Living in Greece

A practical guide to moving, living, working & traveling in Greece, plus musing and misadventures from an American in Athens

How to get an apostille

ca-apostille.jpgImage from education-1.net

An apostille is a seal applied to a certified document to signify its legal authenticity for international use under the terms of the 1961 Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents.

It must be obtained from and notarized by the location in which the event took place and a record created. So if you were born in Sweden, married in California and divorced in Greece, you need to get a certified birth certificate and apostille from Sweden; a certified marriage certificate and apostille in California; and an official divorce decree and apostille from Greece. It does not matter where you live now.

If you are an American in Greece looking to get an apostille for your New York birth certificate, you must obtain your apostille from New York; apostilles are not available at the American Embassy or KEP. The only apostilles issued in Greece are apostilles for documents originating in Greece.

One apostille per document is required — it is unacceptable to secure one apostille for an entire lot, even if the birth certificates, divorce decree and death certificate are from the same location. So if you have two birth certificates, you need one apostille for each.

Under no circumstances should an apostille be detached from a document once it has been attached.

*Article last updated October 14, 2014

Religious documents

The relationship between church and state/government is one of the same in Greece. However, in most countries around the world they are separate. That means it may not be possible for local government authorities to apply an apostille to baptismal certificates and marriage certificates issued by a church.

Countries not part of the Hague Convention

Countries that are not part of the Hague Convention cannot get an apostille and must get in contact with the consulate or embassy serving the country in which the document originated. So if you have a birth certificate from Pakistan and you’re in Athens, go to the Embassy of Pakistan in Athens and request assistance from consular staff.

Canadian-issued documents for use in Greece must be certified by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs in Ottawa or by a Canadian consular official in Greece and by a government office or consulate of Greece.

In America

All documents need to be certified by a clerk within five (5) years or a new document must be issued before requesting an apostille. Apostilles are obtained from the Secretary of State in the state it was executed. See the above example for clarification.

Most Secretary of State regional offices require that you or a family member appear in person to request an apostille, though some may accept requests by phone, fax, mail or online. Requirements vary and fees range from $2-35 per document, depending on the state and type of service, and must be paid with a check, money order or credit card (usually, no cash). Find a location at:

Please note that the Secretary of State regional office refers to the local state and representative, not the U.S. Department of State who is in the national/federal office.

In Australia

An apostille may be obtained from a Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade state or territory office. See the Australian government website, “Authentications and Apostilles” for details and locations.

In Belgium

To obtain an apostille in Belgium or for a Belgian document, go to the ministry’s official page at “Légalisation de documents/Legalisation of documents,” choose the type of document and follow the instructions.

In Canada

Authentication of documents is free in Canada but wait time can be up to 15 days. See, “Authentication of documents” at Canada’s Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development website.

In China

Apostille Service Office, High Court Registry
LG115, High Court Building
38 Queensway
Hong Kong
(852) 2825 4226

See the Hong Kong Judiciary Court’s “Apostille Service.”

In Estonia

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Islandi väljak 1
15049 Tallinn
Email:info.apostill@mfa.ee
Fax: +372 637 74 54

To apply for an apostille, see “Certification of a public document with an apostille” and “Apostille.”

In Germany

See the ministry’s official page, “German public documents for use abroad.”

In Greece

Apostilles for documents originating in Greece are issued at KEP Citizen Service Centres. Call ‘1500’ or appear in person at any of their locations throughout the mainland and islands.

For those abroad seeking apostilles for documents originating in Greece, inquire at the Greek consulate/embassy nearest your current residence.

In the Netherlands

Staatscommissie voor het Internationaal Privaatrecht
Scheveningseweg 6
2517 KT Den Haag
+31 70 363 3303

See “Legalisation of Documents” in English and Dutch from the Netherlands Ministry website.

In New Zealand

Go to the ministry’s official page, “Apostille Certification.”

In South Africa

Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO)
Attention: Legalisation Section, NE2A-Ground Floor
OR Tambo Building
460 Soutpansberg Road
Rietondale
Pretoria
0084
(012) 351 1726

See the Republic of South Africa’s “Legalisation/Authentication of Official Documents.”

In Sweden

Ministry of Justice
Division for Family and Business Law (L2)
103 33 Stockholm
+46 (8 ) 405 1000

See “Legalization of Documents” from the Government Offices of Sweden website.

In the UK

The Legalisation Office
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
Old Admiralty Bldg
The Mall
London SW1A 2LG

See “Get a document legalised” at gov.uk.

Other countries

In the interest of brevity and time — i.e., how long it would take me to compile and continually update this article — apostille instructions and links are not listed for all 190+ countries.

If your country is not included, please check with appropriate justice, registry or legalization authorities in your homeland.

Sources

Hague Convention Apostille Section
Notarial and Authentication (Apostille) — Judicial Assistance

Related posts

Translation of documents to Greek
Certify a photocopy or other document in Greece
How to get a health certificate for your Greek permit

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Image shows an apostille from California. The apostille from another state or country will look different.

