You have landed your dream job abroad, or perhaps you have finally found that studying opportunity you have always been looking for in a foreign country, but as you are getting all your documents in order, it’s beginning to look like getting your academic certificates apostilled is much easier said than done. Why? Let’s take a look at why it is not so easy to get an “academic apostille” completed.
The process of apostilles for academic certificates
Because South African educational documents are not public documents, they cannot be apostilled or legalised standing alone without certification or verification. In order to get your academic qualifications certified or verified, you will first need to go through Umalusi, SAQA (previously this was done at the DHET (Department of Higher Education and Training) or take the route of Notarisation by a Notary Public. A Notary Public is authorised, by law, to certify copies of South African educational documents, and notarised copies can be legalised by apostille or authentication certificates from DIRCO or a high court.
Documents that need to be authenticated include:
• University tertiary degrees
• Matric certificates
• Academic transcripts
• Trade certificates
• School certificates
If you have to get your academic qualifications verified by Umalusi, you will have to get your certified academic qualification certificates and your certified ID copies verified. This is where they will be verified by a Public Notary. After it has been processed by the Notary Public, your certificate will be sent over to the Registrar of the High Court of South Africa, who will then verify the signature or seal of the Public Notary. Documents are then Apostilled (in cases where the country they have to be used in forms part of the Hague Convention) or Authenticated (if the destination country is a non-signatory country of the Hague Convention).
Once submitted to Umalusi, there is a turnaround time of 24 working hours in which your academic certificates will be verified. After your request for verification has been finalised, your documents will need to be sent to the Legalisation Section of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation.
As you can see, getting your academic certificates apostilled is a multi-tier process and requires documents to be verified before they can be authenticated with an apostille or authentication seal, depending on which country they have to be used in.
There are also some instances where you will not be able to get your academic qualifications verified by Umalusi, like for instance if you obtained your qualification prior to 1992, in which case you will have to get your certificates verified by the Department of Basic Education or the DHET (Department of Higher Education and Training), but to do so you have to apply with SAQA (since December 2019).
The Skills Development Act, 1998 (Act No. 97 of 1998) as amended legislates the quality assurance functions for which the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) is responsible. This means that if you completed your trade test prior to 1992, you’d have to get your certificate verified by the QCTO before it can be legalised and apostilled.
How can we help
We can help you verify your academic qualifications in order to have them apostilled. To do this “academic apostille”, we will need your original academic certificate. After we have the original document in hand, it will be notarised by a Notary Public and sent off for apostille or authentication certification by DIRCO or a High Court.