Apostille Germany 🇩🇪

Apostille Germany

What is a German apostille?

The German apostille is a stamp, the form, content, and purpose of which are defined by the 1961 Apostille Convention. The German apostille contains information in the German language.

Applying an apostille is a simplified and more direct process, as consulate staff are not involved in the authentication process.

Germany signed the Hague “Apostille” Convention on October 5, 1961. The apostille came into effect in Germany on February 13, 1966. The Convention initially applied to West Germany and later to the entire territory of Germany. Documents obtained before February 1966 cannot be apostilled. Such documents must be converted into new standard documents.

It should be noted that many countries Germany originally did not want to recognize as part of the Apostille and did not recognize their Apostille.

To date, Germany does not recognize apostilled documents from certain countries. Such documents are subject only to consular legalization:

The convention in effect in Germany does not apply to documents issued in the countries: Azerbaijan, the Republic of Moldova, Burundi, the Dominican Republic, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Mongolia, Morocco, Pakistan, Paraguay, the Philippines, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Uzbekistan.

Apostille Authorities in Germany

Where to obtain (make, apply) an apostille in Germany? It all depends on the documents you want to apostille.

Federal documents:

Federal Foreign Office (from January 1, 2023); Federal Administrative Agency (until December 31, 2022).

Exception: for documents from the Federal Patent Court and the German Patent and Trademark Office, the apostille is applied by the chairman of the German Patent and Trademark Office.

Documents of the federal states of Germany:

In the federal states, responsibility is not regulated uniformly. Therefore, in specific cases, it is recommended to inquire from the issuing document who can apply the “Hague apostille”. Typically, for:

Continuing with the translation:

a) Documents issued by administrative bodies (except judicial administration agencies):
– Ministries (Senate Departments) of Internal Affairs; district presidents; District President; district government;
– in Berlin: The State Department for Civil and Regulatory Affairs;
– in Lower Saxony: Police Departments;
– in Rhineland-Palatinate: Supervisory Service Department in Kaiserslautern;
– in Saxony: Regional Offices in Chemnitz, Dresden, and Leipzig;
– in Saxony-Anhalt: The State Administration in Magdeburg;
– in Thuringia: The State Administration in Weimar;

b) Acts of judicial administration bodies, courts of general jurisdiction (civil and criminal courts), and notaries:
– Ministry (Senate Departments) of Justice;
– Chairpersons of regional (local) courts.

c) Documents of other courts (except regular courts):
– Ministry of Internal Affairs (Senate Departments);
– District presidents;
– District government (local agencies);
– Ministry of Justice (Senate departments);
– Chairpersons of regional (district) courts.

What does the German Apostille look like?

Photo of the German apostille:
Apostille in Germany

The apostille certification is made by printing, impression, or typographic printing or by applying a stamp on a self-adhesive paper document.

Text of the German apostille

(Convention de La Haye du 5 october 1961)
1. Land: Bundesrepublik Deutschland

Diese öffentliche Urkunde

2. Ist unterschrieben von: ___________________________

3. in seiner/ihrer Eigenschaft als: ________________

4. sie ist versehen mit dem Stempel/Siegel des/der: ________________


5. in Verden/Aller: __________________

6. am: __________________

7. durch den Präsidenten des Landgerichts: ________________

8. unter Nr.: ____________________

9. Siegel/Stempel

10. Unterschrift In Vertretung ______________________________

Translation of a German apostille into English

(The Hague Convention of October 5, 1961)

1. Country: Federal Republic of Germany

This official document

2. Signed by: __________________ (by whom, last name, first name)

3. Acting in the capacity of: _________________ (position)

4. Seal:

Certified by the seal

5. Location: _______________ (city)

6. Date: __________________

7. Organization: ______________________

8. No. ____________________ 

9. Seal / stamp

(Note from BUSINESS LAWYERS SRL: Seal of the authorized body to certify apostilles)

Why is an apostille needed for German documents if they are already certified by German officials?

There are many officials who certify documents, which means many signatures and seals that change quite often. To ensure the originality and authenticity of a document, to avoid forgeries, it is necessary to check if the official’s signature matches the samples of his/her signature and seal.

With such a volume of documents, it is very difficult to check signatures and seals on them in a short time. Especially for those who accept German documents abroad.

To facilitate document processing, the Apostille procedure was introduced. Several German officials verify the signatures of various German bureaucrats and affix an apostille. This speeds up the consideration of documents abroad and also reduces waiting times for applicants. In such a system, local officials responsible for the Apostille find it easier to verify signatures, seals, and the documents themselves (both their templates and content).

There are two procedures for such verification. The first procedure – the most secure and tested – is the legalization of documents. A document is signed by one official (who issues it), then the document (the official’s signature) is certified by a ministry official (department or regional, another German authority), and then the last signature is checked and certified by the consulate of the country where the documents are to be presented. Verification is based on a compiled database of signatures. You can find the websites of German consulates at this link >>.

The second procedure is simplified and bypasses at least one link in this chain. This procedure was established by the 1961 Apostille Convention. An Apostille significantly simplifies the procedure for recognizing documents from one country within another country’s territory.

Is it possible to get an apostille at the German consulate?

According to the Hague Convention on Apostilles, the apostille stamp cannot be affixed to German documents at the German consulate. This applies irrespective of the country where the consulate is located, whether it’s Georgia, an EU country, Ukraine, Russia, etc. At the consulate, you can only legalize German documents if the country where you will present them requires this procedure (the country is not a party to the apostille or Germany does not recognize its apostille).

Does Germany have an electronic apostille – E-apostille?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a procedure for online apostille verification in Germany yet. This is hindered by the complex system of German bodies that issue apostilles. Such a system is still in development.

Electronic apostille registers were developed to combat fraud and abuse. With an electronic apostille registry, any interested party can visually verify the apostillization of a document and scan the document.