43 Comments

  Elena wrote @ November 22nd, 2011 at 02:15

Hi Kat,

Firstly I would like to say that the information on your website was greatly helpful to me.

I do require some assistance from you on my case specifically.

I was born in Canada and my Mother is Greek but born in Canada as well. My Father was born in Athens.

I was in Greece in 2006 and attempted to get my tautotita then. This is when we discovered, that even though I attended and Pediko Stathmo in Greece as a child, I did not exist in the books there. It turns out my parents had not registered their marriage, my birth, or their divorce in Greece.

So now I’m back to the beginning trying to get my documents together. I am still a bit confused on the documents that I require.

Also, If I do not remember the name of the church I was baptised in in Canada (it was a Ukranian Orthodox Church) how do I go about obtaining my Baptism Certificate?

Furthermore, I have not heard anything before about having to acquire and apostille for every document. Is this true in every case?

Would the Greek consolate in Vancouver (where I live) be the best place for me to get started/ find out where to get my documents/ apostille?

Thank you very much for your help in advance.

Elena

Also, as an addition to my post above, where would I get and apostille? Can this be done at a notary public?

Thank you!!!

Kat Reply:

a) Confused about what documents you require for what? Greek citizenship? Greek passport? Greek ID? Registering your birth, marriage and your parents divorce?
b) If you don’t remember what church you were baptized in, how can you ask me to guide you on where and how to get your baptism certificate? Further, I am not Canadian or Ukrainian Orthodox; you are. Shouldn’t you be asking Canadian authorities or inquiring with the Ukrainian Orthodox Archdiocese?
c) Apostille for what? Where you get an apostille in each country is clearly spelled out in the article above.

I’m 99 percent certain that you read “Greek citizenship by claim of Greek ancestry” based on what you said and saw that ‘Comments’ were closed. Please look at the last comment about why they’re closed and what I suggest.

  Alex wrote @ April 18th, 2012 at 05:05

Hi,

I am trying to apply for undergraduate study in Greece and am a little confused about a few things.

1) I was able to find a list of the documents required for the application on the Ministry of Education website, and it mentions that all documents need to be translated into Greek. I live near Washington DC and have read that while the Greek Embassy does not do translation services themselves, they provide a list of translators who can do the translation and then the Embassy can certify the translation. Would the Ministry of Education in Greece find this acceptable?

2) Some of the documents regarding my GPA, my transcript, etc. were drawn up at my high school and notarized as well and/or given the official high school seal (the notary said that he couldn’t notarize the transcript). Do I need to get an Apostille as well for all of these documents (and the birth certificate, etc) or is the notary seal enough?

3) At least half of the documents that are required for the application such as a certificate stating the the curriculum of my high school follows the curriculum set by the (in my case) State of Maryland of the USA had to be drawn up by the high school because they simply don’t exist in the US. Would it be possible to get an Apostille for such a document, or would it not be accepted as an official document?

4) I need to get an Ypethinsi Dilosi stating that I have never attended a University in Greece, so assuming that I can get this at the Greek Embassy or one of the Greek Consulates here in the US, would I need an Apostille for this too?

Thank you very much for your help in advance, I am trying to get all of this sorted out so that I can apply at the end of July. I have read stories of people that applied without getting any Apostille seals for any documents and their applications were accepted so I am unsure what the real “rules” are so to speak.

Alex

Kat Reply:

In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve never been a student in Greece and no one has stepped forward to share their experience as a way to give back; this is the reason I do not have an article available. Official websites are based solely on government circulars, rarely updated and often unreliable/inaccurate in communicating what happens in real life. That’s why I started this website and insist on first-hand details.

1. Translations. You can read what I wrote in “Official translations to Greek.” Different ministries have different rules for different documents and transactions.

2. Transcripts and documents issued by a school do not need an apostille. They’re not official documents issued by a governmental body being used for official use in another country.

3. See #2.

4. A dilosi is a Greek document written in Greek. See “Certifying a dilosi for Greece.” It does not need an apostille because it is a Greek document, not a foreign (non-Greek) document being used in Greece.

Greece is a “results may vary” country. Real rules and the implementation of said rules are completely different issues and can vary according to day, person, mood, whims and who you are.

  Tom wrote @ July 3rd, 2012 at 22:54

As a convenience, here is the direct link regarding Canadian Authentication of documents.

Authentication of Documents

Also, you had someone by the name of Elena comment on this article (November 22nd, 2011 at 02:15). We are in almost the same situation and city and I would like to connect with her to see if we can share information and results. Would you be able to connect us via email?

Tom

  Mila wrote @ November 17th, 2012 at 02:15

Im a filipina 50 yrs old from the Philippines, i have been into relationship to a greek guy who is a canadian citizen as well, were planning to get married this Feb 2012 in Greece, I have been in Greece just fo 8 days last Feb.2009 when im still in Italy then, but now im back to the Philippines and I want to know what would be the needed requirements for him to invite me to go to Greece for our civil wedding? what are the needed requirements for me to prepare? Is apostille the same as red ribbon which we do here in the Phil to show the legality of our papers?
Thank you so much and more power!
Mila

Kat Reply:

As it says in “FAQ: Greek work and/or residence permits,” it’s not as easy as writing an invitation letter.

