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Certifications, Consular Certificates and Notarizations
According to German law, there are two different types for generating official records: The form of certifying a signature and the form of notarization. In both cases, a document is officially signed. The legislative authority and the legal practice determine when which form will be implemented.
Certification of Signature
The certification of a signature is the „simpler“ form. With the signature certification, the notary public respectively the consular officer confirms that the named individual signed the document in front of him/her. The signature must be done in person in front of the appropriate consular officer or must be recognized by him. The individual will not be instructed on the legal meaning or any legal consequences of the document in question. In many cases, in order for the document to be legally binding, certifying the signature suffices. A certification of signature can also be done by the honorary consul, Mr Arunas Baublys, in Klaipeda.
Usually, a certification of signature is requested in the following cases:
· application for a certificate of good conduct (police record), information from the German trade register or aliens‘ register
· registration of information at the German trade register
· declaration for renouncing an inheritance
· declaration of consent, respectively authorizing a Power of Attorney („Genehmigungserklärung“ or „Vollmachtsbestätigung“): someone signed on your behalf a contract or declaration without having received the power of attorney from you. You are now asked to authorize this declaration retroactively, so that the contract will be legally binding.
· Applications and declarations regarding your name, birth or marriage (further information can be found here (in German)).
Signatures in connection with bank accounts can usually not be notarized. Exceptions are possible for blocked accounts.
To have your signature certified, please present the following documents during your appointment:
· the document that has to be signed (the embassy cannot draft this document on your behalf); please note that the document has to be signed in front of the consular officer
· for declarations of consent: the contract that has been notarized in Germany
· a valid photo-ID (passport, ID card)
The fees for a signature certification depends on the type of the legal transaction and will be either approximately 56€ or 81€ (for name declarations). The fee can be paid in cash or by credit card (Visa or Mastercard).
Scheduling an Appointment for certifying a signature
Appointments can only be booked online.
If you need one of the following documents, the embassy or the honorary consul may confirm your data as requested by the German issuing authority:
- certificate of good conduct (police record)
- information from the German trade register
- life certificate
Please bring the following documents with you:
· form that has to be signed, please note that the document has to be signed in front of the consular officer
· a valid photo-ID (passport, ID card)
The fee for a consular certificate is 34€ and has to be paid in cash or by credit card (Visa or Mastercard).
Scheduling an appointment
Appointments can only be booked online. Please choose the category „certifications of signature“. A life certificate can be issued Monday through Friday between 08.30am and 12pm without appointment.
Some legal transactions require a notarization due to their legal consequences. The following notarizations are offered at the embassy:
· application for a certificate of inheritance or a European certificate of inheritance
· sworn affidavit (e.g. of being single, loss of a driver's license, etc.)
· acknowledgement of paternity including the consent of the child’s mother
· obligation to pay alimony.
A full power of attorney (Generalvollmacht), health care proxy (Vorsorgevollmacht) or living will (Patientenverfügung) cannot be notarized at the embassy.
The fees for a notarization depend on the type of legal transaction. They can be paid in cash or by credit card (Visa, Master) at the embassy.
Scheduling the Appointment for the Notarization
Every notarization has to be prepared carefully and can only be conducted after having scheduled an individual appointment. Please contact the embassy for further information.
Photocopies can be certified at the embassy upon submitting the original documents if the documents in questions have to be submitted in Germany. Please book an appointment for a certification of signature here.
The fee is approximately 29€ and can be paid in cash or by credit card (Visa, Master) at the embassy.