To obtain an Apostille stamp on official documents in South Africa, you must apply at the High Court with the full unabridged document, or the Department of Foreign Affairs in Pretoria, if the document is unabridged.
An Apostille Stamp is required by Countries who signed and ratified the Hague Convention of 1961. This treaty simplified the process for signatory Convention countries to accept official documents from another signatory country bearing the Apostille stamp.
This treaty was signed by over 100 countries including South Africa, Namibia and Botswana, and known as the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirements of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents.
An official document originating from a Convention Country is accepted in all Convention Countries without the need for additional verification/certification by the diplomatic/consular representative of the country a person intends travelling to if it bears the Apostille Stamp, validated by the superior officer in the country and province where it was issued.
A document requiring verification in a non-Convention country will need to be legitimised by the Ministry of Justice of the originating country. The consular representative of the destination country, which is not a signatory to the Hague Convention, will then have to verify and validate the signature of the competent authority for said official document and is a time consuming, cumbersome process.
To obtain an Apostille stamp on official documents in South Africa, a participating country to the Hague Convention of 1961, the original public documents should be submitted to the High Court in the region which the person resides.
The consular representative of the Convention country which the person wishes to travel to will then verify the signature of the competent authority who notarised and Apostilled the document.
The person will need to complete an Apostille request to have the document notarised with the Apostille stamp by a foreign Convention country’s consular division, at a cost to the applicant of approximately R200.00.
All Parents travelling with children under 18 years of age, through the border gates into or out of South Africa, are required to present the child’s full unabridged birth certificate with an Apostille stamp to the South African customs official.
If only one parent is travelling with the child, an Affidavit by the other parent will be requested by the South African customs official, giving parental or legal consent for the child to travel with this parent. In the event the other parent is deceased, the death certificate notarised with the Apostille stamp must also be presented by the living parent at the border gate.
All adults accompanying a child travelling in or out of South Africa, who are not the parents of the child will require the full unabridged birth certificate, notarised with the Apostille stamp, and an Affidavit from the parents notarised with an Apostille stamp.
A copy of the parent's passports and their contact details are also necessary to enter or depart from South African border gates.
To obtain the Apostille stamp on a child’s original, full unabridged birth certificate originating from a foreign Convention country, or to attach a photo of the child to a foreign passport, one will apply with the Apostille request form, to the consulate of that originating Convention country in Pretoria. This document will then be processed and notarised by the originating country’s relevant authority and issued with the Apostille stamp.
Attaining an Apostille stamp on certified original foreign public documents is a lengthy process which can take up to 8 weeks to be issued by the originating foreign Convention country’s consulate. For this reason, it is advised to allow enough time for the documents to be Apostilled prior to international travel.
For your convenience, we have compiled a list of the countries which have become signatories to "The Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents".
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