Certification

Frequently Asked Questions

March 4, 2016
Japanese

Application / receipt (general)
Q1 Can I make an application through a representative? Is there any format for the power of attorney?
Q2 Can I obtain an application form in advance?
Q3 How much do you charge for the application?
Q4 Do you charge any handling fees when I apply for multiple documents?
Application / receipt (in-person application at the application desk)
Q1 When do I receive the certified document if I apply at the application desk?
Q2 Who can receive the certified document applied for?
Q3 I would like to apply at the application desk and receive the certification by mail. Is that possible? When is it sent out?
Q4 I have a document issued by a government / public agency in Tokyo but I live in Osaka. Can I make an application at an application desk in Osaka?
Application / receipt (application by mail)
Q1 I live in a remote area. Are there any application desks other than the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Tokyo / Osaka)? Can I make an application by mail?
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?
How to fill out the application form
Q1 In what language should I fill out the application form?
Q2 I need three certified documents. Do I need only one application form?
Q3 I need to submit the same document to five countries. Do I need to prepare an application form for each country?
Q4 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. But the certificate of criminal record says: “invalid if opened”. What can I do?
Q5 What should I write in columns for the title and name of issuer in the apostille application form for a notarial document?
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 national university to study abroad?
Q4 Are vocational school documents certifiable?
Q5 I am an international student from China and would like to obtain an academic record authentication. 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 I need a certification on the medical certificate for a visa application. Are there any designated hospitals for health checkups?
Q10 Can I obtain a certification on the document for a country (region) with no diplomatic relations with Japan?
Others
Q1 In which language will the certification by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs be issued?
Q2 How long will the certificate by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs remain valid?
Q3 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?
Q4 What kind of procedure do I need to follow to marry a foreigner?
Q5 I divorced from a foreigner in Japan. Can I obtain a certification from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the divorce procedure abroad?
Q6 Please tell me about necessary documents for the procedure for legalisation at an Embassy / 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.

Q2 Can I obtain an application form in advance?
A2 The application form can be obtained in the following three ways.

Q3 How much do you charge for the application?
A3 There is no application / handling fee. For an application by mail, the applicant needs to cover the postage costs including the return shipment.

Q4 Do you charge any handling fees when I apply for multiple numbers of the same documents?
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.

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

Q1 When do I receive the certified document if I apply at the application desk?
A1 If there are no defects on the document, the certified document will be available from the following day of the application date (except weekends and holidays). Please note that you cannot receive the document on the day of application.

Q2 Who can receive the certified document?
A2 Anyone can receive the certified document with the receipt, which will be given to the applicant at the time of application. (Power of attorney is not required for receipt.)

Q3 I would like to apply at the application desk and receive the certified document by mail. Is that possible? When is it sent out?
A3 Please bring a letter pack or a return envelope with stamp(s) at the time of application. We will send out the certified document on the following day (except weekends and holidays).

Q4 I have a document issued by a government / public agency in Tokyo but I live in Osaka. Can I make an application in Osaka?
A4 Yes. Please visit a convenient application desk.

Application / receipt (application by mail)

Q1 I live in a remote area. Are there any application desks other than the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Tokyo / Osaka)? Can I make an application by mail?
A1 We have only two application desks, which are the headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Tokyo) and the Osaka Liaison Office. We also accept applications by mail. For application by mail, please check Application Procedure and Required Documents.

Q2 How long does it take until I receive the certified document when I apply by mail?
A2 It depends on the postal situation, but if there are no defects in the application documents, it will take about 10 to 14 days until you receive the document.

Q3 What value of stamps do I need to put on the return envelope?
A3 Please check with the post office 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, which will allow you to trace your document and receive the certified document in person.

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 at the desk through a representative who lives in Japan.

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 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 to submit the same documents to five countries. Do I need to prepare an application form for each country?
A3 If each document is submitted to different countries, please fill out an application form for each country.

Q4 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. But the certificate of criminal record says: “invalid if opened”. What can I do?
A4 As for a certificate of criminal record, in principle, we do not accept opened 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.

Q5 What should I write in columns for the title and name of issuer in the apostille application form for a notarial document?
A5 In the case of notarial document, the issuer to appear on the apostille will be a notary public or the director of the (district) legal affairs bureau to which the notary public belongs. If you need a certification of the seal of notary public, please write the title of the relevant notary public (notary public belonging to ○○ (District) Legal Affairs Bureau) and his or her name. If you need a certification of the seal of the director of the (district) legal affairs bureau, please write the title and name of the director of the relevant (district) legal affairs bureau.

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 (except original documents which are issued only once, such as diplomas).

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 national university to study abroad?
A3 We cannot grant an apostille for documents issued by national and public universities which have been incorporated. However, if an Embassy (or Consulate) in Japan conducts legalisation of documents, authentication will be possible. Therefore, please consult with the relevant agency to determine if a document with consular legalisation can be accepted and follow the relevant procedure.

Q4 Are vocational school documents certifiable?
A4 They are not certifiable. For authentication, only 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) are certifiable. (Only national and public schools are eligible for an apostille).

Q5 I am an international student from China and would like to obtain an academic record authentication. Is the original of the diploma 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 consider carefully 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 which are certifiable by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are documents for students and pupils (such as graduation certificates, certificates and transcripts) (authentication only). As certificates of employment and recommendation letters are considered as private documents, please go through the authentication procedure for private documents.

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 doctor (dentist, health nurse)’s license, it may cause problems for other uses in the future. Likewise, we cannot remove the seal once affixed. Therefore, please consider carefully 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)other site(Japanese), which issues the certificate of English translation for various licenses.

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. Please go through the certification procedure for private documents.

Q9 I need a certification on the medical certificate for a visa application. Are there any designated hospitals for health checkups?
A9 Certifiable documents include only medical documents issued by national and public hospitals or Red Cross hospitals. However, please note that documents issued by national hospital organization hospitals or incorporated administrative agency hospitals are eligible for authentication but are not eligible 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.

Q10 Can I obtain a certification on the document for a country (region) with no diplomatic relations with Japan?
A10 We do not make certifications for Taiwan or North Korea. For Palestine, we make the authentication as an exception.

Others

Q1 In which language will the certification by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs be issued?
A1 The certification will be issued in English. However, as it is a certification that the document concerned is an official document of Japan, it does not certify the contents of the document.

Q2 How long will the certificate by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs remain valid?
A2 There is no expiration date. Please note that the destination agency or the relevant Embassy / Consulate (-General) in Japan may have a specific period of validity for their procedure.

Q3 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?
A3 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 / Consulate (-General) in Japan for further information.

Q4 What kind of procedure do I need to follow to marry a foreigner?
A4 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 / Consulate (-General) in Japan for the procedure in that country.

Q5 I divorced from a foreigner in Japan. Can I obtain a certification from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the divorce procedure abroad?
A5 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.

Q6 Please tell me about necessary documents for the procedure for legalisation at an Embassy / Consulate (-General) in Japan. How long does it take for legalisation?
A6 Please contact the Embassy / Consulate (-General) to apply directly as procedures may differ. List of foreign missions in Japan