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01.12.2017 - Article

You have to sign a document in front of a German Consular Officer? The following information was compiled to illustrate the two different forms of notarial certification according to German law, signature certification and notarisation of documents.

Certification of a Signature

By certifying a signature, the consular officer confirms that the person indicated in the document was physically present and signed it in front of him or her. It is a simple form of authenticating a signature.

The signature must be executed in person in the presence of the consular officer or must be acknowledged in his presence. No advice about the legal meaning of the document to be signed is provided.

In many cases, the certification of a signature is sufficient for the required document.

Important Notice:

For the certification of a signature you may come to the German mission during opening hours, without prior appointment.

To have your signature certified please bring with you:

  • the document to be signed (for declarations of approval: the contract which has been signed previously in Germany)
  • a valid, official photo-ID (passport or ID)
  • if you are not acting on your own behalf, but on behalf of e.g. a company, a ward, etc., please bring a document (original or certified copy) stating your power of attorney for the company / person, etc.

The fee for the signature certification depends on the value of the legal transaction for which the document is needed and ranges between 20,-- Euro and 250,-- Euro. The fee is converted into BWP according to the daily exchange rate at the German mission and must be paid in cash.

Full notarisation

Full notarisation will provide stronger legitimisation of a document. While notarising a deed, the consular officer also confirms the identity of the person appearing, but he will furthermore provide advice to the person signing regarding the legal meaning and consequences of the declaration to be notarised.

On the basis of the draft by a German notary/lawyer or the information provided by you, the German mission will prepare the notarisation and set up an appointment with you.

Examples of legal transactions which require full notarisation are:

  • application for a certificate of inheritance
  • application for a letter of executorship
  • deed regarding acknowledgement of paternity
  • deed regarding child support
  • custody declaration according to German law

To have a document fully notarised, please bring with you:

a valid, official photo-ID (passport)

additional documents as required (prior consultation with the notarising consular agent is mandatory)

in case you are acting on behalf of e.g. a company, a ward, etc., also bring a document (original or certified copy) stating your power of attorney for that company / person, etc.

The fee for notarisation will depend on the value of the legal transaction for which it is required (you can enquire about the fee in advance). The fee, calculated in Euro, will be converted into BWP according to the daily exchange rate at the German mission and must be paid in cash.

Certified copies

The German Embassy can only certify documents originating in Germany.

In order to certify copies please bring with you:

the original document(s)

the number of copies to be certified.

The minimum fee for the certification of copies is 10,- Euro, the amount may increase due to an increased number of copies.

The fee is converted into BWP according to the daily exchange rate at the Embassy and has to be paid in cash. For certification of copies you may come to the German Embassy during opening hours, without prior appointment.

No certified translations

The Embassy does not translate documents nor certify translations of documents. Translations can only be certified by sworn translator.

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