Certification

November 28, 2022

Please be advised that the application desk of Certification section of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Tokyo headquarters) continues to be closed until further notice. Please apply and receive certificates both by post. For information on the desk’s operations, please refer to this site.

Application / receipt (general)
Q1 Can I make an application through a representative? Is there any format for the power of attorney?
Q2 How can I obtain an application form?
Q3 How much do you charge for the application?
Q4 How many copies of the same document can be submitted for certification at a time?
Application / receipt (in-person application at the application desk)
Please apply and receive certificates by post with the application desk of Certification section of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Tokyo headquarters), to prevent further spread of Covid-19. For details, please refer to this site (Application Procedure Guide).
Q1 When do I receive the certified document if I apply at the application desk?
Q2 When can the certified document be obtained at the desk? Who can receive the certified document?
Q3 I have a document issued by a government / public agency in Tokyo. Can I make an application at an application desk in Osaka?
Application / receipt by mail
Q1 I live in a remote area. Can I make an application by mail? Are there any application desks other than the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Tokyo / Osaka)?
Q2 How long does it take until I receive the certified document when I apply by mail?
Q3 What value of stamps do I need to put on the return envelope?
Q4 Can I apply by mail and receive the certified document at the desk?
Q5 I live abroad. Can I make an application from overseas?
Q6 Is it possible to send documents for certification by express services like Yamato, Sagawa or bike express?
Q7 I need documents to be certified urgently. Is there a dropbox at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs where I can leave the documents?
Q8 I would like the certified documents to be returned to a different address from where I sent them from.
Q9 Can I send application documents for a company as applicant from my private address?
Q10 If there are insufficiencies or necessary clarifications regarding the application documents, am I going to be notified by MoFA?
How to fill out the application form
Q1 In what language should I fill out the application form?
Q2 I need more than one document to be certified. Do I need more than one application form?
Q3 I need 3 documents to be certified. Do I need more than one application form?
Q4 I need to submit the same documents to more than one country. Do I need to prepare an application form for each country?
Q5 I need a certification for a certificate of criminal record, but I cannot know the name and the title of issuer unless I open it, while the certificate of criminal record says: “invalid if opened”. What can I do?
Q6 What should I write in columns for the title and name of issuer in the apostille application form for a notarial document, the details of notary public office or director of legal affairs bureau?
Q7 Can minors apply for certification? How shall documents be prepared in case of minors?
Documents to be certified (general)
Q1 The document was issued more than three months ago. Is it certifiable?
Q2 I have a graduation certificate in English signed by the principal of the school / college but with no official seal. Is it certifiable?
Q3 Can I obtain an apostille on a graduation certificate issued by a university to study abroad?
Q4 Are vocational school documents certifiable?
Q5 Is the original of the diploma (graduation certificate) certifiable?
Q6 Is a certificate of employment issued by a private university certifiable?
Q7 Is a doctor’s license certifiable?
Q8 Are articles of incorporation, financial statements and documents issued by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry certifiable?
Q9 With which notary public office can I apply for the One-stop Service? What is the procedure?
Q10 I need a certification on the medical certificate for a visa application. Are there any designated hospitals for health checkups?
Q11 Can I obtain a certification on the document for a country (region) with no diplomatic relations with Japan?
Q12 I wish to obtain a certification of a passport or residence card.
Q13 Can I obtain a certification of a vaccination certificate?
Regarding certification by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Q1 What is the difference between authentication and apostille?
Q2. What does a certification by MoFA certify?
Q3 In which language will the certification by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs be issued?
Q4 How long will the certificate by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs remain valid?
Others
Q1 I have obtained a certification from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs but I need to attach a translation. Can I obtain a translation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs?
Q2 What kind of procedure do I need to follow to marry a foreigner?
Q3 I divorced from a foreigner in Japan. Can I obtain a certification from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the divorce procedure abroad?
Q4 Please tell me about necessary documents for the procedure for legalisation at the embassy or consulate (-general) in Japan. How long does it take for legalisation?

Application / receipt (general)

Q1 Can I make an application through a representative? Is there any format for the power of attorney?

A1 We also accept applications through representatives. For a sample of power of attorney, please click here. In some cases (such as where a parent / guardian makes application on behalf of their minor), the power of attorney is not required. Please click here for details. A power of attorney needs to be directly signed by the person giving the power of attorney (copy possible).

Q2 How can I get an application form?

