For documents to be signed or copied in South Africa but used outside South Africa, the documents must be authenticated. Authentication processes vary depending on the country in which the documents will be used.
The Apostille Process is a relatively simple process that can be followed by countries that are parties to the Hague Convention of October 5, 1961. You will find a list of participating countries here. Following are the steps involved in obtaining an Apostille:
Authentic copies of original documents must also be signed in the presence of a Notary Public in South Africa. An authentication certificate containing the Notary’s signature, seal and stamp will be attached to the signed document or copy thereof.
As soon as the Notaries authenticate the documents, they will send them to their local High Court where the Registrar will verify the Notary’s signature by signing the Apostille Certificate.
Once the Apostille certificate and the Notary’s certificate are attached to the copied or signed document, they can be used overseas.
Apostilles cannot be used when the country where the documents will be used is not a signatory to the Hague Convention. In this case, the process is more difficult:
You must take the original documents to the Notary Public in person and have them signed or copied in their presence. To the signed document or copy, the Notary attaches an authentication certificate, which includes his signature, seal and stamp.
Instead of an apostille, the Notary will submit authenticated documents to the High Court in the area where they practice and a certificate authenticating the Notary’s signature will be signed by the Registrar of the High Court.
Following that, documents must be forwarded to DIRCO in Pretoria, where the Registrar’s signature will be authenticated.
The final step is to send the documents to the embassy or consulate of the country in which they are intended to be used for authentication.
All four steps must be completed before documents can be used abroad.
The Apostille Process is acceptable when documents are copied or signed of South Africa and then used inside South Africa; alternatively, any authentication that complies with our High Court Rule 63 is acceptable.
The team at DocAssist can help you with the notarial authentication of documents with professional advice and assistance. Call us today!