Emigrating: You’ll definitely need documents apostilled or authenticated. Image: AdobeStock

Emigrating: You’ll definitely need documents apostilled or authenticated

Are you planning to emigrate from South Africa? Your documents have to be apostilled, so that you can use them legally outside of SA.


Emigrating: You’ll definitely need documents apostilled or authenticated. Image: AdobeStock

If you’re a South African planning to emigrate, you need to prepare yourself for a lot of administrative tasks.  And one of these tasks includes getting your official South African documents apostilled or authenticated for legal use abroad. 

In today’s post, we’ll be looking at the importance of having your documents legalised for use outside of the Republic. 

What are the documents South Africans will definitely need to be authenticated or apostilled when emigrating?

Every member of your family travelling outside of South Africa will need an authenticated copy of their Birth Certificate. Anyone older than 18 must also submit a valid Police Clearance Certificate, which proves the existence or absence of a criminal record. Married couples will have to submit authenticated copies of their marriage certificates. 

Why are apostilles or authentication stamps so important?

Apostilles and attestations (authentication) make it easy for foreign authorities to verify the authenticity and validity of your South African documents.  Once a document has been apostilled or attested, it confirms that South African officials have ensured the document’s originality, validity, and authenticity. When your documents have been apostilled or attested, they can legally be used outside of South Africa.

Where will my documents be attested or apostilled?

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) is in charge of the apostille process, but for attestations or authentications, your documents must go to the High Court.  If you are travelling to a country that is part of the Hague Convention, your documents will have to be legalised for official use abroad by means of the Apostille seal

If the country you are travelling to is not a Hague Convention member, the legalisation process is a bit more tedious. It has to be completed by means of attestation or authentication by the high court. Both methods of legalisation make it easier for authorities abroad to verify the authenticity of South African documents. 

Can my apostil or authentication seal expire?

Although the apostil seal and attestation stamps do not expire, certain documents, like the Police Clearance Certificate, are only deemed valid for certain periods of time. These validity periods vary from one country to another. 

In the event that your documents are older than what the authorities requested, it is possible to get your documents reprinted. Reprints also feature new date stamps. But this option does not always work. Reprints are a very fickle thing and should be seen as a last resort for your documentation pack.

How do I apply to have my documents attested or apostilled?

South Africans that plan on emigrating might not have the luxury of time on their side, and although you can go through the legalisation process on your own, it might take months to obtain your legalised documents from the High Court or DIRCO. 

Apostil.co.za is a document assistance service provider specializing in authentications and apostilles. They work directly with DIRCO and the High Court to ensure that they can obtain authentication and apostil seals on behalf of their clients in the shortest time possible. 

ALSO READ: How to get unabridged birth and marriage certificates from Home Affairs in South Africa