Attestation/Legalization and Apostille

Although the words document Attestation/Legalization and Apostille are used interchangeably, they refer to the separate and different process of authenticating documents originated from one country for use in another country.

Document Attestation/Legalization or Apostille is compulsory when you move to another country for various purposes like higher studies, employment, etc. You are required to attest your educational and non-educational documents to prove their legitimacy.

Document Attestation/Legalization or Apostille is undertaken to prove the genuineness of a document- for the purpose of attaining a Visa, Permits, or Business in your target country and more. Depending on the document and the country, the procedures for attestation may differ.

Legalization of Document

When presenting a document originating in one country for use in another, often the receiving party requires legalization of the document to verify the authenticity of the signature and seals of the public official who executed, issued, or certified a copy of the document.

What is being legalized is actually the signature and stamp or seal of a public official, for instance For a Private document to be legalized, the first step is to notarize an individual’s signature on the document. Since a notary is a public official, their signature and seal can then be authenticated and legalized.

The same applies to the public documents, those issued by Governmental bodies or institutions, what is being legalized is the Signature of the public officer who issued it and the seal of the institution.

Procedure for Legalization of Document

Generally, legalization involves Two or three main institutions, depending on the document to be legalized, however legalization procedure may vary depending on what is required by issuing country or the receiving/destination country. You may contact us for more information on procedure and requirement on a specific African country.

As mentioned above, for a private document, it must first be notarized by the Notary Public of the Issuing Country, this will not apply to the Public document.

From there the document has to be taken to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the issuing country, where the Ministry will authenticate the signature of Public official issuing the document, by putting its stamp and signature, from there the document has to be taken to the Consular Mission of the receiving country, which will also authenticate the signature and Stamp of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the hosting country.

Finally, the document will be valid and acceptable for use in the destination country after it has been authenticated by Mission Consular of the destination country within the issuing country.

Requirements for legalization of Document

What is required may vary depending on the document to be legalized, and what is required the receiving/destination country. However, generally the following are the information and documentation required for the document to be legalized;

  1. Original Document (Certified copy may be acceptable in some countries)
  2. Identification of the person requesting legalization.



An Apostille is a type of attestation in which public documents are legalized in a particular format that is acceptable in all nations that belong to the Hague Convention.

The October 5th,1961 Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents, which abolishes the requirement of diplomatic and consular legalization for public documents originating in one Convention country for use in another Convention Country. Under normal circumstances, once the public document is apostilled, it does not require to be attested further from the concerned Consular Mission.

Documents issued in a Convention country which have been certified by a Convention Apostille are entitled to recognition in any other Convention country without any further authentication.

Public documents include:


  • Documents emanating from an authority or an official connected with the courts or tribunals of the state, including those emanating from a public prosecutor, a clerk or a process server;
  • Administrative and notarial documents; and
  • Official certificates which are placed on documents signed by persons in their private capacity, such as official certificates recording the registration of a document or the fact that it was in existence on a certain date and official; and notarial authentications of signatures.


At Abbay Attorneys, we provide the highest quality of attestation/legalization services in most African Countries. We handle attestation of Personal Documents such as Birth or Death Certificate, Marriage Certificate, Experience/ Employment Certificate and of Commercial documents such as Articles of association, financial documents, Commercial invoice or Bills of lading.

We also, provide, translation services in more than 20 Languages and Intellectual Property Services in more than 50 African countries. For more information about Document Attestation and Apostille and other services in Africa please Get In Touch with us and we are surely to get back to you within 24 hours.