Legalisation, apostille, certification - what is this all about?

The legalisation is a certification of authenticity of a foreign official document by a consular officer of the country in which the document is to be used. The apostille certifies (just like legalisation) the authenticity of an official document. However, an apostille is issued by the country in which the document itself was issued. This means that no official of a foreign country needs to be involved in the process.

The apostille was introduced in 1961 by the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents. Signatories of this treaty do not require legalisation from each other.

Do translations need any further certification?

Certified translations into German are accepted by all German authorities and require no further confirmation. In case of certified translations into a foreign language, the situation is different. In some cases a foreign country will require a proof that the translator is actually sworn in or that his or her seal and signature are authentic. If required, I will be happy to apply for an apostille that will be attached to the translation confirming my status as a sworn and authorised translator for foreign purposes.

Be on the safe side!

Please take into consideration that each state decides at its own discretion what conditions need to be fulfilled in order to make sure a public document or a certified translation is authentic. Therefore, it is always sensible to ask at the respective consulate or embassy about what is actually needed.

You will find more information on whether translations certified in Germany are recognised abroad here.

All contents on legal topics provided on this website are for information only and shall not be construed as legal advice. Every reference herein is made to the best of knowledge and belief. However, no liability whatsoever can be assumed for any information.