Official Certification & Official Translation
An apostille is not required.
1. What is an official certification?
An official certification is an official confirmation by specially authorized persons/authorities that the copy of a document corresponds to the original document.
2. What is an official translation?
An official translation is a certified translation (or sworn translation) that has been made by a court-sworn translator. These persons are allowed to only certify the translations they have made themselves, but no other documents!
A certified/sworn translator is a person with a special license as a sworn or publicly appointed/authorized translator. Such a sworn translator is entitled to officially translate documents, i.e. to make so-called sworn or court-approved translations.
3. How to get an official certification?
- If you need an official certification, you have to go with the original to one of the responsible authorities (consulate, embassy, notary, etc.)
>> See below: Who is authorized to do an official certification?
- The official certification of the original document will be done there, i.e. a copy of the original will be made. On this copy will be put the official attestation clause, as well as date, the signature and the official seal by the responsible officer.
>> See below: How has an official certification to look like?
- This certified copy you have to submit as it is, with the original signature and seal. Copies thereof are not accepted!
4. Who is authorized to do an official certification?
- in Germany
Responsible for issuing an official certification in Germany are all authorities and offices authorized to carry an official seal, e.g. residents' registration offices, the school or the university that issues the graduation certificate, as well as notaries, etc.
Not recognized are certifications of health insurance companies, lawyers, accountants, clubs, certified accountants etc.
- If you come from an EU-country:
An official certification of graduation certificates, documents, and other proofs is sufficient if it is carried out by a notary, by the school or the university that issues the graduation certificate.
- If you come from a non EU-country:
The official certification must be done by a German consulate or embassy or by an authorized notary.
Important: Certified/sworn translators are not allowed to issue an official certification!
Certified/sworn translators are allowed to only certify the translations they have made themselves, but no other documents!
5. How has an official certification to look like?
- An official certification must at least contain:
1. the attestation clause ("Beglaubigungsvermerk")
This is a clause confirming that the copy corresponds to the original document.
2. the original signature of the responsible person
3. the original official seal
The official seal can be a stamp or an embossed seal.
An official seal usually contains an emblem.
A simple stamp is not enough!
4. the date of issue
- The following has to be noted:
- For multi-page documents, it is sufficient if only one page is provided with the attestation clause and the signature. In these cases, however, all the pages of the document must be fanned, stapled, and sealed so that a part of the official seal leaves marks on each page.
- Each page can also be certified separately. In this case, care must be taken that the name of the holder of the certificate is printed on each side of the original. If not indicated everywhere, the name must be included in the attestation clause together with a reference to the type of certificate.
- If there is a copy on the front and back of a page, and if the content of both pages is relevant, the attestation clause must refer to the front and back (e.g. "This is to certify that the copy in front/in the back matches the original."). If this is not the case, front and back of the page must be certified separately.
- If there is an embossed seal in the paper on the original, this will usually not be visible on the copy. The attestation clause on the copy has to state additionally that the original document contained the embossing seal of the issuer of the document.