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Where to Certify Documents in Germany

When submitting your application, you must attach the following documents in the form of certified true copies. Please DO NOT attach the original certificates! Typical documents requiring certification are applications for certificates of inheritance, acknowledgement of paternity and affidavits. In Germany, you have probably heard the term «certified copy» or the phrase «you must have your documents/certificates certified». In particular, when you apply to the university or civil registry office, you must present a certified copy of your diplomas or documents. Learn what a certified copy is and how to create a certified copy of your documents. Copies of certain documents may be certified as true copies only by the authority which issued the original document. These include, for example, extracts from the land register, extracts from the commercial register, extracts from the register of associations, birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates and other civil status certificates, as well as information from the real estate cadastre. For some business transactions, signature authentication is not sufficient. The document must be notarized by the consular officer.

Notarization cannot therefore be carried out by either a German honorary consul or a notary. Often you will need to have your documents notarized (verified/confirmed/proven) by someone with the legal authority to say they are true and correct. A certified document is a copy of an original document. Certified means that a German authority assures with stamp and signature on the copy that this copy corresponds to the original of the document. Sometimes, even abroad, Germans and foreigners have to certify documents or have signatures or manual signatures, transcripts or copies certified. Notaries and local authorities cannot always help if the document in question is needed in Germany. Photocopies may be certified at the embassy, in one of the consulates general, by an honorary consul or notary, if the original document with the corresponding copies is presented. If the copies are notarized by a notary, please ensure that the notary confirms on the copy that it is an authentic copy of the original (for example, with the note «I confirm that it is an authentic copy of the original»). The following information is intended to show that there are two different ways of creating official documents in German law: the form of certification of a signature and the form of notarial certification. In both cases, a document is officially signed.

The legislator and legal practice determine when the form is implemented. The notarization fee for a signature depends on the value of the transaction and can range from 20 euros to 250 euros. Fees can be paid by credit card in euros (Visa or Mastercard) or cash in US dollars at the daily exchange rate of the respective German mission abroad. Translations of documents must be prepared and duly certified by a sworn translator for the respective language in the Federal Republic of Germany. The translator`s seal must contain the text «publicly appointed sworn translator» or similar. The language for which the translator is legally accredited must be identified from the stamp. A certified copy is a copy of a document that has been legally certified in Germany. This means that the copy is accompanied by a stamp proving that it is identical to the original document. Many authorities do not want original documents, but a certified copy of them – because the originals must be protected against loss or other damage.

Please send us only certified copies of your original certificates and translations. Your documents will remain in the possession of international admissions for the duration of the application/registration process and cannot be returned to you, even temporarily. As a general rule, you can have all documents that come from or are intended for an authority certified. If you want to certify a document that doesn`t meet these criteria, you need to be creative. You may want to create an archive of certified true copies of your documents in case you need them later to go to a government agency. That way, you have a justification. «The conformity of the above copy/the copy accompanying it with the original of the (name of certificate) is officially certified.» The place, date, signature and seal of the certifying authority shall be affixed in accordance with the certification clause. Notaries are also authorized to certify copies of deeds. On the other hand, lawyers, auditors, tax consultants, associations and translators/interpreters do not. Certified translators are only allowed to make certified translations and cannot certify copies of documents. In these contracts, it was agreed to abolish the legalization of certain types of documents or to replace it with a provisional legalization procedure.

In addition, there are special international treaties dealing with documents used in the context of mutual legal assistance or trade. The official certification of documents can be carried out by any German authority with an official seal – for example, courts or municipal and municipal authorities. However, not all municipalities in Germany are willing to have copies of documents certified in a foreign language. If the German authorities do not accept notarial certification by a notary and insist that the documents be notarized by a German consular representation, please contact the German consular representation that deals with your home country in the United States to make an appointment. Not sure which of our 9 German missions abroad serves your home country in the United States? Please go to the Consulate search tool Important: Translators are not allowed to certify documents in their original language. You can have the documents you submit officially certified in your home country or in Germany. Here you will find a short guide on what certified true copies should look like, who can issue them and what documents need to be translated. Please carefully check that all documents submitted for certification meet the criteria listed below. Outside Germany, copies of documents can be officially certified by: Regular translators cannot issue you a certified copy of your documents. Some of them may offer this, but the result will be false and will not be accepted by the authorities. Be sure to contact a sworn translator if you want to have your documents translated and certified. Sworn translators can be found, for example, at the or

Bring the original document with you to the office appointmentIf you wish to have a copy of a document certified, you must bring the original document with you to the office. The original must be unchanged. If the document has gaps, cracks, blockages, additions or is treated with corrective fluid, it will not be certified by the authorities. The original must also be complete. For example, if you only submit the first page of a multi-page document, it will also not be certified by the authorities. Please send us only certified true copies of your original documents and their translations and never the original documents. FAU accepts no liability for loss of application documents. German documents to which none of the conventions referred to in points II to IV applies may be legalised. Legalization is carried out by the diplomatic or consular mission of the country where the document is to be used. It is up to the foreign mission to decide how to decide whether a document is authentic. German civil status certificates and marriage certificates issued according to the model of the International Civil Status Commission (ICCS) are exempt from any formal requirement in the other Contracting States.