A2 You can get an application form in the following three ways.

Q3 How much do you charge for the application?

A3 There is no fee. For an application by mail, the applicant needs to cover the postage costs including the return shipment.

Q4 How many copies of the same document can be submitted for certification at a time?

A4 There is no handling fee. However, please verify the number of documents required with the relevant agency as you cannot apply for extra documents. In case of 4 or more copies of the same document, you need to provide a written reason (by the country/authority of submission). Without such reason, the number of copies of the same document is limited to 3. In certain cases, you may be required to provide a requesting letter by the issuing country/authority.

Application / receipt (in-person application at the application desk)

Please be advised that the application desk of Certification section of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Tokyo headquarters) continues to be closed until further notice. Please apply and receive certificates both by post. For information on the desk’s operations, please refer to this site.

Q1 When do I receive the certified document if I apply at the application desk?

A1 If there are no insufficiencies/open questions, we return certified documents by mail on next working day. Please purchase and bring a letter pack with the return address on it in advance.

Please understand that we accept no responsibility for lost mail.

Q2 When can the certified document be obtained at the desk? Who can receive the certified document?

A2 On the third office day after the application was made (the day of application being day 1), anyone can receive the certified document with the receipt which has been given to the applicant at the time of application. (Power of attorney is not required for receipt.)

Q3 I have a document issued by a government / public agency in Tokyo. Can I make an application in Osaka?

A3 Yes. Please visit the application desk suiting your convenience.

Application / receipt (application by mail)

Q1 I live in a remote area. Can I make an application by mail? Are there any application desks other than the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Tokyo / Osaka)?

A1 We accept applications by mail. We have only two application desks, which are the headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Tokyo) and the Osaka Liaison Office. Please check Application Procedure and Required Documents. When using the One-stop Service (charged service) at a notary public office at the applicable locations, an application with MoFA is not needed. Please check here for details about the One-stop Service.

Q2 How long does it take until I receive the certified document when I apply by mail?

A2 When no further clarification is required, we resend the certified document(s) in about 4 (Four) office days upon receiving the application document(s). We do not provide express services. If you need the documents urgently, please consider using a Japan Post express mail service like Letter Pack for your return envelope. In cases of urgent need for certified documents to provide for the transfer of remains after death etc., the Tokyo application desk accepts applications and return of documents upon appointment. For details, please check this site. For Osaka Liaison Office, please refer to Q2 of “Application / receipt (in-person application at the application desk)”.

Q3 What value of stamps do I need to put on the return envelope?

A3 Please check with the nearby post office or see the website for Japan Post as the postal fee will differ depending on the weight of the official document and the size of the envelope. For the certification by apostille, please note that we attach a note (about 3g each) on each certified document. We recommend a shipping method such as Letter Pack (Plus,Light) which will allow you to trace your document.

Q4 Can I apply by mail and receive the certified document at the desk?

A4 No, you cannot.

Q5 I live abroad. Can I make an application from overseas?

A5 We do not accept international mail applications owing to the risk of non-delivery. Please make an application through a representative who lives in Japan.

Q6 Can I send documents via private express mail services or bike services?

A6 It is difficult to receive express service deliveries at the MoFA, thus please use Japan Post services.

Q7 I need to make the application urgently. Is there a dropbox at the MoFA where I can drop the documents?

A7 There is no such dropbox.

Q8 I would like to have the certified documents returned to an address different from the one the application has been sent from.

A8 The document will be returned to the applicant themself. Therefore we cannot send the return mail to a different person or an address different from the applicant’s address.

Q9 Can I send application documents for a company as applicant from my private address?

A9 When sending company application documents from your home address, a copy of a business card, staff ID or similar document proving your employment, as well as a copy of a personal ID (e.g. driver’s license) showing your home address needs to be enclosed. (Please note when documents are sent from a private address, the certified documents cannot be returned to a different address, e.g. the company’s location.)

Q10 If there are insufficiencies or necessary clarifications regarding the application documents, am I going to be notified by MoFA?

A10 In case of improper application documents or additional clarifications needed, MoFA staff will confirm with the applicant by calling the phone number provided in the application documents. Please provide a phone number that ensures you can be reached during office hours.
If the matter is urgent, please check your incoming calls list and mailbox recording, and try to call back.

How to fill out the application form

Q1 In which language should I fill out the application form?

A1 Please fill out the form in Japanese or English.

