Document Authetication and Legalisation

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What is document legalisation and authentication?

Document legalisation and authentication is the process of verifying the authenticity of a document so that it is accepted by immigration authorities in another country.
This process is required for a variety of documents, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, academic transcripts, and police clearance certificates.

Legalising documents means that official (public) documents executed within the Republic of South Africa for use outside the Republic of South Africa are affixed, sealed and signed either with an Apostille Certificate (where countries are signatory to the Apostille Convention) or with a Certificate of Authentication (where countries are not signatory to the Apostille Convention).

Legalisation therefore basically means the process followed by which the signature and seal on an official (public) document are verified.

Why do you need documents legalised and authenticated for Immigration, Visa and Permit Purposes?

Immigration authorities in other countries need to be able to verify the authenticity of documents submitted by applicants for visas or permits.

They need to be sure that the documents are genuine and that they have not been tampered with.

The person in the Country of Destination (where the document will be used) who receives the document cannot judge the authenticity of the document merely on face value as he/she may not be familiar with the identity or official capacity of the person signing the document or the identity of the authority whose seal and/or stamp it bears.

As a result, states/countries require that the origin of a foreign public document must be certified by an official who is familiar with the document.

It is against that background that the procedure known as “legalisation” was developed. Authentication therefore generally refers to the process of verifying or ‘authenticating’ the origin of a public document.

It is worth noting that ‘authentication’ is defined as the verification of any signature on a document.

Immigration Documentation Services

Navigating the world of immigration can be a complex and time-consuming task. Central to this process is the procurement and legalisation of essential documents, a step that is crucial for the successful application of visas and permits. This is where our Immigration Documentation Services come in.

At IBN Immigration Solutions, we are experts in handling a variety of immigration-related documentation requirements. We offer comprehensive services, tailored to both individuals and businesses, which include:

1. Document Procurement:

We assist in acquiring necessary personal and corporate documents. Personal documents can range from academic records to criminal history reports, while corporate documents may include powers of attorney or incorporation certificates. Each document holds specific value in the application process, and we ensure they are accurately obtained to facilitate your immigration journey.

2. Document Authentication:

Authenticating documents is an essential part of the visa application process. It involves validating the legitimacy of documents to ensure they are accepted by foreign authorities. With our robust understanding of the authentication process, we take the burden off your shoulders.

3. Document Legalisation and Apostille:

Some documents require additional verification through legalisation or an apostille. This step certifies that the document, once authenticated, is recognised in the country where the visa or permit is being applied for. Our team is proficient in understanding the nuances of these processes, making them smooth and hassle-free for our clients.

4. Document Translation Services:

Sometimes, documents need to be translated into another language as part of the application process. Our services include professional document translation to ensure that language barriers do not impede your application’s progress.

5. Consular Support:

We provide consular support in document procurement and legalisation matters, liaising with consulates and embassies as necessary.

By entrusting us with your document procurement and legalisation needs, you can focus on what matters most – preparing for your new life or business venture. Our commitment is to make the immigration process as seamless and hassle-free as possible, backed by our expertise and unwavering customer service.


Document Procurement and Authentication:
Document Procurement and Authentication
Document Apostille for Immigration:
Document Apostille for Immigration

What is an Apostille?

Before obtaining an Apostille Certificate for South African public documents, you’ll need to verify that the country that will be receiving the document (the Country of Destination) is a signatory/member/contracting state to the Apostille Convention (Hague Convention).

A public document issued in South Africa often must be apostilled or legalised (officially “authenticated” when it is going to be used in a foreign country. In fact, it is the signature and/or stamp on public documents that requires the Apostille.

Countries that are signatories to the Apostille Convention do not require documents to be legalised through the traditional process.
Instead, they can be authenticated with an Apostille.

What documents need to be legalised and authenticated for immigration purposes?

The specific documents that need to be legalised and authenticated will vary depending on the country where the visa or permit is being applied for.
However, some common documents that require legalisation and authentication for immigration purposes include:

  • Department of Home Affairs documents, such as birth, death and marriage certificates, as well as letters of no impediment to become married.
  • Academic documents such as degrees, diplomas, and matric certificates
  • Police clearance certificates
  • Medical reports
  • Notarised Power of Attorney (POA) forms
  • Divorce orders
  • Contracts and trade documents

Frequently Asked Questions

The process of legalisation and authentication will vary depending on the type of document and the country where it will be used. However, these documents can be authenticated by:

  • A Notary Public and the High Court
  • The SAQA, the Departments of Basic and Higher Education & Umalusi
  • The Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA)
  • The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO)
  • Relevant Embassies and Consulates
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