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Apostille

What is an "Apostille"?

Effective 16 March 1995, Australia has become party to the “Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents“. Legalisation or authentication of Australian public documents (e.g. birth, death and marriage certificates, notarial act) by German Missions is no longer required for presentation of said documents to German authorities.
Instead, an Apostille issued by the Australian “Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade” according to the above mentioned agreement is sufficient for German authorities. In return, German certificates are recognized by Australian authorities if they are provided with an Apostille of the competent German authority.

Obtaining an Apostille for Australian documents

You can find information on how and where to get an Apostille for Australian documents on the website of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade:
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Obtaining an Apostille for German documents

A list of the competent authorities issuing an Apostille for German documents can be found here: 

Information about legalization and Apostille of the Foreign Office

Certification of signature and copies

General information

By certifying a signature, the consular officer confirms that the person indicated in the document was physically present and signed it in front of him or her. It is a simple form of authenticating a signature.

By certifying a copy, the consular officer confirms that a document is a true and correct copy of the original. It does, however, not verifiy the content of this document.

Following a change in the law, the German missions will no longer be able to carry out identity checks in connection with opening a bank account, taking out a loan and similar purposes. Please ask your bank for further information. The legalisation department is only allowed to certify your signature if you are a student applying for a visa for Germany and need to open a blocked account.
Certifications of signatures and photocopies of documents are carried out during counter opening hours. Please make an appointment if you wish to get a signature of copy certified.

Make an appointment

Certification of a signature

Please bring the following documents to your appointment:

  • your valid passport
  • the document to be signed (for declarations of appoval: a copy of the contract, signed by representative)
  • if you are not acting on your own behalf, but on behalf of a company, a ward, etc: provide a document stating your power of attorney (original or certified copy)

Following the amendment of the German Money Laundering Act the German missions abroad can no longer notarize signatures or perform identity verification for the opening of a bank account, loan applications or other similar cases. This also applies to credit card applications.

Fees:

The fee for the signature certification depends on the value of the legal transaction for which the document is needed and ranges between €20.00 and €250.00. The fee is converted into AUD according to the daily exchange rate.The German Embassy in Canberra and the Consulate General in Sydney also accept credit cards (Visa and Mastercard only). Please note that the fee will be charged in Euros and therefore credit card fees might be applicable.

Please note that we do not accept cheques.

Certification of copies

Please bring the following documents to your appointment:

  • the original documents,
  • copies of the original document which need to be certified,

Fees:

The current fee for the certification of a photocopy is the AUD equivalent of 10 Euros. No fee is charged for pension-related certifications (please bring the letter from the pension authority along), applications for acceptance into German universities or in citizenship matters.

The fee is converted into AUD according to the daily exchange rate.The German Embassy in Canberra and the Consulate General in Sydney also accept credit cards (Visa and Mastercard only). Please note that the fee will be charged in Euros and therefore credit card fees might be applicable.

Please note that we do not accept cheques.

Identity verifications

Revised procedures for ID checks for German banks:

Following the amendment of the German Money Laundering Act the German missions abroad can no longer notarize signatures or perform identity verification for the opening of a bank account, loan applications or other similar cases. This also applies to credit card applications.

Please contact the bank that sent you the documents on how to proceed.

Exempt from this new ruling are blocked accounts for foreign students who must apply for a student visa before entering Germany and who need to open an account in Germany in order to prove sufficient financial means for their stay in Germany. In these cases only, the German missions abroad are allowed to notarize signatures.

In Australia, the following institutions can verify your identity: Lawyer; Notary Public; Banks

Honorary Consul

Signature certifications can be done at the competent German mission or by a German Honorary Consul. In some cases they can als be done by an Australian notary public. Please check in advance with the respective German authority that demands the signature certification whether they will accept a certification done by an Australian notary public. Authorities in Germany may request an apostille in addition to the signature certification done by an Australian notary public.

Find your consulate

Police Clearance Certificate / Certificate of Good Conduct

 Issuer

Police clearance certificates are issued by the Federal Central Register of the Federal Office of Justice, whose address is as follows:

Bundesamt für Justiz
- Bundeszentralregister –
Sachgebiet IV21/IR
53094 Bonn
Germany

Application procedure

The minimum age of applicants is 14. All applications must be made in person by the person to whom the certificate relates; no representative (including a lawyer) can apply. Applications should include the applicant's personal details, and must be signed personally by the applicant. The application and signature must be officially certified; this can be done by any German embassy or consulate or by a notary public. There is a fee of 20 EUR (payable in AUD) for the certification of signature.

Police Clearance application form

Fees

The fee for the certification of your signature at any German Consulate is 20 EUR and has to be paid in AUD according to the current exchange rate.

The fee for issuing a police clearance certificate is €13, payable in advance to:

Deutsche Bundesbank Filiale Bonn

Bank code: 370 000 00, Account number: 38001005

Account name: Bundesamt für Justiz

BIC/swift MARKDEF1370, IBAN DE49370000000038001005

Payment can also be made by cheque. Cheques should be made out in Euro and drawn from a German bank.  Fees levied by foreign banks for cashing a (foreign) cheque are to be added to the fee for the certificate of conduct. Questions relating to payments by cheque and their fees can be answered by the respective foreign bank.
If the amount is transferred, the carbon copy of the transfer order is to be forwarded to the Federal Office of Justice – if possible – with the application to issue the certificate of conduct. 

No certificate can be issued until the fee has been paid or appropriate proof of payment is provided.

Additional information

The certificate of conduct for personal purposes (private certificate of conduct) is only sent to the person making the application. The certificate of conduct is only issued in German. Any translation that may be required is to be organised by the person making the application themselves. The content of the certificate of conduct is in line with the provisions of the Federal Central Criminal Register Act.
The use to which it is to be put is to be stated when making the application.