Q2 I need three certified documents. Do I need only one application form?

A2 You need only one application form if the country of submission, concerned parties and the name (name of the issuer) are identical. Please note that we do not accept applications for extra documents.

Q3 I need three documents to be certified. Do I need more than one application form?

A3 You need only one application form if the country of submission, concerned parties and the name (name of the issuer) are identical. But you have to prepare the number required. So please prepare three documents and note that we do not accept applications for extra documents.

Q4 I need to submit the same documents to more than one country. Do I need to prepare an application form for each country?

A4 If each document is submitted to a different country, please fill out an application form for each country.

Q5 I need a certification for a certificate of criminal record, but I cannot know the name and the title of issuer unless I open it, while the certificate of criminal record says: “invalid if opened”. What can I do?

A5 As for a certificate of criminal record, in principle, we do not accept opened, i.e. invalid, certificates. If the name of an official seal (for apostille, title and name of issuer) and other information are unknown, please leave the relevant columns of application form blank.

Q6 What should I write in columns for the title and name of issuer in the apostille application form for a notarial document

A6 We will provide a certification regarding the person on the application document, so please confirm with the country of submission which one needs to be certified.

Q7 Can minors apply for certification? How shall documents be prepared in case of minors?

A7 Minors can apply. In this case please put the parent’s/legal guardian’s name into the column for applicant, and the minor’s name into the column for the person that needs the certification. There is no need for a power of attorney in this case, but please attach a document proving the relationship of the parent or legal guardian and minor.

Documents to be certified (general)

Q1 The document was issued more than three months ago. Is it certifiable?

A1 In principle, we do not accept such documents. However original documents which are issued only once, such as diplomas, may be certified, so please confirm in advance with the country of submission.

Q2 I have a graduation certificate in English signed by the principal of the school / college but with no official seal. Is it certifiable?

A2 It is not certifiable. Please ask your school to affix an official seal.

Q3 Can I obtain an apostille on a graduation certificate issued by a university to study abroad?

A3 We cannot grant an apostille for documents issued by private universities or national and public universities which have been incorporated. However, an apostille can be provided for documents certified by a notary public and a certificate of notary public's seal by the director of the district legal affairs bureau where the notary public belongs to. If legalisation of documents by the embassy or consulate (-general) in Japan is required, authentication will be possible. Therefore, please consult with the relevant agency follow the relevant procedure.
Please note that an apostille can be provided in case of certificates issued by national/public universities that have not been incorporated, or in case of graduation certificates etc. issued by national/public universities prior to their incorporation.

Q4 Are vocational school documents certifiable?

A4 Only documents issued by public schools can be certified. However, certification can be provided for documents certified by a notary public and a certificate of notary public's seal by the director of the district legal affairs bureau where the notary public belongs to. Documents issued by schools prescribed in Article 1 of the School Education Act (preschools, elementary schools, junior high schools, high schools, secondary education schools, special support education schools, universities and colleges of technology) can receive authentication.
Regarding apostille, please refer to this site. (above Q3)

Q5 Is the original document of the diploma/academic record certifiable?

A5 Original diplomas are certifiable. However, if we affix a certification seal of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on your original diploma, it may cause problems for other uses in the future. Likewise, we cannot remove the seal once affixed. Therefore, please confirm with the country of submission whether you may not replace the diploma with the graduation certificate etc., and consider before you apply for a certification on the original document.

Q6 Is a certificate of employment issued by a private university certifiable?

A6 It is not certifiable. Only documents issued by private schools for students and pupils (such as graduation certificates, certificates and transcripts) can obtain an authentication (no apostille) by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. As certificates of employment and recommendation letters are considered as private documents, please go through the authentication procedure for private documents. (below Q8)

Q7 Is a doctor’s license certifiable?

A7 It is certifiable. However, if we affix a certification seal by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the original license document, it may cause problems for other uses in the future. Likewise, we cannot remove the seal once affixed. Therefore, please consider before you apply for a certification on the original document. Please consult with the Medical Profession Division, Health Policy Bureau, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (Examination and License Department)Open a New Window (Japanese), which issues the English translation of certificates for various licenses, which may also obtain certification.

Q8 Are articles of incorporation, financial statements and documents issued by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry certifiable?

