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The Advantage of Creditors Requirement in Sequestration Proceedings

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) plays an important role in the process of legalising documents for acceptance and use in other countries.

sequestration south africa

Authentication of Documents for use in South Africa

People in various sectors often need to authenticate documents before they travel abroad with those documents. These can be students intending to study at foreign educational institutions, employment candidates who receive offers of employment abroad, businesspeople who need to submit documents for export purposes and so on.

Since it is difficult for foreign institutions abroad to verify the authenticity of documents emanating from other countries, the Hague Convention of 1961 was put in place to provide a simplified and uniform procedure with regards to how documents are legalised for use in member countries.

South Africa is a signatory to the Hague Convention and the Department of International Relations and Cooperation administers this process in South Africa.

Stakeholders such as the High Court and Notaries also have a role to play in the legalisation process. This article discusses the role played by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation.

DIRCO South Africa

Within the DIRCO itself the Legalisation Section is responsible for the legalisation of documents and the issuing of the Apostille Certificate (party to the Hague Convention) or Certificate of Authentication (not party to the Hague Convention).

The Apostille Certificate endorses the signature, correctness of the seal or stamp on the document and the capacity of the signatory. It does not provide the contents of the document being authenticated. The following applies with regards to the role of DIRCO in the legalisation of documents:


  1. The documents must be valid at the time when legalisation is sought;
  2. The country in which the documents are intended to be used must require an Apostille Certificate for the purpose;
  3. Some documents may first need an official stamp by the issuing institution before issuing of the Apostille Certificate e.g qualifications;
  4. Foreign documents must be legalised from the country of origin before legalisation in South Africa is done.

Accepted Documents

These include but not limited to;

  1. Unabridged birth certificates
  2. Marriage certificates
  3. Police Clearance Certificates
  4. Letters of No Impediment
  5. Powers of Attorney

Unacceptable Documents

  1. Abridged documents or computer printouts
  2. Marriage, birth, death or police clearance certified copies
  3. Certified copies of certificates of marital status and proof of citizenship
  4. Certified copies of travel documents or identity documents

Van Deventer & Van Deventer Incorporated – Attorneys Cape Town and Johannesburg

Contact us for assistance with the process of legalising documents for acceptance and use in foreign countries, or foreign documents for use within the Republic of South Africa.


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