More information can be found on the website of the Federal Office of Justice:
Federal Office of Justice

Power of attorney / Declaration of Consent

In order to buy or sell property in Germany, a German notary public must be instructed to handle the legal formalities. Normally, both parties must sign the contract in the presence of the notary. If one party cannot be present, a representative can sign on his or her behalf. The representative must be authorised either before the transaction by a power of attorney (‘Vollmacht’) or after it by a declaration of consent (‘Genehmigungserklärung’ or ‘Vollmachtsbestätigung’), which the notary public can draw up for you.
Your signature on the power of attorney or declaration of consent can be certified at the German Missions in Australia
Please bring the following documents:

  • your valid passport
  • the power of attorney or declaration of consent, drawn up by your notary public in Germany
  • a copy of the contract itself
  • fee

Fees:

The fee for the signature certification depends on the value of the legal transaction for which the document is needed and ranges between €20.00 and €250.00. The fee is calculated according to the property value and is converted into AUD according to the daily exchange rate.The German Embassy in Canberra and the Consulate General in Sydney also accept credit cards (Visa and Mastercard only). Please note that the fee will be charged in Euros and therefore credit card fees might be applicable.

Please note that we do not accept cheques.

Life certificates for recipients of German old age pensions

Once every year you are requested by your German pension authority to submit a life certificate. If you do not present the certificate in time, your pension payments may be suspended. It is therefore important that you fill in the life certificate form completely and always remember to sign it.

In order to have the document certified with an official seal and signature you should go to one of the following places:

  • your local Centrelink branch
  • Justice of Peace
  • your bank manager
  • police
  • hospital, Red Cross
  • Notary Public
  • the pastor of your congregation

Any other verification, e.g. by a post office, GP or pharmacist, will not be recognised!

Important:

Should you not receive your pension payments from the Deutsche Rentenversicherung DRV (German Federal Pension Fund) but from a different insurance carrier please pay close attention to the information regarding the verification of your life certificate in the accompanying letter. In these exceptional cases a certification by the competent German mission may be requested.

If you are unable to sign the life certificate yourself because of illness, you need to ask your doctor to confirm this on the life certificate form.

Medical confirmation

If you are no longer in possession of a valid photo ID-document (e.g. passport driver's licence), you can obtain a photo card from the RTA. The German pension authorities accept this document as sufficient proof of ID.

You then have to send the completed and verified life certificate directly to your pension authority in Germany.
If you have any questions, please also contact your pension authority directly.

Deutsche Rentenversicherung Nord

Friedrich-Ebert-Damm 245

D-22159 Hamburg

Tel. +49 (0)40 53000

Email: info@drv-nord.de

Australian-German Welfare Society Sydney

The AGWS aims to support Australians with a German-speaking background. Our clients are mainly elderly migrants. Through regular meetings and outings we create an environment of trust and friendship, fighting loneliness and isolation so often connected to old age. Visits of those not able to join are organised by the AGWS. Furthermore, the AGWS certifies life certificates for German pension authorities and offers general advice about German pension matters.

Website of the Australian-German Welfare Society Sydney

Transportation of a corpse or urn to Germany

Germany has very strict laws on how to handle human remains. As a general rule, all coffins and urns have to be buried in licensed graveyards. Private citizens are not allowed to have urns in their possession. Therefore, all transport in Germany has to be handled by licensed funeral homes. Coffins and urns are best shipped by the Australian funeral home to a funeral home in Germany directly. Please clarify with the carrier what type of coffin is acceptable for transportation with them. No customs are charged for the import of a coffin/urn which contains the remains of the deceased person into Germany.

You can obtain a corpse or urn transport permit at the German Embassy in Canberra, the Consulate General in Sydney or our Honorary Consuls.

Corpse Transport Permit

Please submit the following documents (as originals, all documents will be returned to you):

  • Death Certificate from the Registrar-General
  • If available, original passport of the deceased person, otherwise copy
  • medical certificate stating the cause of death
  • certificate from the Coroner stating that the deceased did not die of contagious or communicable diseases
  • certificate from the funeral director stating that the body was placed in the coffin in accordance with the German requirements (see below)

Fee

The fee for the Corpse Transport Permit amounts to the equivalent of € 25.00, payable in A$ at the current exchange rate.

Physical handling of the body

  • Floor covering of the coffin must consist of a 5 cm thick layer of acid-absorbing material (i. e. sawdust) in addition to which an antiseptic material has to be added
  • If death was caused by a contagious or communicable disease the body must be wrapped in a cloth drained with an antiseptic liquid

Composition of coffin, linking of the two coffins

  • Body must be placed in a metal airtight coffin
  • Metal coffin must be placed in a wooden coffin in such a way that it cannot be moved
  • Wooden coffin must fulfill the following requirements 
    • approx. 3 cm thick
    • the joining parts must be waterproof and closed with screws (not more than 20 cm apart)
    • wooden coffin must be closed and secured with metal bands

Urn Transport Permit

An urn transport permit may be needed to send an urn to Germany. Please verify that such a permit is necessary with your airline and receiving funeral home in Germany. In case you want to ship a metal urn, please verify with the carrier if this is acceptable for shipment, seeing as the screening might cause problems. The urn has to be sealed by the funeral home in Australia.

Please submit the following documents (as originals, all documents will be returned to you):

  • a Death Certificate and
  • a Cremation Certificate
  • If available, original passport of the deceased person, otherwise copy

Fee

The fee for the Urn Transport Permit amounts to the equivalent of € 25.00, payable in A$ at the current exchange rate.

Forms

Download the application form for a certificate of good conduct here

In case a recipient of a German pension is not able to sign the life certificate himself/ herself, a medical confirmation is needed to ensure further payment of Pension.

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