A8 They are not directly certifiable as they are private documents (issued by private persons or companies). However, certification can be provided for documents certified by a notary public and a certificate of notary public's seal by the director of the district legal affairs bureau where the notary public belongs to. At certain notaries public, One-stop Service is available (below Q9). Please refer to details provided by the Japan National Notaries AssociationOpen a New Window on how to go through the certification procedure for private documents.

Q9 With which notary public can I apply for One-stop Service, and what kind of procedure is needed?

A9 With notaries in Hokkaido (within the jurisdiction of the Sapporo Legal Affairs Bureau),Miyagi, Tokyo, Kanagawa, Shizuoka, Aichi, Osaka and Fukuoka Prefectures, upon request of the applicant, the certificate of the notary public's seal, a certificate of notary public's seal by the director of the district legal affairs bureau and an authentication or apostille by MoFA can be provided in a single process. When using this service, there is no need to visit the legal affairs bureau or MoFA. However in case of an authentication by MoFA, please note that a legalisation by the embassy or consulate (-general) in Japan is needed.

Q10 I need a certification on a medical certificate for a visa application. Are there any designated hospitals for health checkups?

A10  Only medical documents issued by national and public hospitals or Red Cross hospitals are certifiable. However, please note that documents issued by national hospital organization hospitals or incorporated administrative agency hospitals are eligible for authentication, but not for an apostille. Please verify whether the document includes the hospital’s official seal, date of issue and name of hospital (and name of the doctor), as many medical certificates include only the doctor’s private seal, but not the official seal of the hospital.

Q11 Can I obtain a certification on the document for a country (region) with no diplomatic relations with Japan?

A11 We do not make certifications. For Palestine, we only make the authentication as an exception.

Q12 I wish to obtain a certification of a passport or residence card.

A12 Since it is difficult to attach a certification to the original document (passport or residence card), upon confirmation with the country of submission, please request a certificate of the notary public's seal of a document copy with a notary, then proceed with the a certificate of notary public's seal by the director of the district legal affairs bureau where the notary belongs to, before applying for certification with MoFA.

Q13 Can I obtain a certification of a vaccination certificate of COVID-19?

A13 Vaccination certificates of COVID-19 are not being certified. The form and contents of Japanese vaccination certificates are being conveyed to the authorities of each foreign country, and thus certificates may lose validity in case of additions like a MoFA authentication. Please consult your case with the country of submission.

Regarding certification by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Q1  What is the difference between authentication and apostille?

A1 Both authentication and apostille are certificates issued by MoFA against official documents issued by public agencies, local governments etc. However authentication is the certification by MoFA needed prior to legalisation of documents by foreign embassies and consulates (general) in Japan. MoFA provides the certification of an official stamp on an official document on the the document itself. Upon receipt of authentication by MoFA, please have the document legalised by the embassy or consulate (-general) in Japan. An apostille is a certification by MoFA 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 or consulate(-general) of the destination country in Japan. Please see this link for details.

Q2 What does a certification by MoFA certify?

A2 It certifies the official seal on public documents. This verifies the issuing of the public document (as a document issued by a public officer or public institution with the authority to do so), but does not guarantee the correctness of the document’s content.

Q3 In which language will the certification by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs be issued?

A3 The certification will be issued in English.

Q4 How long will the certificate by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs remain valid?

A4 There is no expiration date. However please note that the destination agency or the relevant embassy or consulate-general in Japan may have a specific period of validity for their procedure.

Others

Q1 I have obtained a certification from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs but I need to attach a translation. Can I obtain a translation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs?

A1 The Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not provide translation services. While some destination agencies accept translations by applicants themselves, some agencies require notarisation of the translation by a notary public, and others designate specific translators. Please consult with your destination agency or the relevant embassy or consulate-general in Japan for further information.

Q2 What kind of procedure for an international marriage?

A2 There are different procedures for registering your marriage in Japan and in a foreign country. Please consult with the municipal office to register your marriage in Japan and with the relevant embassy or consulate-general in Japan for the procedure in that country.

Q3 I got divorced from a foreigner in Japan. Can I obtain a certification from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the divorce procedure abroad?

A3 First of all, please check what documents are required by the destination agency. There are the (extract of) family register, certificate of acceptance of the divorce notification and the certificate of the contents stated divorce notification to certify a divorce in Japan.

Q4 Please tell me about necessary documents for the procedure for legalisation at the embassy or consulate-general in Japan. How long does it take for legalisation?

A4 Please contact the embassy or consulate-general to apply directly as procedures may differ. List of foreign missions in Japan

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