Germany – Signing Documents and Apostille
Notary public services for Germany
Who can be my witness?
If you’re signing documents in Australia but they’re to be used in Germany, it’s likely you’ll need to sign them in front of a notary public as your witness.
In Australia, there are other kinds of authorised witnesses, such as a justice of the peace, commissioner of oaths, or a lawyer. If you’re using your document in Australia and depending on where and what that document was, you could even sign it in front of a doctor, dentist, accountant, pharmacist and others – it’s quite a lengthy list. However, for documents intended to be used in other countries (ie, not Australia) including Germany, there generally is only one kind of accepted witness – and that’s a notary public.
What’s a notary public?
A notary public, also known as a public notary, is a senior lawyer who can administer oaths and statutory declarations, witness, and authenticate documents and perform certain other acts in Australia in relation to documents intended to be used in another country.
In addition to notarisation, different intended destination countries have different requirements and so you should check the specific requirements of where you intend to send your documents. For Germany, documents generally must be notarised and then stamped with an apostille.
What’s an apostille?
In Australia, an apostille is a stamp/certificate issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) certifying that a document is either an original Australian government document or a document that has been notarised by a notary public.
An apostille will only be recognised in a country that is a signatory (like Australia and Germany) to the Apostille Convention otherwise known as the Hague Apostille Convention or officially known as the Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents.
How do I get my document notarised and stamped with an apostille for Germany?
If you’re signing a document to be used in Germany, this means you must:
- You must visit the notary public with your completed, but not signed, document.
- You must be able to identify yourself, generally by producing your passport or other valid photo identification.
- The notary public will verify your identity.
- You must sign your document in front of the notary public.
- The notary public will witness you sign your document.
- The notary public will sign and apply a notary seal to your document.
- You can then arrange for your own apostille through DFAT or the notary public can make those arrangements for you.
As a leading provider of notary public services in Sydney and with experience in helping clients with their documents intended for Germany, we can witness you sign your document, notarise your document, and we can arrange for the apostille – all for a low cost fixed fee. The turnaround time for the entire process, specifically obtaining the apostille from DFAT, will vary depending on DFAT processing times.
Do you have any questions regarding this article?
Whether you're notarising a document for the first time or the hundreth time, the requirements, processes, and terms can be confusing and daunting - or just a pain and a hassle (especially if you need an apostille, or to authenticate or legalise as well). Don't worry! We're here to simplify it, explain it, and help you with what you need to achieve it.
Contact us or visit our Frequently Asked Questions for more information about our notary public services. We've also created a flowchart to help explain notarisation, apostille, authentication and legalisation.
So, what's next?
Why choose Phang Legal for your notary public services?
We're a leading provider of notary public services in Sydney known for our experience and expertise in notarising documents for other countries, our low-cost fixed fees and service offering, and our availability to help on short notice. With our offices conveniently located in Parramatta, the geographic centre of the Sydney metropolitan area, we help clients from across Sydney and beyond with personal, professional and timely notary public services.
This website is maintained by Phang Legal, a boutique law firm in Parramatta and a leading provider of quality notary public services to satisfied clients across Sydney.
Ern Phang is a director of Phang Legal and a notary public (since 2005). Ern regularly writes about his experiences as a notary public and the issues faced by his clients in sending documents to other countries.