Complete DIRCO Apostille Service. We will submit, pick up and courier anywhere worldwide. The current DIRCO lead time is approximately three to five weeks. We will relay current lead time with quotation. Get the process started as soon as possible and use professionals to legalise your important documents.

Louwrens Koen Attorneys provide a fast professional DIRCO apostille certificate service to assist you in legalising your South African documents for use overseas. The Apostille Certificate is normally requested by foreign authorities and organisations so that the document can be used for official purposes outside of South Africa.

Since the implementation of strict Covid protocols, it has become incrementally more difficult and time-consuming to legalise your documentation in person at DIRCO.

No walk-in customers are allowed, and an appointment must be scheduled which may take a considerable time and cause significant frustration. Make use of a professional document legalisation company that will get your documents correctly apostilled and legalised in the shortest possible time in these restrictive times. The typical cost is R850 per document.

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Notary Public and Document Legalisation Services Louwrens Koen Attorneys

How long does apostille take at DIRCO?

Currently, a DIRCO Apostille certificate takes three to four weeks. High Court Apostilles takes one maximum of two working days.

What is an apostille from DIRCO?
DIRCO Apostilles are official certificates attached by the Department of Foreign Affairs in South Africa to original documents and authenticate that the document and signatory on the document are verified and accurate. South Africans travelling abroad are often required to legalise their documents for official use abroad. 

How much does it cost to apostille a document at DIRCO in South Africa?

We charge a fee of R950 for a DIRCO Apostille Certificate on an original document. Click here to get a detailed quotation with time frames online. 

Do DIRCO offer a walk-in service Apostille Certificate service to the public?

No. Members of the public may not directly submit their original documents for placement of an Apostille Certificate. It's best to use the services of a professional document legalisation company to Apostille your document at DIRCO. 

Describe the Notary Public High Court Apostille Certificate process. 

The process when following the route of the i.e., Public Notary/Registrar of the High Court (when the destination country is a signatory to the Apostille Convention) – and when the Apostille Certificate will be issued and affixed If the Convention applies, an Apostille is the only formality that is required to establish the origin of the public document – no additional requirement may be imposed to authenticate the origin of the public document.

If a country is a signatory to Apostille Convention, the High Court should issue and affix an Apostille Certificate to the document.  This document should not be submitted to the DIRCO – Legalisation Section.  If the Convention applies, an Apostille is the only formality that is required to establish the origin of the public document – no additional requirement may be imposed to authenticate the origin of the public document. 

Why is DIRCO so slow to attach an Apostille Certificate?

DIRCO has dramatically slowed down its service levels over the past two years due to Covid and load shedding.

Can I expedite my DIRCO Apostille Certificate?

 No. DIRCO apostille certificates cannot be expedited. They work on a first-come-first-served basis. Using a professional document legalisation company saves considerable time as they submit multiple batches of documents per week and can secure multiple appointments to pick up apostilled documents from DIRCO. 

What is a DIRCO Apostille?

The DIRCO Apostille is a South African government service that legalises documents for use in other countries. It certifies the authenticity of signatures, stamps, and seals on public documents issued in South Africa. The service applies to documents issued by government departments, academic institutions, and public entities.

What documents can be apostilled?

You can apostille public documents such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, educational certificates, diplomas, and police clearance certificates. The service does not apply to commercial or private documents such as contracts, wills, or trademarks. These documents require notarization by a South African notary public before they can be legalized for international use.

What is the process for apostilling documents?

The process for apostilling documents involves three steps. First, you need to ensure that your document is an original or a certified copy issued by the relevant authority. Second, you need to have the document notarized by a South African notary public. Finally, you can submit the notarized document to the DIRCO Apostille Service for legalization. You can either submit the document in person or through a courier service.

What are the requirements for apostilling documents?

To apostille your documents, you need to provide the following requirements:
• The original document or certified copy issued by the relevant authority
• A valid identification document
• A payment of the prescribed fee
• A completed application form

How long does it take to apostille documents?

The processing time for the DIRCO Apostille Service is typically five - ten working days from the date of submission. However, the processing time may vary depending on the number of documents and the workload at the time of submission.

What are the benefits of apostilling documents?

Apostilling your documents through the DIRCO Apostille Service ensures that your documents are recognized as legal and valid in other countries. This process saves you time and money compared to other methods of legalizing documents. It also provides a secure and efficient way of legalizing your documents.

Can apostilled documents be used in any country?