If you’re only coming here to get married, you need to go to the Greek embassy/consulate and apply for a Schengen visa. If you’re coming here to get married and live in Greece, there’s much more involved as explained in “How non-EU citizens get a visa and permit to move, live and work in Greece.” But that process also starts at the Greek embassy/consulate nearest you.

My article on getting married in Greece is locked, due to official and commercial websites plagiarizing it. But I assume your fiance can manage by contacting the dimos or mayor’s office to inquire on the documents and fees, as he is Greek, can speak the language and has a personal interest in helping you.

I know nothing about the ‘red ribbon’ because I’m not Filipina, nor do have I any association with the country or its government.

  Manash wrote @ March 21st, 2013 at 04:01

About Apostille Stamp for getting married
Hi,
I am a Bangladeshi citizen and I have been into relationship to a Greek girl who is now living in Thessaloniki, Greece. I have been in Greece last 25 days in February 2013 and now I am back to the Bangladesh. I intend to get married in Greece during my next visit in August 2013. As my country has no Greece embassy and my nearest Greece embassy is in Delhi, India so how can I get an Apostille stamp into my BIRTH and NO IMPEDIMENT Certificate before my visit. Can you suggest me about this and how long I have to need to get the Apostille stamp?
Best wishes and regards,
Manash

Kat Reply:

As it says in the second paragraph of the article, the apostille is issued by the government where the event took place. So if you were born in Bangladesh, you get the apostille from your country (Bangladesh) for your Bangladeshi birth certificate. It has nothing to do with Greece or the Greek embassy.

The no impediment document is issued at the Bangladeshi embassy in Greece, not in Bangladesh, and requires no apostille. You cannot get it before arriving in Greece.

  Nikos wrote @ February 7th, 2014 at 12:50

Just a question (cause it’s a bit confusing).
My partner was born in vietnam but she is Australian citizen.
She has ALL her papers translated in English by registered translators (NAATI). Can these translated papers bear the Apostille stamp in order to be translated in Greece (from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) or not?

Best Regards,
Nikos

Kat Reply:

All documents originating outside Greece must have an apostille from the country that issued it. In her case, the apostille is issued in either Australia or Vietnam (I don’t know which because you didn’t provide enough information). I know nothing about Australia’s and Vietnam’s laws governing apostilles or whether they can be applied to translated papers.

In Greece, all documents and apostilles not in Greek must be translated to Greek by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Translation Department.

  ertino wrote @ March 6th, 2014 at 16:01

do doja te beja nje pyetje kush di ku meret vula apostile ne shqiperi ..ma kerkonje per ne gjermani per certifikate

Kat Reply:

You need to get an apostille in the country where the document is issued. If the document is from Albania, you get the apostille in Albania. If the document is from Germany, you get the apostille in Germany.

The information for Germany is above in the article. In Albania, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs handles apostilles:

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Boul.Gjergj Fishta, no 6
1000-TIRANA
Albania
Telephone: +355 (4) 23 640 90 ext. 159
Fax: +355 (4) 23 620 84 / 85
Email: exteriors.gov@andorra.ad
http://www.mfa.gov.al

OR

Ministria e Punëve të Jashtme, Republika e Shqipërisë
Adresa postare : Bulevardi Gjergj Fishta, Nr 6, Tiranë, Shqipëri
Tel: +355 4 23 64 090 (+ 79 205)
Fax: +355 4 23 62 084/85
e-mail: info@mfa.gov.al
http://www.mfa.gov.al

  shady m wrote @ August 26th, 2014 at 20:53

Hi,
We’re a couple, an Egyptian male who is resident and working in Qatar and a Lebanese girl who is living in Lebanon.
We’re planning to get civil marriage in Greece in October/November 2014 and we need to know exactly what are the documentations required from our side? if you can help on that would be great.

Thanks in advance.

Kat Reply:

The only assistance I offer is at “Getting married in Greece – for visitors.” Further, I do not recommend doing all documentation in Greece without help from a wedding planner unless one or both of you speaks, reads and writes fluent Greek.

  Alexandra wrote @ October 13th, 2014 at 20:41

Hello,
First of all thank you so much for the help you provide keeping your post updated and so clear to understand. I am Greek Argentine, I dont speak greek but I came to get married here… while I live in South Africa! So tell me about bouracracy!
Anyway, my comment is to update the address in South Africa to where to get the Apostille. You can verify this information in the official website: http://www.dfa.gov.za/consular/legalisation.htm
Physical Address

Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO)
Attention: Legalisation Section, NE2A-Ground Floor
OR Tambo Building
460 Soutpansberg Road
Rietondale
PRETORIA
0084

Thank you!

Kat Reply:

Oh, thank you so much for letting me know! 🙂 I made the change, which I’m sure will help others.

Wishing you happiness and many blessings!

  Shafeeq wrote @ August 21st, 2016 at 09:48

Thank you very much for this post. This is very informative and I’m sure that I’ll help others regarding certificate apostille.

Sorry, comments are closed at this time.