LEGALIZATION AND AUTHENTICATION OF DOCUMENTS IN NIGERIA
Legalization of a document in Nigeria connotes the certification of a document, which has already been authenticated. It is a process by which a foreign embassy in Nigeria certifies the genuineness of signature or stamps and/or seal made by the authorized officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Nigeria. Before a document can be legalized, the first step is the authentication of such document at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abuja. Because Nigeria is not a part member of the Hague Apostille Convention, which abolishes the requirement of legalization for Foreign Public Documents, apostille stamp is not issued in Nigeria. Therefore, the replacement of the apostille in Nigeria is the document authentication by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abuja.
STEPS TO AUTHENTICATE AND LEGALIZE A DOCUMENT IN NIGERIA
- i) Get a Notary Public to notarize the document — if required to be used abroad otherwise you may skip this particular step.
- ii) Take the document to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs headquarters in Abuja and complete the authentication forms at the Ministry.
- iii) Make a payment of the prescribed fee and submit proof of payment.
- iv) After the payment, the applicant may submit the document(s) required to be authenticated at the appropriate desk in the ministry.
- v) Apply for the document to be legalized at the relevant embassy and make payment of the prescribed fees at the embassy.
- vi) Where the document is to be certified through a lawyer or agent, the Power of Attorney may be given to such an attorney.
TYPES OF DOCUMENTS SUITABLE FOR LEGALIZATION
- – Birth certificate or Attestation of Birth Certificate
- – Marriage certificate
- – Divorce certificate
- – Single status affidavit
- – Police character certificate
- – Nigerian International Passport Data Page
- – Academic documents (results, degree certificates and transcripts)
- – Incorporation documents
- – Authorization letters
- – Declaration of assets
- – Bank statements
- – Sponsorship letters, etc.
In conclusion, where a birth certificate, police character certificate or marriage certificate is to be legalized, the document must be notarized by a Notary Pubic firstly; be authenticated at Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and legalized at the embassy. However, where educational certificates are to be legalized, the procedure is same except it will be authenticated at the Ministry of Education first before the Ministry of Foreign Affairs authenticates it.
Finally, it is worthy of note to state that some documents may not be suitable for legalization. For instance, most embassies will not legalize any documents in conflict with their domestic legislation or its content may inflict harm to the citizens of their own country. And where any document appears with a strange seal or stamp that is not consistent with the ones used by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it will also be rejected for legalization.
By Resolution Law Firm. The firm provides documents’ authentication and legalization services for companies and individuals in Nigeria.