"Notarising and Apostillising Your Documents: A Guide for South Africans" image

When dealing with official South African documents, it's important to know whether or not they need to be notarised and apostillised before they can be used abroad. In this article, we'll go over the requirements and the process of notarising and apostillising documents.

What is Notarisation?
Notarisation is the process of verifying the legitimacy of a document's signatures and contents by a notary public (a specialist attorney). This process is required when a South African document needs to be used in a foreign country. The notary public's signature on the document will need to be verified or authenticated for the foreign country to accept the document as valid.

What is Apostillisation?
Apostillisation is the process of authenticating a notarised document by issuing an Apostille certificate. This certificate confirms the document's validity and makes it legally recognized in foreign countries that are members of the Hague Convention.

Which Countries Require Apostillisation?
Not all countries require apostillisation, only those that are members of the Hague Convention. If the country where the South African document will be used is a member of this convention, the document will need to be apostillised.

How to Apostillise a Document

The process of apostillising a document is relatively straightforward. Here are the steps:
  1. Notarise the document: The first step is to have the document notarised by a notary public.
  2. Obtain an Apostille certificate: After the document has been notarised, an Apostille certificate can be obtained from the Department of International Relations and Cooperation.
  3. Submit the document and certificate: Finally, submit the notarised document and the Apostille certificate to the foreign country where the document will be used.

Notarising and apostillising documents is an important step for South Africans who need to use their official documents abroad. Whether an Apostille or a Certificate of Authentication is required will depend on the country where the document will be used. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can ensure that your document is legally recognized in the foreign country.