Documents for use in Germany (FAQs)

Frequently Asked Questions about legalizing documents for use in Germany

How can foreign documents be certified for official use in Germany?

Documents issued in countries which are signatories to the Apostille Convention can be authenticated for use in Germany by obtaining an apostille stamp from the authorities of the country of issue. This Apostille stamp should be recognised directly by German authorities as confirming the document’s authenticity. Countries which issue apostilles include NL NetherlandsNetherlands - US United StatesUnited States - GB United KingdomUnited Kingdom - HK Hong KongHong Kong - FR FranceFrance - ZA South AfricaSouth Africa - BR BrazilBrazil - KR South KoreaSouth Korea - JP JapanJapan

Documents issued in countries which are not signatories to the Apostille Convention must be legalized in the country issue and additional by the local German embassy or consulate.

See Certify international documents for use in Germany

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How can I certify a translation of a foreign document for use in Germany?

A first option is to carry out a translation of the document in the country of origin. If the country of origin is a signatory to the Apostille Convention, a translation certified under local law can then be authenticated with an Apostille Stamp, giving the translation validity in Germany.

If the originating country is not a member of the Apostille Convention and does issue Apostilles, a local translation will need to be certified by the originating country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and by the German embassy or consulate. The German embassy may require a translation in any case in order to attest the original document. The embassy may have specific requirements for the translation, otherwise in most countries a locally certified, sworn or notarized translation can be authenticated by the originating country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and then by the German embassy, making it valid for use in Germany.

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Can foreign documents required for submission to Germany be authenticated with an Apostille?

Yes - if the issuing country is a member of the Apostille Convention, then an Apostille Stamp issued in the issuing country will be accepted by German authorities.

Submission within the European Union
Certain documents do not require Apostilles for submission to authorities in Germany when they are issued in another European Union Member State (the receiving authority should accept the original or a certified copy).

When applying for certain public documents, a multilingual standard form may be requested to accompany the original. A multilingual standard form must always be issued and signed by an authority of the EU country where the public document is issued, providing a translation aid designed to help the receiving authority to understand a public document which is in a language not accepted by Germany.
See: EU Multilingual standard formsExternal link (opens in new tab)

Documents not requiring Apostilles for use in Germany include birth, death, marriage certificates, absence of a criminal record (a clean criminal record of a citizen of the issuing country), certificates of nationality and residence:
See: Regulation (EU) 2016/1191External link (opens in new tab)

Other documents, including academic certificates, still require Apostille certification and certified translation to be valid in Germany.

Civil status certificates (multilingual extracts from the civil status registers)
Birth, marriage and death certificates should not require Apostille Stamps for submission in Germany when issued in accordance with the conventions of the International Commission on Civil and Civil Status by one of following countries:
Austria, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cape Verde, Estonia, France, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey

Multilingual certificates of no impediment to marriage
Certificates of no impediment to marriage should not require Apostille stamps for submission in Germany when issued by one of the following countries (Munich CIEC Convention):
Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Moldova, Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Switzerland, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey.

Documents from Ethiopia
Public documents issued in Ethiopia cannot be legalised for use in Germany. The German Embassy in Addis Ababa may agree to carry out a document verification, but only upon a request issued by a German authority. Copies of Ethiopian public documents can only be authenticated if the authenticity of the original can be determined without a doubt, i. e. documents with security features such as drivers’ licenses or passports.
Ethiopian documents cannot be legalised. On request of German authorities, the Embassy can carry out a document verification. Private individuals cannot initiate a document verification. Verification of Ethiopian documents for use in GermanyExternal link (opens in new tab)

Documents issued in Gabon
The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Libreville cannot authenticate or legalize documents. It also cannot certify that the original copies of documents are true.
See: The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Libreville cannot authenticate or legalize documents. It also cannot certify that the original copies of documents are true. German embassy in Gabon - Legalization of DocumentsExternal link (opens in new tab)

Documents issued in Nigeria
The legalization of Nigerian public documents and certificates by German consulates in Nigeria was ceased in May 2000 due to the lack of security features. It was replaced by a verification process in which Nigerian public documents are verified upon request by a German court or authority. The verification process can only be initiated on request of a German authority, not by a private person.
The legalization of public documents and certificates was ceased in May 2000 due to the lack of security features in Nigerian documents. Verification of Nigerian Documents by the Embassy of GermanyExternal link (opens in new tab)

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How can I get a quote to certify my documents?

To receive a quote, you can upload your documents using our online quotation form or send us your documents by email. After reviewing your documents and requirements, we will get back to you with a quotation:

If you don’t have the documents available, just describe the documents you need to certify, and we will get back to you with an estimation of cost and delivery times.

Using our quotation form, your documents will be uploaded over a secure connection and immediately encrypted on our server. For added protection, you can upload password-protected files ( PDFExternal link (opens in new tab), Microsoft Office 365: Save a password protected document to prevent unauthorized people from opening it. Office DocumentsExternal link (opens in new tab), WinRAR Encryption Frequently asked question (FAQ) RAR foldersExternal link (opens in new tab)) and provide us with the passwords separately.

PERSONAL DATA: If your documents contain personal data belonging to people outside your household, please ensure that you are authorised to share this data before uploading your documents. If your documents contain sensitive personal data, such as biometric data, medical data or data on criminal convictions, please ensure that you indicate this when prompted, upon submitting your documents. For further information on our processing of personal data contained in uploaded documents, please see:
Privacy Policy (Customer Inquiries)

For further information on confidentiality in our handling of document content please see:
Confidentiality (Client Content)

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