Legalisation documents & apostilles

Whe­ther it be an apos­til­le or a lega­li­sa­ti­on docu­ment, we can advi­se you on the best approach, and even attend to the actu­al docu­ment pro­cu­re­ment pro­cess if you’d pre­fer. Sim­ply ask.


When it comes to inter­na­tio­nal legal mat­ters, public agen­ci­es at home and abroad are regu­lar­ly requi­red to deter­mi­ne if offi­ci­al docu­ments issued by a for­eign agen­cy, are inde­ed authentic.

A defi­ni­te ans­wer is nee­ded here befo­re ever con­side­ring pre­pa­ring cer­ti­fied trans­la­ti­ons (if requi­red) of the­se kinds of materials.

The lega­li­sa­ti­on pro­ce­du­re is a long-stan­ding method employ­ed to deter­mi­ne the authen­ti­ci­ty of for­eign offi­ci­al documents.

Here, the authen­ti­ci­ty of the rele­vant for­eign docu­ment is exami­ned and, whe­re appro­pria­te, it will be cer­ti­fied by one public agen­cy loca­ted in the for­eign coun­try (such as an over­se­as Minis­try for For­eign Affairs) and one loca­ted at home (such as a Ger­man diplo­ma­tic mis­si­on). This is known as a pre-cer­ti­fi­ca­ti­on and sup­ple­men­ta­ry authen­ti­ca­ti­on process.


The labo­rious and cos­t­ly natu­re of this two-step lega­li­sa­ti­on pro­cess led to a who­le series of count­ries coming tog­e­ther in 1961 to sign the Hague Con­ven­ti­on on the intro­duc­tion of the “apos­til­le” pro­cess. Repla­cing the legis­la­ti­on method, an apos­til­le is issued by a public agen­cy of the Sta­te in which the offi­ci­al docu­ment was issued.

This apos­til­le con­firms the authen­ti­ci­ty of the offi­ci­al docu­ment, and an ori­gi­nal copy of that docu­ment must be pre­sen­ted for the apos­til­le to be issued. Unli­ke the lega­li­sa­ti­on pro­cess, the­re is no need for the invol­vement of a Ger­man diplo­ma­tic mis­si­on in this instance.

The apos­til­le pro­ce­du­re can be used bet­ween any two sta­tes that have signed up to the Hague Con­ven­ti­on. Around 115 sta­tes have curr­ent­ly done so. A cur­rent list of the con­trac­ting sta­tes is available on the web­site of the Ger­man For­eign Office.

So, if you need to pre­sent an offi­ci­al record or docu­ment in a non-signa­to­ry sta­te, the lega­li­sa­ti­on method will be nee­ded. It that case the lega­li­sa­ti­on pro­ce­du­re, as descri­bed abo­ve, will be applied.