Visa & insurance guidance
So, you have confirmed that your battered, old passport is in a usable condition. What’s next on your ‘To do’ list? Certainly finalising a visa to enter the country where you’ll complete your TESOL programme at AVSE-TESOL warrants your attention. Organising travel insurance (including medical coverage) is another important task. In addition, you’ll need to turn your mind to what’s involved with obtaining a work visa in Vietnam or Cambodia. Gosh, that’s a lot of things to do! If you need a helping hand with visa and insurance matters, the friendly staff at AVSE-TESOL will ‘step up to the plate’.
Regardless of where you complete the TESOL programme with AVSE – Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City or Phnom Penh – the visa process for eligible people who plan to work in Vietnam or Cambodia after the course, typically involves two steps:
Step One. Obtain a visa to enter your country of choice (Vietnam or Cambodia) in the first instance.
Let’s have a look at Step One as it applies to Vietnam:
If you decide to complete the TESOL programme in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, obtaining the right visa to enter Vietnam in the first instance is paramount. As it happens, AVSE-TESOL (Vietnam) has partnered with Vietnam-visa.com, the Vietnam visa on arrival experts, to cut through the red tape. Our Vietnam visa partners suggest that a 3-month Tourist Visa is all you need to enter the country and have adequate coverage while you’re completing the TESOL course at AVSE-TESOL – and the immediate period thereafter. Among other things, the partnership between AVSE-TESOL and Vietnam-visa.com allows you to apply for a visa to enter Vietnam from the comfort of your own living room, by simply clicking this link: Vietnam-visa.com
Now, let’s have a look at Step One as it applies to Cambodia:
Obtaining the right visa to enter Cambodia in the first place is a tad more complicated than Vietnam. The T Class (Tourist) visa to enter Cambodia and remain for a period of 30 days, enough for the TESOL course only, can be finalised in advance with a simple online application. It is also possible for most nationalities to obtain a T Class visa at a port of entry, Phnom Penh International Airport for example. Rather than just fronting up with your passport at Phnom Penh Airport, it’s wise to confirm beforehand that your country has the tick on approval from the Cambodian Government for the visa on arrival option. It’s important to note that the T Class visa only provides for a 30-day stay and single entry, but it can be renewed once for a further stay of 30 days. If this type of visa for Cambodia will meet your needs, you can apply here.
It’s likely that you’ll be better placed with what’s called an ‘Ordinary Visa’ (E Class) if you plan to teach in Cambodia immediately after your TESOL course finishes. Why? An Ordinary Visa (E class) can be extended more than once, and it’s easier to convert to a Work Visa in Cambodia. The Ordinary Visa (E Class) is not available online. It can only be obtained at a port of entry, which may be problematic for people who hold a passport that hasn’t been given the tick of approval by the Cambodian Government. If you’re unsure, seek advice from the specialist ‘visa and insurance’ folks at AVSE-TESOL before you travel.
Step Two. Transitioning to a Work Visa in Vietnam or Cambodia (it’s actually called a Work Permit in both countries) when you’ve secured a teaching job.
Work Visa in Vietnam:
What’s typically called a Work Visa in Vietnam requires sponsorship from an employer, a school in our line of work. In a technical sense, to be eligible for a Work Visa in Vietnam you need a two-year (minimum) university or college qualification, a clean criminal record (background check), internationally recognised TESOL Certification and clean bill of health. Having said this, like everything in Vietnam there are exceptions. For instance, people who can show 5 years of relevant work experience may also be eligible for a Work Visa. Is it legally possible to get a job teaching English in Vietnam without a degree? You’ll find an article on this important issue in the Vietnam blog on the AVSE website.
Importantly, not having a Work Visa in Vietnam doesn’t automatically mean you cannot work. It may mean the school that employs you will need to make a plan with the local authority, such is the demand for TESOL, TEFL or CELTA qualified people to teach English the length and breadth of Vietnam.
Make sure you bring the original version of any degrees or diplomas you hold and the original version of your background check – photocopies are insufficient. Your background check should be no more than 6 months old when it’s presented for the purpose of a Work Visa in Vietnam.
Lastly, all of your documents should be notarised and legalised in your home country. You should not assume that you can complete the required notarising and legalising in Vietnam, with one exception – your TESOL Certificate can be notarised at the Australian mission in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City and subsequently legalised by the Vietnamese Government.
Work Visa in Cambodia:
The necessary documentation (and the process) for a Work Visa in Cambodia (again, it’s actually called a Work Permit) is similar to what’s required for a Work Visa in Vietnam, with one glaring exception. Cambodian visa officials aren’t especially fussed if you don’t hold a university degree. Certainly you need a clean background check (no more than 6 months old) and internationally recognised TESOL certification. Your background check should be appropriately notarised and legalised in your home country. You can notarise and legalise your TESOL certification from AVSE at the Australian Embassy in Phnom Penh.
Remember, if you wish to obtain a Work Visa in Cambodia post TESOL course, it’s wise to enter the country, in the first instance, with what’s called an ‘Ordinary Visa (E class)’.
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Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
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