Document Authentication / Certification
Which bodies may certify?In the Federal Republic of Germany, the following public bodies listed below may provide official authentication: Gemeindeverwaltungen, Landkreise and untere Verwaltungsbehörden, e.g. Ortsbürgermeister and Ortsvorsteher, Stadtverwaltungen (Rathaus), Kreisverwaltungen; also Gerichte, Notare. (Municipal administrations, county administrations and lower administration authorities, e.g. local mayors and officials, city administrations (city hall), district authorities; additionally, also courts and notaries.)
You might encounter difficulties with foreign certificates. In that case, please contact your country's consulate or embassy.
The following may not provide official authentication: charities, religious institutions (e.g. parish administrations), interpreters, health insurance companies, banking institutions, associations, the General Student Body etc, even if the authentication certificate was issued in another federal state.
Schools, state preparatory colleges (Studienkollegien) or universities may only authenticate certificates issued by them.
Abroad, the following bodies are authorized to provide official authentication: the diplomatic missions of the Federal Republic of Germany and authorities and notaries authorized to provide official authentication in the respective country.
What form must the certification have?Proper certification requires the certificate of authentication to bear an official seal and the certificate to bear the notary's signature. Each individual copy, e.g. the university entrance qualification, must be authenticated in this manner. If the holder's name is not listed on each page of the document, information on the holder and type of document must be included in the certificate of authentication, so there can be no doubt that the pages belong together to constitute a document. You may not enter missing information in this regard yourself.
Make sure that the document is not authenticated with a simple rubber stamp. Official stamps usually contain an emblem.
Multi-sheet authentication of several pages of a document is permissible if the pages are bound with string or seals. Multi-sheet authentication is also recognized when the pages are folded in at the top and bound with a stapling eye and so stamped that each page has an imprint from the pressure of the seal.
A copy of an officially certified copy is not considered to be authenticated and must be officially re-authenticated.
Color copies must also bear the embossed stamp of the authorized authentication authority. During enrollment, the original certificates should be submitted.
If the authentication does not meet the requirements (e.g. due to the opening of the multi-sheet authentication, subsequent handwritten entries and the like), the authenticated certificate will not be recognized. Incomplete authentication is also not permitted even if it was undertaken by an authorized body.
Please check carefully if the certification meets the requirements detailed above.