Obtaining of Apostilles
When used abroad, German notarial deeds often require an apostille or legalisation, which we obtain on request from the competent authorities.
An apostille is sufficient for the use of a German notarial deed in one of the signatory states to the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents of 5 October 1961. The signatory states include all EU countries. An apostille confirms the authenticity of the signature, the capacity in which the signatory has acted and, if applicable, the authenticity of the seal or stamp which the document bears.
For German notarial deeds an apostille is issued upon application by the president of the competent regional court (Regional Court of Berlin) according to a model specified in the Hague Convention.
For the use of a German notarial deed in non-signatory states to the Hague Convention, however, legalisation is required. Legalisation means the confirmation of the authenticity of a deed by the consul of the state in which the deed will be used. Legalisation is carried out by the respective diplomatic representation of the foreign state in Germany. In the case of notarial deeds, an advance certification (Vorbeglaubigung) by the president of the competent regional court (Regional Court of Berlin) is required. Some foreign states require a final certification (Endbeglaubigung) by the Federal Foreign Office (Auswärtiges Amt) in addition to the advance certification for the legalisation of German documents. The Federal Foreign Office has transferred the task of final certification of German documents to the Federal Office of Administration (Bundesverwaltungsamt) in Cologne.
If the Federal Republic of Germany has concluded a bilateral agreement with the state in which the document is to be used, according to which documents from the other state are exempted from legalisation and if this agreement also covers the relevant document, neither legalisation nor the affixing of an apostille is required. Such bilateral agreements exist, for example, with Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy and Austria.