Yes, apostilled documents can be used in any country that is a signatory to the Hague Convention. Currently, there are over 100 countries that are signatories to the convention, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and most European countries.

How much does it cost to apostille documents?

The cost of apostilling documents through the DIRCO Apostille Service depends on the type and number of documents you want to legalize. The fee schedule is available on the DIRCO website.

Can I get my documents apostilled if I am not in South Africa?

Yes, you can get your documents apostilled if you are not in South Africa. You can either submit your documents through a courier service or appoint a representative in South Africa to submit the documents on your behalf.

The difference between DIRCO and High Court apostille explained

The distinction between DIRCO and High Court apostilles in South Africa is important to understand. Apostilles are specialised certificates attached to original documents to verify the legitimacy and authenticity of the stamp and signature on the document so that it can be used in member countries of The Hague Apostille Convention. However, there are differences between DIRCO and High Court apostilles.It is crucial to be knowledgeable about the legalization of official documents if you want to move or travel abroad and submit approved visa and immigration applications. Most often, you will need to have your documents apostilled or authenticated (grouped under the term legalization) for official use abroad. 

The apostille process is often required. To obtain an apostille certificate for your South African documents, you must first verify that the country you intend to use the documents in is a member country of the "Apostille Convention." Under this Convention, member countries have agreed to replace the old legalization process with a single formality: the issuance of an authentication certificate (i.e., the apostille) by an authority designated by SA (as the State of Origin) called the "Competent Authority." 

The Convention facilitates the exchange and verification of public documents, and an apostille is required for all contracting states of the Hague Convention. South Africa signed the convention agreement on August 3, 1994, and enforced it on April 30, 1995. Since South Africa is a member country of the Apostille Convention, documents originating from South Africa can be apostilled, and often must be apostilled, in other countries for use in South Africa. An apostille verifies only the stamp and signature of a document, not its contents. It only proves to another country's authorities that the document was issued by the correct government body and person within that department. The process of obtaining a DIRCO or High Court apostille depends on the document that needs to be apostilled. 

Only two places apostille and authenticate documents: DIRCO and the High Court. As a general rule, documents issued by a governmental department must go to DIRCO to be apostilled. If it is a document issued elsewhere, no legalization can be done on the document. In this case, you can pay for a notarized copy that contains the stamp and signature of a Notary. Then, that document must go to the High Court where that notary is registered. The same process applies to a document containing the stamp and signature of a Sworn Translator or a Decree of Divorce issued by a specific Magistrate registered with a particular High Court. Some documents, such as transcripts and Police Clearances/Certificates of Good Standing, cannot be apostilled since they are not issued by a government body in South Africa. 

The only way to satisfy the criteria for an apostille is to have a copy of the document notarised first. An apostille can then be issued on the Notary's stamp and signature, which can be used in cases where the country you wish to use your documents is also a member country of the Apostille Convention. Not all foreign countries recognize South African documents. Therefore, the apostille process serves as an authenticity indicator. Consular notarial services are also offered for South Africans abroad who want to use their official documents outside of South Africa. If the country you wish to use your documents in is not a member of the Apostille Convention, your documents will be authenticated with a certificate of authentication (as mentioned above), also known as embassy authentications or attestations.

Police Clearance CertificateApostilled at DIRCO
Birth Certificate

Apostilled at DIRCO
Marriage CertificateApostilled at DIRCO
Death CertificateApostilled at DIRCO
Divorce DecreeApostilled at High Court where divorce took place
Letter of No ImpedimentApostilled at DIRCO
South African University Degree CertificateSAQA and DIRCO
South African Diploma CertificateSAQA and DIRCO
Matric CertificateUmalusi/SAQA and DIRCO
Driver's Licence Verification Letter (RTMC)Apostilled at DIRCO
SANDF Military Exemption CertificateApostilled at DIRCO
TEFL CertificateNotary and High Court
Foreign Degree CertificateNotary and High Court
Background CheckNotary and High Court
Single Status AffidavitNotary and High Court
Power of AttorneyNotary and High Court
Copy of PassportNotary and High Court
Copy of Driver’s LicenseNotary and High Court
TranscriptsNotary and High Court
Authorisation LetterNotary and High Court
Travel Consent LetterNotary and High Court
Articles of IncorporationNotary and High Court
Certificate of Good StandingNotary and High Court
Certification of Free SaleNotary and High Court
Certification of OriginNotary and High Court
Corporate Power of AttorneyNotary and High Court
Commercial InvoiceNotary and High Court