Validating the Authenticity of Admission Letters and JW forms

how to verify Admission Letters and JW

Applying to study in China can be a tedious task; planning, gathering information, preparing the documents, submitting the application and then, the long waiting that can at times test your patience. Once all these are done and the admission documents arrive at your doorstep, there is a brief period of peace. And then begins the next set of errands: ticking all the boxes in the pre-departure checklist, going through the procedures upon arrival in China and so on before you can actually commence your studies. However, there is one major task that most people forget to undertake – verifying the documents so as to avoid getting scammed. It is understandable if you had applied directly to the universities and the universities had sent you the documents. However, this is not always the case. Therefore validating the authenticity of the documents you receive is an inevitable responsibility on your part.
Chinese universities provide original copies of Admission letters and JW forms (JW201 or JW202) in order to facilitate the visa (X1 for long term study or X2 for less than 6 months study) application by the students at the Chinese embassies in their home countries. As such, you will receive these documents by post. Here are some guidelines on how to spot a doctored/fake Admission letter or JW form:

  1. The first and foremost step will be to translate your JW form with the help of Google scanner (scans and translates texts in images). Note that the Admission letter is usually written in English or both in English and Chinese. Once you have translated the JW form, audit the JW form and Admission letter for any discrepancies.
  2. Check the contact details of the university on the Admission letter and JW form and confirm it with the details provided on the university website (official page). If they are not the same on any one of the documents, the legitimacy of both the documents must be questioned.
  3. Examine your personal information on the Admission letter and JW form. They should be the same details you provided and they should be consistent.
  4. The details provided on the Admission letter and JW form about the course you are admitted into must correspond with the offers provided on the university’s official website, specifically:
    i. The major (course) provided on the documents is available in the list of programs offered on the university website.
    ii. Teaching language (English or Chinese) mentioned in the documents is what is provided on the university website.
    iii. Duration of the study coincides with the particulars on the university site.
    iv. If you have received a scholarship for your studies, your name should appear in the list of scholarship recipients published on the university website (note: not all universities publish these lists)
    v. If any fee deposit is to be made to the university (application fee or tuition fee etc.), the bank details will be provided on the Admission Letter. Make sure the account given is that of the university. No university will require you to transfer money into a personal/individual bank account. Most universities also provide their bank details on their official sites, so you can double-check the details. If the account is that of an individual, then the documents are doctored/forged.
  5. The best way to confirm the genuineness of the documents is to confirm the details with the university. University admission personnel will be more than happy to help you.
  6. Universities may email your documents to your embassy (applicable to some countries). If this is the case, your job is already made easy.

Apart from the above-mentioned points, there are some other ways to spot if the documents are forged, just by checking the format of the documents themselves:

  1. Look at the university seal and the university name on the Admission letter closely. If they are unclear or blurry, there is a high probability that the document is forged.
  2. Cross-check the university name and seal on the documents with the ones on the university website. This is essential especially for those who cannot read Chinese (Admission letter: university name is given in both Chinese and English in the logo, so check both and not just the English name; the university seal will be in Chinese).
  3. Admission letters from the universities are usually issued in their letterheads. This is one way to spot a fake from a genuine document.
  4. Inspect the Admission letter for any inconsistencies in the fonts used. If there are inconsistencies, the document may have been tampered with and is not an original.
  5. Check for the quality of the printed texts, university logos, signatures, and seals on the Admission letters. If any of them seem to be of low quality or if there is any inconsistency or strange formatting, it may mean that the document is scanned and altered. Newly added texts or images could stand out clearer than the already existing ones. However, this should not be the only criteria for deciding it is a fake. Sometimes, scanning the documents may make them slightly blurry in some areas. Nevertheless, this should raise your suspicion.
  6. Cross-check your Admission letter with previous Admission letters issued by the university. They should be consistent.
  7. If you are admitted into a course on Chinese Government Scholarship (CSC scholarship), your JW (Visa Application for Study in China form) form should be a JW201 and this will be indicated on the top right corner of the paper. If your study is self-financed or on full/partial University Scholarship, the JW form will have a JW202 printed on it.
  8. Check the quality of the paper used for the Admission letter and JW form. Most of the time, the Admission letters are printed on high-quality papers and JW forms on thin, kind-of-silky textured paper. Google search for sample JW forms to see the normal format.
  9. In rare cases, the informal language used in the Admission letters may be a giveaway to its illegitimacy. Bear in mind this is not a huge giveaway and should not be the only reason to decide the document is a fake, especially if the documents are issued from institutions in a non-native English speaking country like China.

So the next time you receive your documents, make sure you verify their authenticity before you move on to the next phase. If you do come across any fake documents, it is advised that you report them to the relevant authorities.