Authentication for Non Apostille Countries.

When documents are designated to be used in a foreign country such documents must be certified by a competent authority. One of these methods is the so-called Apostille Certificate. For Countries who are not Signature to the La Hague Convention the Authentication Route must be followed which is.

  • The process is the same as the Apostille process, but a Certificate of Authentication is issued.
  • The process is then finalised with attestation by the Embassy of the relevent country – see that section for details.

Consular notarial services are rendered to South African citizens as well as foreign nationals requiring South African official (public) documents to be legalised for use abroad.  These services are rendered to provide legal validity to South African official (public) documents to enable a person to use the documents outside the Republic of South Africa. It thus means that the documents must have originated in South Africa (Legalising documents means that official (public) documents executed within the Republic of South Africa for use outside the Republic of South Africa are affixed, sealed and signed either with an Apostille Certificate (where countries are signatory to the Apostille Convention) or with a Certificate of Authentication (where countries are not signatory to the Apostille Convention).

Legalisation therefore basically means the process followed by which the signature and seal on an official (public) document is verified. This is done by DIRCO who has examples of such signatures where they are physically verified before signature.

Note:  The full description of the Apostille Convention is The Hague Convention of 5 October 1961 (Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents).  Please visit The Hague Conference on Private International Law – for further information on signatory countries.

An Apostille (pronounced “ah-po-steel”) is a French word meaning certification. The Apostille is represented by a  Seal attached to the original  document to verify it is legitimate and authentic so it will be accepted in one of the other countries who are members of the Hague Apostille Convention. It is to be noted that the Apostille Seal as such does not authenticate the contents of the document but confirms that the document was signed by a person authorised and appointed to verify the authenticity of the document. That in itself implies the authenticity of the document.

The basis of Apostille thus rests on the registered signatures.

There are two entities in South Africa who may Apostille documents in South Africa, namely The Department of International Relations and Co-operation also known as DIRCO is the only institution authorised to Apostille original documents with the relevant High Court who Apostille Notary copies.

While DIRCO Apostille Origional Documents The High Court Apostille  Notarised Copies of The Origional.

Note:  South African diplomatic or consular representatives abroad can legalise official documents only if these were legalised by the relevant foreign competent authority in their country of accreditation, for use within South Africa. South African diplomatic or consular representatives abroad cannot issue Apostille Certificates, only Certificates of Authentication.


Example of original documents which DIRCO can Apostille:

  • Unabridged Birth and Marriage Certificates
  • Vault Copy Birth and Marriage Certificate
  • Letter of No Impediment
  • Driver’s License Verification
  • Medical certificates authenticated by HPCSA
  • SANDF Exemption Letter
  • Police Clearance Certificate.
  • The original adoption papers signed and stamped by the relevant Presiding Officer / Commissioner of Child Welfare of the Children’s Court (Department of Justice and Constitutional Development) or the Registrar of Adoptions at the Department of Social Development.
  • Original Confirmation Letters as issued (stamped and signed) by the Department of Transport – Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) confirming that the applicant holds a valid driver’s licence.  (Note: The Legalisation Section cannot legalise actual driver’s licences.).

The High Court can Apostille

  • Notary Copies.
  • Attested Translations

Consular Notarial Services (Legalisation of Official (Public) Documents)

Extract from DIRCO Website

Prerequisite to request for consular notarial services

The document to be legalised is determined by the customer.  Legalisation staff are not able to advise customers as what documents they need to submit for i.e. foreign work/residence permits; application for foreign citizenship or registration of birth; or to obtain a foreign passport, etc. Customers are therefore advised to contact the foreign representative in South Africa of the country in which the document will be used directly to determine what documents they will need to submit and which documentation will be required for legalisation purposes and what their countries specific requirements are, etc.

Process To Authenticate Documents for Use in Non-Apostille Countries.

  • Email or scan us the documents to be Authenticated.
  • We will send you a cost estimate.
  • You courier the Documents to Us.
  • We will send an invoice with the required deposit.
  • Documents will be processed
  • On Completion, documents will be scanned to you for courier authorisation.
  • On receipt of final payment, the documents will be couriered.
  • Documents will be Couriered as per Instruction.

Estimated Lead Times.

Lead times are estimates and are determined by the relevant Government Departments.

Lead Time between 4 and 6 weeks

    Cost and Fees

    Email or call us.


    Tell: (012) 6709020

    The Do-It-Yourself Route

    Embassy Requirements