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Documents Attestation Requirement For Germany
Universities in Germany (and many other countries) require official certification of your documents when applying for admission. It is provided by public authorities, responsible institutions, notaries (also known as a public notary or notary public attestation) in your home country. In this article I’ll explain, what is document certification, why is it required, who can certify, and what does the whole process looks like. I’ll show you how can you save any extra fees for document certification.
What is a Certified Copy?
A certified copy of a document represents the original document. It must have:
- Official stamp or embossed seal (original)
of the public institution, authority, or notary public
- Signature (original)
of the person responsible for certifying the document
Usually, the stamp should have a date, if not it is better to put one in writing to justify the time of certification.
Why Certified Copies are Required?
Original documents don’t need to be certified except a few other cases like but definitely not in this case. German universities want to know if you have the original documents but they don’t require original documents as they may get lost when sending via courier and you may need them for various reasons. Therefore, they accept certified photocopies of original documents.
Where Can I Certify my Cocuments?
The documents copies may be certified by:
- Your home country’s higher education authority or education ministry
- German embassies and consulates
- Other public institution that has the authority of the verification and certification of documents
- Notary public
- An authorized staff member of your university (not every university accepts this)
If the university specifically asks to do it from a special format of certification or authority like higher education authority or German embassy/consulate, then you must do so. Notary public or any public institute which is authorized to carry out document certification is generally cheaper and faster. Generally, a notary certification is widely accepted for admission in Germany and other countries, and below I’ll focus on this in detail.
What is a Notary (Public)?
Notary, notary public, or public notary, whatever you call it, means a person appointed by the state government as a public official in non-continuous matters to help deter fraud, illegal changes, or similar. Therefore, s/he has a notary public license from the state. The notary is generally an officer of the law (lawyer or judge) who certifies or attests any documents under his official stamp or seal that verifies the authenticity of the documents, the identity of the document holder, and their awareness of the contents of the document or transaction. The procedure of authentication of any documents by the notary-appointed person is called notary public attestation, certification, or acknowledgment.
Which Documents Need to be Certified for Master’s Admission in Germany?
Universities have mentioned on the study program website which documents need to be certified, so better focus on those. Generally, you need certified copies of the following:
- Your educational documents
- High School Leaving Certificate – class 10 and 12
- High School Leaving Certificate Transcript – class 10 and 12 (mark sheet)
- Bachelor’s Degree
- Bachelor’s Degree Transcript (mark sheet)
- Work Experience Certificate
- Language Proficiency Equivalence Certificate (English or German): If the university accepts an equivalence certificate e.g. English as the medium of instruction at previous degree
Note: Recommendation letter(s) usually special requirements e.g. signed, sealed and stamped by the professor or employer who issued the letter has to certify it.
You don’t need to certify:
- IELTS, TOEFL and Cambridge certificates are directly verified from the test provider.
- Motivational Letter
How to Get Notary Attestation?
- Make a list of all documents that need to be notarized. For example, one document is required by one university but not by the other.
- According to the requirements of all universities, collect your original documents
- Make photocopies of all the documents that need to be notarized.
- Visit any nearest notary with your original documents, their photocopies, and an identification document that proves your identity. Nearest notaries could be found at the bar councils or law chambers. Note: Make sure that the lawyer or any other official is licensed to attest your documents.
- Give original documents and photocopies to the notary and request for standard notary attestation. Standard means notary attestation simple attestation with any stamp and ink (blue).
Note that: Standard attestation is sufficient (round, rectangular, or triangular stamp) and there no need for an embossed foil notary seal as silver, and golden stamps as they are just fancy things and they will not increase the worth of your documents. So, don’t waste money on these types of stamps until and unless required as such by the university.
- Pay the required fee to the notary. See the cost of a notary per document at the end of this article.
You will need to send these certified copies via courier to the German university or uni-assist (whoever is collecting your admission requirement documents)
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I apply for admission to German universities with simple copies (without certified stamps)?
No, you cannot until the university specifically says they don’t need certified copies which rarely the case.
2. Can I upload online certified/notarized documents to the university or uni-assist application portal and send them the same as hard-copies via courier?
Firstly, you must upload the scanned copies of the original documents to the application portal of the university or uni-assist.
Then, you must send the original certified/notarized copies of your documents via courier along with other required documents.
3. What if I don’t send the original certified/notarized copies to German universities or uni-assist?
Well if you don’t, then your admission application and required documents will not be reviewed at all. They may ask you to send the certified copies of the required documents and this will cost you courier expenses for the second time. But keep in mind that the university or uni-assist is not obliged to inform you about incomplete documents and they sometimes don’t because of the higher number of applicants. So, better to organize your documents on the first go as per requirements.
4. Can I get my original documents verified or attested for admission in Germany?
No, you should never certify your original documents for admission in Germany by a notary public. The main purpose of the verification or attestation of the copies is that these are true copies of the original documents.
5. How much a notary public attestation costs per document?
Well, it depends (as lawyers generally say). In some countries, the price of each notary attestation is pre-defined by the state but in some not. Also, In some countries it very high. But if the price is not pre-defined by the government like in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, etc. you may negotiate per copy and the price could be lower if you are attesting all your documents at one time. For example, if you are planning to apply to 5 universities then notarize all the documents at once.
I once paid a higher amount but later I found out that these prices are set by the officers themselves. So, I negotiated the price and paid 5 times lesser per copy than before. Just sharing my experience.
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