China: U.S. Diploma Holders Subject to New Notarization Requirement

Effective immediately, Chinese work authorization applicants with U.S. university diplomas must either have their university registrar certify their diploma before a notary, or, in certain locations, may certify the diploma themselves before having it notarized. Fragomen can no longer certify and notarize copies of foreign nationals' diplomas on their behalf. This may result in extended legalization processing times and delayed work authorization approvals in China. Applicants with pending applications where diplomas were already certified by another process must withdraw their application and obtain a diploma certified under the new method.

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May 04, 2017
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As a result of a recent policy change implemented by the Chinese Embassy in the United States in relation to the new Chinese unified immigration system , Chinese work authorization applicants with U.S. university diplomas must either have their university registrar certify their diploma before a notary, or, in certain locations, may certify the diploma themselves before having it notarized. Diplomas are required for every Chinese work authorization application. This policy change may result in extended legalization processing times and delayed work authorization approvals in China. Applicants with pending applications where diplomas were already certified by another process must withdraw their application and obtain a diploma certified under the new method.

In addition, in certain U.S. states, the Secretary of State offices will only authenticate diplomas that have been certified by the school registrar. Where there is doubt, applicants will be advised not to certify the diploma themselves before a notary, but instead, obtain this certified and notarized copy from the school registrar. Although this may be a longer process, it is accepted by the Secretary of State in all states and by the Chinese Embassy.

What This Means for Foreign Nationals

Foreign nationals in the United States:

For foreign nationals in the United States, since Chinese consular posts in the United States still accept diplomas notarized by the university registrar, to avoid potential rejections, Fragomen will now implement this as the default approach for diploma legalizations.

For urgent cases, Fragomen will determine whether a diploma certified by the applicant before a notary may be acceptable in the state where it will be submitted.

Foreign nationals not in the United States or China:

Fragomen will contact foreign nationals not in the United States or China to provide instructions to have their university registrar notarize their diploma. This will involve mailing their request and required application form(s) to the registrar.

In the rare instance that a university requires the foreign national to appear in person, Fragomen will investigate alternative options on a case-by-case basis.

For foreign nationals in China:

It may be possible for foreign nationals in China to legalize their diploma through Chinese Academic certification agencies, such as the Ministry of Education Overseas Study Service Center or other local authorized agencies. Such applicants should contact their immigration professional for further advice.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to CNInitiations@fragomen.com.

Fragomen in China is Fragomen (Shanghai) Co. Ltd., operating exclusively as an immigration consultancy and not as a law firm in China.

© 2017 Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP, Fragomen Global LLP and affiliates. All Rights Reserved.

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