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Notarial Authentication

A Notary is often required to certify documents or the documents have to be signed in the presence of one. 

Once this process has been completed, the documents are then authenticated further so that they can be used abroad. 

It will then become necessary to have an apostille certification and sometimes a certificate from the department of international relations and cooperation (DIRCO). 

Also, even further authentication could be required depending on the consulate or embassy. Therefore, having the assistance of Notaries Public specialists allows for accuracy and guidance in an otherwise complicated process. 

What is Notarial Authentication? 

Notarial authentication involves affixing, sealing and signing of documents executed within South Africa so that they can be used abroad. 

This is done either with an apostille or with a Certificate of Authentication, depending on if it is a part of the Hague Convention or not, as an anti-fraud measure.

What transactions or actions require authentication? 

Documents require authentication in the following instances: 

  1. For the purchasing or selling of offshore property;
  2. For the transferring of money to or from an offshore account; 
  3. When a contracting agreement with a foreign party cannot be executed in a single jurisdiction; 
  4. When an individual has applied for a job abroad; 
  5. When you are traveling abroad with your minor child and the other parent isn’t present. In such cases the consent is needed from the other parent. The consent of the biological parent may be needed. 

The Government Notice R277 of 3 March 1967, states that documents need to be authenticated by a Notary Public, an apostille or similar certificate of authentication which has been attached in order for it to be used abroad. 

However, a directive issued by the South African government states that certificates that were issued by the Department of Higher Education and Department of Basic Education, Department of Trade and Industry, CIPC, Home Affairs, Police Clearance Certificates, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Transport, the Health Professionals Council can only be authenticated by those respective departments.

If the certificates or documents weren’t issued by the departments mentioned, only then can they Notary Public authenticate them. 

Once authenticated, then DIRCO has to authenticate the documents. Otherwise if party to the Hague Convention, then only an apostille will be necessary.  

In conclusion, the authentication process may prove to be complicated and thus it is important to seek professional assistance to prevent delays.

Van Deventer & Van Deventer Incorporated - Attorneys & Notaries Cape Town & Johannesburg

Contact us for all your notarial requirements and expert legal advice.