What is attestation?
When authenticating a document for another country, if that country does not belong to the Apostille Convention, the document is normally attested by the embassy of the destination country. So, if you want a South African degree made ready for usage in China, you would have to verify it and then take it to the Chinese Embassy for attestation.
The correct word for attestation is actually legalisation. However, many people speak of embassies “attesting” documents, so we have used this word in this article and on most of our website.
What is the process for attestation?
The embassies all have a different fee and time to wait. These fees vary from time to time based on demand and currency fluctuations. Sometimes, the fee is very expensive and worth noting well in advance to prepare monetarily.
Here is a brief infographic showing the process in detail for different types of documents.
Attestation embassy fees in South Africa
Each country that does not belong to the Apostille Convention (see the Hague Convention website here) will instead require attestation by their embassy in South Africa. As mentioned above, the documents have to first be authenticated/apostilled and then go to the embassies.
Here is a table of some of the more commonly required embassies and their respective attestation fees. Most of these embassies are based in Pretoria, South Africa.
Disclaimer: These fees change often and enquiries must be made at the time of service delivery. Timing also changes and each embassy has their own public holidays, etc which can extend timelines. Embassies usually only accept cash, and surcharges are added for the risk of carrying cash.
|CountryEmbassy or liaison office|
|China (Chinese Embassy Attestation)Download application form||1-3 weeks1-3 weeks|
|Vietnam (Vietnamese Embassy attestation)||3-5 days|
|Thailand (Thai Embassy attestation)||3-5 days|
|UAE / Dubai (UAE Embassy Attestation)||4-6 weeksRequires approval|
|Kuwait (Kuwaiti Embassy Attestation)||3-5 days|
|Saudi Arabia (Saudi MOFA Attestation)||1-3 weeks|
|Ethiopia (Ethiopian Attestation)||3-7 days|
|Mozambique (Mozambican Attestation)||3-5 days|
|Taiwan (Taiwanese Embassy Attestation)Download application form||3-5 days|
|Qatar (Qatar Embassy Attestation)||1-4 weeks|
|Lebanon (Lebanese Embassy Attestation)||5 working days|
|Jordan (Jordanian Embassy Attestation)||5 working days|
|Egypt (Egyptian Embassy Attestation)||5-10 working days|
|Singapore (Singapore Embassy Attestation)||5 working days|
|Malaysia (Malaysian Embassy Attestation)||5 working days|
|Morocco (Moroccan Embassy Attestation)||5 working days|
|Canada (Canadian Embassy attestation)||3-5 days|
|Bahrain||See Apostille pricing.|
|South Korea||See Apostille pricing.|
|Any Apostille Convention country||See Apostille pricing.|
What is the cost?
The cost can appear high – mainly because you cannot immediately go to an embassy to attest documents. You have to have them authenticated (usually at DIRCO) first. For example, a marriage certificate first has to be apostilled and then taken to the relevant embassy. A South African degree must be first verified by SAQA and then apostilled before it can be attested
However, if you are attesting a number of documents, for example a TEFL certificate, a degree, a police clearance and another document, the cost per document drops quite a lot. Enquire with us and we can possibly create a discounted package for you if you have 3 or more documents.
Part of the cost also includes handling the embassies. Dealing with the embassies can be difficult. For example, the Chinese Embassy requires an application form per document. (Download this Chinese embassy authentication application form here.) Then there is liaising with the embassies and knowing when the document is ready, plus checking that it is correct once collected.
Our service fee to complete an attestation (for any amount of documents you may have) per embassy does not include the embassy’s own fee – see full pricing details above and here. This price includes all our time and effort, not to mention travelling costs twice to and from the embassy, knowing where to go and what to tick and fill in, etc.
Attestation for/by other countries
There are many other countries with the same necessary procedure, but the above are the main countries that we are asked to attest for by South Africans. Many of these South Africans are working or teaching English abroad. We have become experts in attesting documents for the above countries.
Should there be any question regarding attesting documents, please contact us on any of our contact forms, or email us on our email address below.