Official Authentication and "Sworn Translation"
Information on the standard of an official authentication at Heidelberg University
Official authentications must always bear the original seal and signature of the authenticator. The official seal can be round or oval and contains an emblem. Authentications that only have a stamp containing only words will not be accepted.
If the copy consists of several individual pages, it must be shown that each page belongs to the same document. It is sufficient if just one page bears the original seal and signature, as long as all pages overlap one another (e.g. imbricative) and are stapled and authenticated in such a way that each page bears a part of the original seal.
As regards notary authentications (with string and a seal mark), the original seal only needs to appear on one of the pages of the copy.
The following institutions are authorised to authenticate your documents:
- the schools or universities that issued your documents or the relevant Department of Education in your home country
- the Diplomatic Missions to the Federal Republic of Germany
- the Culture Department at the Embassy of the country in which the certificate was issued
- the public authorities and notaries authorized to carry out official authentications in the respective country
In Germany, any public authority that holds an official seal can carry our official authentications*. These are, for example, Gemeindeverwaltungen, Landkreise and lower administrative authorities (such as an Ortsbürgermeister or Ortsvorsteher, Stadtverwaltung, Bürgeramt, Rathaus, Kreisverwaltung). Courts and notaries are also included.
*Public authorities in Germany are entitled, but not obliged, to authenticate foreign-language documents. If you are already in Germany and are unable to find a German public authority that will authenticate your documents, please contact the embassy of your home country.
Kindly bear in mind that translators cannot authenticate any original-language documents, only the translations they have issued themselves.
Information on the Standard of a "Sworn Translation" at Heidelberg University
The translation of certificates essentially has to be carried out by an official authority, e.g. by the authorized department of the institution that issued the certificate, or by a sworn translator. Any translations done by German translation bureaus that do not fulfill this requirement will not be accepted. Any translations done abroad have to be carried out by an institution authorized to carry out sworn translations (or equivalent) in that country.
Certificates must always be submitted in the original language of the home country, and also in English or German translated form.
If a certificate issued in a non-English speaking country is issued in English as well as in the original language, then the English language version counts as an original certificate. This applies to certificate versions in German as well.
Certificates issued in French cannot be accepted, they have to be translated into German or English.
Please remember: translators cannot authenticate any original-language documents, only the translations they have issued themselves!
Please note that translations have to be certified. However, in case the copy of a translation which you submit bears the translator's original stamp then - and only then! - an additional certification is not necessary.