The Paperwork Process for South Africans


I recently went through the process of getting all of my paperwork done to move to Vietnam as a teacher. Initially, I knew of a fellow Saffa teaching here and he guided me through the steps but I soon came to realise his information was outdated as many of the processes have changed. This is my experience and the process I went through personally:

*Please note: This process was done from Cape Town and a lot of couriering (and a lot of money for courier services) was needed as many of the consulates/authorisation centres are based in Pretoria. If you live in Pretoria, you can simply collect and take your documents there yourself. 

1. Apply for your police clearance

Out of all the paperwork, this takes the longest time so I'd begin it before anything else. Even if you're thinking of going overseas, start here. Go to your nearest police station to fill in the form and get your fingerprints taken. The fee is R96.00 and they only accept cash. You'll then need to send this form to the SA Criminal Records Centre in Pretoria. You will be messaged once your police clearance is ready for collection (up to 8 weeks later) and then you can return to the courier to collect it for you. They will need the collection number to collect it. Warning: Do not send your police clearance through the post office, but rather through a courier service as it is much safer. Police clearances are only valid for 6 months. 

2. Secure a job and book your flight

Once you have secured a job in Vietnam your school should provide you with a letter to apply for your work visa. I personally could only apply for a business visa (which was transferred over to the work visa once I was here as some of my paper work wasn't ready). If you come to Vietnam on a tourist visa you won't be able to transfer it over to a work visa, this is illegal. 

You'll then need to book your flight as you need it for your visa application. I personally love flying with Emirates or Qatar, as the long journeys to and from South Africa are more comfortable with these airlines. 

3. Apply for your visa

You need to fill in an online visa application form here: and then courier it with your original passport, 1 ID photo, flight booking and proof of payment for the visa fee (and a letter from your school if you have one) to the Embassy which located at 87 Brooks Street, Brooklyn, Pretoria. They will contact you when it is ready for collection. You can then return to the courier and fill in an "authorisation letter" for them to collect your passport in Pretoria. Your courier service should have these available for you to simply fill out. 

4. Authenticate your degree

You then have to prove that your degree is from a reputable university. Basically, that your degree is real. You do this by couriering your original degree, a copy of the degree and a copy of your ID to the Department of Higher Education in Pretoria. You should email before sending as they are super helpful and it ensures getting this done on time: 

5. Apostille documents

Once you have your police clearance and the letter stating your degree is valid, you then need to send these documents to Pretoria (again!!) to have them apostilled. Email here: and they will send you the address as well as the cover letter you need to attach before sending. 

I know it might sound like a big burden or a daunting task, but really it wasn't that bad. What did take a lot of time was finding out all of this information when all I wanted to do was get it done! So, hopefully this will prove helpful to others going through the same process.