The procedure to Nigerian birth certificate authentication usually commences by obtaining the birth certificate or the age attestation certificate from the National Population Commission (NPC).

Because Nigeria is not a signatory to the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents (the Apostille Convention), most foreign countries demand that for a document issued Nigeria to be tendered or used for any official purpose abroad, it must be authenticated by the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and also legalized by the embassy of relevant foreign countries situated in Nigeria.

The process for obtaining a birth certificate from NPC involves filling up an application form, attached with all the necessary details and submitted the same to the commission. Some of the documents that must be submitted to NPC includes sworn Affidavit.

Upon obtaining the birth certificate or attestation of birth certificate from NPC, the document must be notarized by a Notary public.

The next step is to take the birth certificate to the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs for authentication. The official procedure for authenticating birth certificate at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in Nigeria includes making two photocopies of the document (along with the original certificate). Subsequently, all the three copies (i.e. two photocopies and the original) must be taking to Legal Services Division (LSD) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abuja, which is responsible for authentication and attestation services. Before submission of the documents at the MFA, the applicant must pay a prescribed fee.

After making the necessary official payments and submitting the documents, the applicant would be advised on when to return to pick them up. Usually, the whole process can take between one or two weeks.

Where the applicant also intends to legalize the documents, the next step is to take the authenticated document to the relevant embassy for legalization. It is important to note that it is not all foreign countries that demand legalization of a birth certificate already authenticated at the MFA, but some countries require such legalization. All embassies impose various fees for the legalization of documents.

Finally, an applicant seeking to authenticate and legalize documents at MFA and embassy respectively may engage carry out the process on his or her own. However, where a lawyer has been engaged to carry out such a process, legal fees shall be charged for the work.

By Resolution Law Firm