Apostille certificates for South African legal documents are only valid when the country of destination is a member of the Apostille Convention. When a document issued in South Africa is to be used outside of the country, it needs to be apostilled or legalised. The Apostille is required for signatures or stamps on public documents.


Apostilles are often required for legal South African documents before they can be used overseas since South Africa is a member of the Hague Convention. Member countries of this Convention have agreed to eliminate the legalisation process and replace it with the Apostille, which is a single document authentication procedure. 


The Apostille is a separate page (which is imperative if you need translations as they charge per page) that is affixed to your original document. It identifies the legal status of the person issuing and signing the document and contains the stamp thereon. By attaching a ribbon, the Apostille page verifies the signature on the document and the stamp attached.


In the country of origin, the person who receives the document may not be familiar with the identity of the person signing the document or the identity of the authority whose seal and the stamp are on it. It is impossible to judge the authenticity of the document at face value. Consequently, countries require an official who is familiar with the document to verify the origin of a foreign public document. 

Do I Need an Appointment for Apostille?

The act of apostilling a document involves verifying its origin and making it available to the authorities of the country in which it will be used or submitted. With an Apostille Certificate or with a Certificate of Authenticity, they are affixed, sealed, and signed. 


Foreign consular or diplomatic representatives from South Africa can only legalise your official South African documents in their country of accreditation for use abroad if those documents have been legalised by the appropriate foreign competent authority. Diplomatic, consular, or other representatives of South Africa abroad are not permitted to issue an Apostille, only Authentication Certificates. 


In the last year, DIRCO’s service levels have dramatically decreased. Processing an apostille used to take 1-2 days, now it takes 4-6 weeks. 


You must use a courier service or agency such as DocAssist to gain access to DIRCO as a member of the public. It is not possible to make an appointment to submit documents to DIRCO.


You can count on us to help you, and we are fast! We can handle authentications, legalisations and apostilles in record timing. Get in touch with DocAssist today.


Chat with us on WhatsApp