Navigating the complex waters of document legalisation can be daunting, especially when it comes to the process of Apostille. These complexities can involve understanding the unique requirements of various jurisdictions, managing the formalities required by different government bodies, and ensuring the authenticity and legality of your documents in an international context. Our team of lawyers has expertise in dealing with the Apostille process, which is the procedure of legalising a document for international use according to the Hague Convention. This ensures a seamless experience for you, and the provision of expert legal assistance with all your Apostille needs.

What Is Apostille?

The Apostille is an international certification system derived from the Hague Convention of 1961. It’s a globally recognised process that verifies the authenticity of a document, effectively certifying it for international use. This stamp or certificate, once attached to your document, certifies its authenticity in the 116 countries that participate in the Apostille Convention.

What Is the Purpose of Apostille?

The purpose of the Apostille process is to abolish the requirement of diplomatic or consular legalisation for foreign public documents. This means that once a document is apostilled, it can be used in any country that recognises the Apostille without further legalisation being required. This simplifies the process of using documents such as degrees, diplomas, marriage certificates, and legal records internationally.

What Does It Mean to Apostille a Document?

To Apostille a document means to attach an Apostille stamp or certificate to the document. This process confirms that the signature, seal, or stamp on the document is genuine and authentic. This usually involves presenting the original document to a competent authority who then verifies the authenticity and attaches the Apostille.

What Documents Require an Apostille Stamp?

Documents that require an Apostille stamp can vary greatly depending on the country and the nature of the transaction or purpose for which they’re intended. Here are some common documents that frequently require an Apostille:

  • Birth Certificates: These are often required for immigration purposes, international adoptions, or marrying abroad.
  • Marriage Certificates: If you’re planning to live, work, or purchase property in a foreign country, your marriage certificate may require an Apostille.
  • Death Certificates: These may need an Apostille for overseas inheritance proceedings.
  • Diplomas and Transcripts: Students studying abroad or professionals working in a foreign country often need their educational documents Apostilled.
  • Criminal Background Checks: These may require an Apostille for overseas employment or for obtaining visas in some countries.
  • Power of Attorney: If you’re authorizing someone to act on your behalf in a foreign country, this document may need an Apostille.
  • Business Documents: Corporate documents like articles of incorporation, financial statements, or patents often require an Apostille for international business transactions.
  • Court Documents: Legal rulings, adoption papers, or other court documents often need an Apostille to be recognized abroad.

The Convention is only applicable to public documents. A public document is defined as –

  • Documents originating from a government or official associated with the courts or tribunal of the State, including those originating from a public prosecutor, clerk of the court or sheriff;
  • Administrative documents;
  • Notarial deeds;
  • An official certificate attached to documents that were signed by persons in their private capacities, such as an official certificate to confirm the registration of a document or the fact that it existed on a certain date and official and notarial authentication of signatures.

The convention does not apply to –

  • Documents executed by diplomatic or consular agents; and
  • Administrative documents dealing directly with commercial or customs activities.

DIRCO Apostille

In South Africa, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) is one of the competent authorities responsible for issuing Apostilles. This is generally the case for public documents such as birth or marriage certificates, or documents signed by a notary public. Our Specialist Apostille Lawyers have extensive experience in dealing with DIRCO, and can efficiently expedite this process for you.

High Court Apostille

In some instances, the Apostille can also be issued by the High Court. This is typically the case for commercial documents or court-issued documents. As with the DIRCO Apostille, our team of lawyers can guide you through the entire High Court Apostille process.

Top Legal Representation From Lawyers That Specialise In Document Apostille In South Africa

Whether you need a DIRCO Apostille, High Court Apostille, or advice about the Apostille process in general, our team of lawyers who specialise in Apostille at Burger Huyser Attorneys is ready to assist you. With our vast experience, we offer unparalleled expertise in the field of document legalisation, ensuring your documents are appropriately recognised in foreign jurisdictions.

Our commitment is to simplify the Apostille process for you. We provide expert guidance and take care of the complexities involved, allowing you to focus on what matters most. If you require your documents to be internationally recognised without any hassle or delays, reach out to our Lawyers specialising in Apostille today. Trust us to handle your document legalisation requirements with the highest degree of professionalism and diligence.


Choose Burger Huyser Notarial Attorneys as we have gained vast experience in dealing with these matters over the years. We pride ourselves on delivering and sharing our experience, passion and integrity.