What is an Apostille?
If you are planning to use South African documents abroad, then it is usually a requirement that these documents be legalized to prove that they are in fact legal documents. This is done by sealing and signing the document and affixing it with a red seal. If the country that you need this document for belongs to the Hague Convention then this procedure will apply. If not, then a Certificate of Authentication will be issued.
It is important to note that Foreign Embassies and Consulates are not authorized to Apostille a document that was issued in South Africa. They can only issue Certificates of Authentication. However, they can send the original document to South Africa to be Apostilled.
Documents that can be legalized and affixed with an Apostille.
- Unabridged certificates: Birth, Marriage, Death and Citizenship Status;
- Police Clearance Certificates;
- Original Adoption papers;
- Original letters issued, stamped and signed by the Department of Transport confirming that the applicant holds a valid driver’s licence;
- Other legal documents that requires an Apostille. To see a complete list please visit the following link.
Procedure to Apostille and legalize documents.
The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) is situated in Pretoria. Documents can be submitted in person, by courier service, Postal Service or through Consular Services abroad.
Waiting time is between 30 and 45 minutes and a maximum of 5 documents can be submitted at a time. If you decide to submit the documents in person then the following procedure applies:
Enter through the main gate and park on the right-hand side. Proceed to the Security Reception area. Register as a visitor with your South African Identity Document or your Drivers license. The license number of your vehicle is recorded and a digital photo taken. Once the registration formalities are taken care off, a visitors card is issued. Collect your vehicle and proceed to the basement parking. Follow the visitor signs. Park and proceed to the Ground Floor and again through security on the right-hand side. Turn left and you will see the offices on the left-hand side.
Proceed to the counter on the left-hand side and hand them the documents. They will issue you with a blue form that needs to be completed and request a copy of your I.D. document. You have the option to wait or to collect the document later. They keep the original and hand you a copy. This document has a number printed on it. When the documents are ready, they will call you by this number.
Review of the Service by DIRCO.
My brother was kind enough to help me to get a document legalized and Apostilled. He waited 30 minutes to get one document processed. He was very impressed with their professional and friendly service. Staff was helpful and a pleasure to deal with.
Physical Address and Office hours of the International Realations and Cooperation Office.
Department of International and Cooperation (DIRCO), OR Tambo Building,
460 Soutpansberg Road, Rietondale, Pretoria, 0084.
Office NE2A-Ground Floor or request the security to direct you to the Legalization Section (reception area).
Opening hours to the public is from Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays (08:30 to 12:30). The Legalization Section will give seven day notice of any closure that is not a public holiday.