All foreign documents shall be legalized for use in Germany. In most cases, legalization is carried out in the form of Hague Apostille.
Eight countries, however, are exempt from any legalization. Under the bilateral agreements between Germany and Belgium, Denmark, France, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Austria and Switzerland, it was agreed that the certificates in the field of civil registration do not require legalization. These documents can be used freely in Germany.
For some countries, legalization is carried out in the form of Hague Apostille, which was declared in the Hague Convention of 1961. The countries that acceded to the Convention mutually recognize the legal validity of the Apostille.
This Convention shall apply to all authentic instruments except those issued by consular officers, but including public documents directly referring to trade or customs.
An apostille is a form of authentication in international documentary transactions. The apostille confirms the authenticity of the signature, the quality in which the signer has acted, and the authenticity of the seal or stamp with which the document is affixed.
The Apostille is a stamp in the shape of a square. It should be filled in the official language of the issuing authority. The heading "Apostille (Convention de la Haye du 5 octobre 1961)" is mandatory in French. Each Apostille is registered and contains the issue date and unique number. The Apostille is issued by the authorities for documents. More information about responsibilities and special features of the procedure can be found in our country information.
Currently, the number of States Parties to this Convention is 113. Many countries of the former Soviet Union have ratified the Hague Convention. Russia joined the organization in 1991, Belarus - 1992, Ukraine - 2003, Kazakhstan - 2000, Armenia - 1993.
For some countries that have acceded to the Convention, there are special rules. However, Germany has objected to the accession of Azerbaijan, Burundi, Dominican Republic, India, Kyrgyzstan, Kosovo, Liberia, Morocco, Moldova, Mongolia, Paraguay, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. This means that the agreement between Germany and these countries does not apply.
Schmidt & Schmidt offers you Apostille from all 113 states that have acceded to the Convention.
Members of the Convention
The documents from all other states require legalization. Legalization is carried out by embassies and consulates in each country. In some countries, the documents must be pre-authenticated and over-certified by authorities in the host country.
Birth and marriage certificates, as well as certificates of marital status issued by one of the respective CIEC Contracting States in accordance with the multilingual CIEC pattern, require neither an apostille nor a legalization for use in Germany.
- Multilingual birth and marriage certificates from Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Estonia, France, Italy, Croatia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Switzerland, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain and Turkey
- Multilingual Marriage Certificate from Italy, Luxembourg, Moldova, Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Switzerland, Spain and Turkey
Documents from all other countries must normally be submitted with an apostille or legalization. Also when the certificate was issued in a multilingual form.
Some documents cannot be legalized according to the procedures above. This is the case for copies of documents, translations, founding documents, financial reports, contracts, bill of lading, certificate of origin, etc. For such documents, a notary may issue a notarized certificate. The notarial certification of the copy certifies that the copy and the original are absolutely identical. The notarization of the translation confirms that the translation is correct and made by a certified and certified translator.
If required, Schmidt & Schmidt can certify the translations by a public notary for you.
As a rule, the German authorities and courts require a translation of foreign-language documents from a translator who has been sworn in or publicly accredited in Germany. We offer you translations that are made by a translator recognized in Germany.
Requirements for documents:
An apostille may only be issued on an original document. This must be in a good external condition, all stamps and signatures must be understandable and readable. Furthermore, it may not contain any foreign markings or inscriptions.
Russian registry offices may deny apostille if the document to be certified is issued in the USSR. In this case, it is necessary to issue a replacement certificate.
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As a rule, the processing of documents takes 5 to 14 days.
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