Legalising official documents and end user certificates

If your documents originate in South Africa and will be used in another country they must first be "authenticated" or "legalised". This is a process in which various seals are placed on the document so they will be recognised as legal documents in other countries.

The Legalisation Section at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation can issue the relevant Apostille Certificate or Certificate of Authentication subject to the following rules:

  • The documents are still valid.
  • You must advise the Legalisation Section in which country the document will be used to allow the section to determine if an Apostille or Authentication Certificate is required.
  • Depending on the type of documentation, you may first have to get the documentation stamped/signed by the appropriate department or institution; by a Magistrate, an additional Magistrate or Assistant Magistrate; or a Registrar or an Assistant Registrar of the High Court of South Africa before the Legalisation Section can issue the relevant Apostille or Authentication Certificate.

The following documents are not accepted:

  • Abridged documents or computer printouts.
  • Certified copies of marriage, birth, death or police clearance certificates.
  • Certified copies of Certificates of Marital Status (no impediment) or Proof of Citizenship.
  • Certified copies of travel documents or identity documents.
  • Documents legalised by Commissioners of Oath to be true copies of the original, cannot be accepted and must be taken to a Public Notary (an attorney who is registered at the High Court).

Read more about legalisation of official documents, contact the Legalisation Section at telephone number 012 351 1726 or e-mail legalisation@dirco.gov.za.