Authentication of documents in Nigeria involves a procedure of confirming and certifying documents issued in Nigeria by relevant authorities. Since Nigeria is not a party to the Hague’s Apostille Convention, which abolishes the necessity of legalization for Foreign Public Documents, the apostille stamp is not issued in Nigeria. The replacement of the apostille in Nigeria is the authentication of the document done at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abuja, and legalization done at the embassy where required.


  • The first step is to notarize the document if it will be required to be used abroad. The notary public is usually a lawyer authorized to notarize documents. In some cases, a notary public may not be needed; it may suffice to go straight to the authentication simply.
  • The next step is to get the required document certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) headquarters in Abuja for authentication. The applicant may also instruct an attorney to represent him/her at the MFA if he/she is not within the country or cannot personally make it to Abuja. The applicant must pay the prescribed fee at the bank and submit proof of payment to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, together with the document required to be authenticated.
  • The Ministry will carry out their necessary confirmation and due diligence before authenticating the documents if they are found to be genuine. In some instances, the MFA may require additional confirmation from the authority that issued the document before it can be authenticated. An academic document must first be attested by the Federal Ministry of Education in Abuja before it can be taken to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for authentication.
  • After the authentication, the applicant can apply for legalisation of the same document at the relevant embassy if required. The embassy’s official fee varies depending on the country. One important thing is that a document not duly authenticated by the MFA will not be accepted for legalization at the embassy.


  • Birth Certificate or Attestation of Birth Certificate
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Divorce Judgement and Certificates
  • Single Status Certificate
  • Police Character Certificate (PCC)
  • Academic Records (results, degree certificates, and transcripts)
  • Certificate of Incorporation & other incorporation documents
  • Commercial Transaction Documents, among others.



The official fee authentication from MFA is small and affordable. However, the actual cost of document authentication depends on the bargaining reached with the individual attorney used for the process. The significant cost in the process is usually the attorney fee. The average fee for a local person can be between N100,000 to N150,000 per document. If the applicant resides abroad, the cost could be up to 300 USD per document since the workload or logistics involved will be more for the attorney.

In summary, where a birth certificate, police character certificate, or any other certificate is to be legalized, such a document may be notarized firstly by a Notary Pubic and authenticated at the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Abuja before it is finally taken to the relevant embassy for legalization. However, where educational certificates require legalization, the process is the same, save that the Federal Ministry of Education must initially attest to it before the subsequent authentication at the MFA and legalization at the embassy. Any applicant may personally authenticate a document on his own or engage the services of an attorney for the process.


By Resolution Law Firm


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