Certification

What is an Authentication (of official seals) / Apostille?

June 30, 2014
Japanese

An authentication and an apostille are both certifications from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of official documents issued by government / public agencies and local governments. An authentication / apostille will be required when you need to submit Japanese official documents for various procedures (such as marriage, divorce, birth registration, visa application, incorporation or real estate purchase) in foreign countries and when its relevant agency asked you to obtain a certification from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It may also be required for certification by the consul of the Embassy / Consulate (-General) of the destination country in Japan (= legalisation). In other words, you need to apply for an authentication or an apostille only when it is required by the relevant foreign agency or Embassy / Consulate (-General) in Japan.

Authentication (of official seals)

An authentication is a certification from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which is necessary to obtain legalisation by the consul of an Embassy / Consulate (-General) in Japan. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not issue a document itself but certifies official seals on official documents and makes such certifications on the official documents. Please make sure to obtain legalisation of the relevant Embassy / Consulate (-General) after you obtained authentication by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

  • An authentication from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is a certification which is required for legalisation at the relevant Embassy / Consulate (-General) in Japan. Therefore, please submit the certified document to the relevant agency of the destination country after you have obtained legalisation by the relevant foreign consul in Japan.
  • In some cases, the relevant agency may require certification by the Embassy or Consulate-General of Japan, not an authentication by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Please note that documents which have already received an authentication by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs cannot be certified at the Embassy or Consulate-General of Japan.

Apostille

An apostille is a certification by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the form of an allonge (= apostille) under the Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents (or the Apostille Convention) (Hague Convention of October 5, 1961). An apostille will be accepted only by signatory countries of the Hague Convention. In the destination country, it can be used as a certification equivalent to legalisation by the Embassy / Consulate (-General) of the destination country in Japan.

  • Even if the destination country is a signatory to the Hague Convention (Apostille Convention), legalisation may be required in some cases. In such cases, an authentication should be necessary. Please check with the destination agency or the Embassy / Consulate (-General) of the destination country in Japan prior to submission.
  • All certifications submitted to non-signatory countries of the Hague Convention should be an authentication.