The question often arises whether an apostille is different from a notarized document. In short, both are distinct processes and should be treated separately.


Documents that have been notarized are only valid in South Africa. An apostille, on the other hand, is used for authenticating documents between different countries. Sometimes, however, documents must be notarized before they can receive an apostille, and we can tell you all about this process.

What Is the Difference Between a Notary and an Apostille?

Notaries verify the identity of the signer, then witness their signatures. In this way, the legitimacy of the signature can be confirmed. Notaries add a stamp or seal to the signature, indicating the day they witnessed it. An apostille verifies the authenticity of a document. In South Africa, they are issued by Dirco.


If you plan to start a job outside of South Africa and need your university records, first your university’s registrar will notarize your documents, and then Dirco will apostille them. 

Apostilles are required for the following documents:

  • Documents from the Department of Home Affairs, such as birth certificates, death certificates, marriage and divorce certificates as well as letters of no impediment to marriage
  • Documents related to academics, including degrees, diplomas, and matriculation certificates
  • Medical reports
  • Police clearance certificates
  • Divorce orders
  • Passport copies
  • Contracts and trade documents
  • Notarized Power of Attorney (POA) forms

Authentication can be done by:



In short, notarizations, apostilles, authentications, and notarizations are all the same thing. They serve as a way to verify South African documents that have to be legalized before they can be used in South Africa or abroad. Although having your documents apostilled is probably the fastest and easiest option, these kinds of documents cannot be used in every country. Your verification process might vary slightly depending on the country you are heading to.


Do you need help with getting legal documents apostilled? We can assist. For more information, feel free to get in touch with DocAssist today. 


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