Welcome

Legalizations and certifications

Diverse Stempel an einer Halterung

Beglaubigung, © Photothek.de

Article

Legalization of foreign documents

Overview

Foreign documents or certificates are often only recognized by the authorities of a state if their authenticity and evidentiary value has been determined by a special procedure. A range of internationally accepted procedures has been developed for this purpose. In most cases, documents which are to be used in legal procedures in Germany have to be proven authentic through means of either an Apostille or a legalization.
An “apostille” is a certificate of authenticity issued by a designated authority in a contracting state to The Hague Convention on Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents of 5 October 1961. Singapore, unlike Germany, is not a contracting state to this convention. Thus apostilles cannot be issued for Singaporean documents. Singaporean public documents or certificates to be used in Germany need to be "legalized".

The term "legalization" refers to the confirmation of authenticity of a foreign public document or certificate by a competent consular official of the state in which the document is to be used, i.e. the legalization of a marriage certificate issued by the Republic of Singapore, which is to be used in Germany will be legalized by the German Embassy in Singapore.

For the legalization of German documents you wish to use in Singapore please contact the Embassy of Singapore in Berlin or the administration in Germany that issued the document.

The information provided below is detailed for the different types of Singaporean documents or certificates which are typically legalized by the German Embassy.

Legalization of Singaporean birth, marriage and death certificates

Singaporean civil status certificates (e.g. birth, marriage or death certificates) do not include a handwritten signature. Therefore, they need to be authenticated by the competent authority prior to the legalization by the German Embassy.

Please note: The German Embassy can only legalize original, non-laminated certificates (no photocopies). If your original certificate is laminated, please contact the registrar who issued the document to receive a non-laminated extract of the certificate.

Step 1: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Singapore has to stamp the original certificate. The stamp ("true signature") is the authentification of the signature of the originator / registrar of the document.

Step 2: Get the legalization from the German Embassy. The legalization is done on the spot during the visiting hours. The fee is 25 €. The fees have to be paid when submitting the application. The fees will be converted into SGD according to the current exchange rate of the Embassy. You may pay in cash or with credit card (Visa, Master). If you pay with credit card, the transaction will be processed in EUR. Further bank fees may apply.

Legalization of Singaporean Court or ACRA documents

These documents are automatically generated and do not contain a signature or seal. Therefore, they need to be authenticated by the competent Authority prior to the legalization by the German Embassy.

Step 1: Get a cover sheet of the Registrar stating that the document is genuine. The Registrar has to sign and seal the sheet.

Step 2: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Singapore has to stamp the original certificate. The stamp ("true signature") is the authentification of the signature of the originator / registrar of the document.
Step 3: Get the legalization from the German Embassy. The legalization is done on the spot during the visiting hours. Please bring the original document with the stamp of the MFA. The fee is 45 €. The fees have to be paid when submitting the application. The fees will be converted into SGD according to the current exchange rate of the Embassy. You may pay in cash or with credit card (Visa, Master). If you pay with credit card, the transaction will be processed in EUR. Further bank fees may apply.

Legalization of notary documents

Step 1: The Singapore Academy of Law has to stamp the original certificate. The stamp is the authentification of the signature of the notary.

Step 2: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Singapore has to stamp the original certificate. The stamp ("true signature") is the authentification of the signature of the originator / registrar of the document.

Step 3: Get the legalization from the German Embassy. The legalization is done on the spot during the visiting hours. Please bring the original document with the stamp of the MFA and the Academy of Law. The fee is 45 €. The fees have to be paid when submitting the application. The fees will be converted into SGD according to the current exchange rate of the Embassy. You may pay in cash or with credit card (Visa, Master). If you pay with credit card, the transaction will be processed in EUR. Further bank fees may apply.

Certification of signatures

The certification of the signature is the "simpler" form of a notarization (as opposed to the full notarization of a document). By certifying the signature the consular officer confirms that the person indicated in the document signed it in front of him.

The signature has to be given in person in the presence of the consular officer or has to be acknowledged in his presence. No advice about the legal meaning of the document to be signed is provided.

In many cases, the signature certification is sufficient for the document to become effective.

Documents

The following documents have have to be submitted:

To get your signature certified, please bring w further informationith you:
1.    The document to be signed
2.    Valid passport
3.    Residence permit for Singapore
4.    for declarations of approval: the contract which has been signed earlier in Germany
5.    if applicable, power of attorney for the company / person etc.

In individual cases further documents may be required.

Procedure

Signature certifications can be done at the German Embassy, but they are usually also recognized under German law if done by a Singaporean notary public. Please make sure in advance that the German authority, to which the document shall be presented, does accept this procedure. Authorities in Germany may request a legalization in addition to the signature certification done by a Singaporean notary public.

Fees

The fee for the signature certification depends on the value of the legal transaction for which the document is needed and ranges between 25 and 250 EUR. The fees have to be paid when submitting the document to be signed.
The fee is converted into SGD according to the daily exchange rate at the German Embassy. You may pay in cash or with credit card (Visa, Master). If you pay with credit card, the transaction will be processed in EUR. Further bank fees may apply.


Identity verification for bank accounts in Germany

Following the amendment of the German Money Laundering Act the German missions abroad can no longer notarize signatures or perform identity verification to open a new account, for loan applications or similar cases. This also applies to credit card applications.

Please contact the bank which sent you the documents on how to proceed.

Exempt from this new ruling are blocked accounts for foreign students who must apply for a student visa before entering Germany and who need to open an account in Germany in order to prove sufficient financial means for their stay in Germany. In these cases only, the German Embassy in Singapore is allowed to notarize signatures or to perform identity verification.

Further information

For further information on certifications in German, see Beglaubigungen