to provide some documents issued by authorities in the country of your nationality, such as passports, marriage certificates, diplomas, etc. Furthermore, you may be required to get these documents authenticated by a China Consulate. China consular authentication is placing a China Consulate’s official stamp (see a sample below) on a document so that the document can be accepted as authentic by local authorities in China.
Procedures for Getting a Document Authenticated by a China Consulate
The procedures for getting China consular authentication vary from one country to another and moreover, from one state/province to another within the same country. Nonetheless, China consular authentication is generally either a 4-STEP or 3-STEP process as shown in the below table.
|SCENARIO A||SCENARIO B|
|STEP 1||A notary public notarizes the document that is to be authenticated by a China Consulate.||A notary public notarizes the document that is to be authenticated by a China Consulate.|
|STEP 2||An authority at the provincial/state level, such as a court or a provincial/state government, attests to the authenticity of the notary public mentioned in STEP 1.||N/A|
|STEP 3||An authority at the national level, such as a department of foreign affairs, attests to the authenticity of the authority mentioned in STEP 2.||An authority at the national level, such as a department of foreign affairs, attests to the authenticity of the notary public mentioned in STEP 1.|
|STEP 4||A China Consulate authenticates the signature and seal of the national authority mentioned in STEP 3.||A China Consulate authenticates the signature and seal of the national authority mentioned in STEP 3.|
Find Instructions About the Procedures in Your Country
It’s always easy to find a notary public (STEP 1) and locate a China Consulate/Embassy. What difficulty is figuring out the appropriate authorities in STEP 2&3, as they are different from one country to another and from one state/province to another.
The first place where you can look for the authentication instructions in your area is the Chinese Visa Application Service Center (CVASC) at https://www.visaforchina.org/. CVASC has branch offices in major cities around the world. Go to their website and choose your location. You will find instruction about China consular authentication that explains the authorities in STEP 3&4. If you have any questions or concerns about their instructions, just call their customer representative. Please note that China Consulates outsource their authentication service to CVASC in some countries, meaning that CVASC is in charge of accepting authentication applications on behalf of the China Consulates.
Another place to look for instructions is the official website of the China Consulate where you will apply for consular authentication. If you could not find any instruction on their website, consider contacting the Consulate on the telephone or visiting in person.
Sample Authenticated Document Under SCENARIO A.
Understanding STEP 1
During STEP 1, you will have the document notarized by a local notary public.
Understanding STEP 2
Understanding STEP 3
Upon completion of STEP 3, you will have Page 3 which attests to the authenticity of the signature/seal appearing in Page 2. Instead of simply stapling pages together, the national authority who issues Page 3 will use a special binding often decorated with a ribbon.
Understanding STEP 4
In STEP 4, you will finally get the document authenticated by a China Consulate. The authentication stamp often appears either on the front or back of Page 3.
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