Document Notarization for Students Applying to German Universities

Document Notarization is going to be the only 'valid' identity proof when you are taking admission in German Universities. So this is a mandatory step. Here is a detailed procedure for getting the document notarization. After completion of document notarization go ahead with the next step in the application process.

Document Notarization for Students Applying to German Universities
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Navigating the path to higher education abroad is an exciting yet perilous trip, and for students interested in studying in Germany, one specific stumbling block frequently stands in the way - document notarization. We are your trusted advisor in this blog, revealing the critical procedure of document notarization for students applying to German institutions. We'll assist you through the complicated labyrinth of paperwork, laws, and seals, ensuring that your academic goals are met and your educational journey to Germany is successful from the start. So, whether you're just beginning your application process or have been bogged down by notarization issues, our insights and advice will be useful in your quest of higher education excellence in Germany.

What is Document Notarization?

Document notarization refers to the process of having an official, usually a notary public, authenticate a document. Notarization provides an additional layer of security, confirming the document's authenticity and the validity of the signatures therein. Such a process is essential in significant processes, such as academic applications, home purchases, and power of attorney declarations.
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Why Do German Universities Require Notarization?

German Universities may mandate document notarization for a few reasons
Verification of Authenticity: Notarization serves as the standardized way to verify and confirm the authenticity of the documents submitted by the international applicants. When the documents are notarized, universities can have more faith that the information provided is accurate and has been officially attested.
Prevention of Fraud: Notarization helps in preventing and filtering out fraudulent applications. It adds an extra layer of security to the application process by ensuring that the documents presented are genuine and have been legally certified.
Compliance with Legal Requirements: Some German universities may have internal policies or legal requirements that mandate the notarization of certain documents for international applicants.
Consistency and Standardization: Notarization provides a standardized method of certifying documents. This consistency is important for universities to efficiently review and compare applications from diverse international backgrounds.

Notarization vs Attestation: Understanding the Difference

While notarization and attestation may seem similar in some aspects, they are distinct processes with different legal implications. Here, we delve deeper into the definitions, procedures, and key differences between notarization and attestation.

What is Notarization?

Notarization of academic documents for applications involves having copies of your academic credentials, such as diplomas, degrees, and transcripts, officially certified by a notary public.

Key Elements of Notarization:

  • Authentication: The notary public authenticates the document and confirms its legitimacy.
  • Identification Verification: The notary verifies the identities of the signatories involved, ensuring they are who they claim to be.
  • Willing Signatories: The notary ensures that all signatories are participating willingly and are not under any duress.
  • Signature and Official Seal: After verification, the notary affixes their official seal and signature on the document, marking its completion.

What is Attestation?

Attestation, unlike notarization, does not necessarily require a legal or officially commissioned officer. Instead, attestation refers to the act of witnessing a signature for the purpose of validating the document's authenticity. It can be performed by any individual unless a specific person's attestation is required by law or regulation.

Key Elements of Attestation:

  • Witness to Signing: The attesting person acts as a witness to the document's signing.
  • Verification of Authenticity: The Attestor confirms that the document was properly executed and is authentic.
  • No Official Seal: Typically, an attestation does not require an official seal, unlike notarization.

Notarization vs Attestation: A Quick Overview

To provide a snapshot comparison, let's arrange these differences into a concise table:
Who can perform?
Legal public notary
Any individual
Official seal needed?
State-commissioned representative
Can be performed by anyone
Verifies document's authenticity
Validates document's authenticity
Identity Verification
Not Necessarily
Understanding these differences can provide clarity when you're preparing your documents for submission to German universities or other institutions. It's always crucial to ascertain whether notarization or attestation is required for your specific situation.

Getting Documents Notarized: A Basic Guide

This is a general step-by-step guide for getting academic documents notarized:
  1. Obtain Copies of Academic Documents: Make photocopies of your original academic documents, including diplomas, degrees, and transcripts. Ensure that the copies are clear and legible.
  1. Find a Notary Public: Locate a notary public in your area. Notaries can be found in various places, including law offices, banks, government offices, and sometimes mobile notary services.
  1. Schedule an Appointment or Visit the Notary: Depending on the notary's availability, you may need to schedule an appointment. If it's a walk-in service, visit the notary's office during their business hours.
  1. Bring Identification: Bring valid government-issued identification with you. This is necessary for the notary to verify your identity.
  1. Present the Academic Documents: Provide the notary with the original academic documents and the photocopies. The notary will compare the copies to the originals to ensure accuracy.
  1. Sign an Affidavit or Statement: In the presence of the notary, you will likely need to sign an affidavit or statement affirming that the copies are true and accurate representations of the original documents. Be prepared to confirm your understanding of the content.
  1. Witnessing and Notarization: The notary will witness your signature and notarize the documents by affixing their official seal and signature. This step confirms that they have verified your identity and witnessed the signing.
  1. Receive Notarized Copies: After notarization, you will receive the notarized copies of your academic documents. These copies now bear the notary's seal and signature, indicating their authenticity.
  1. Payment of Notary Fees: Notaries typically charge a fee for their services. Be prepared to pay the required fees, and inquire about the accepted payment methods.

Notarization Procedure at the German Embassy

Once you get admission in a German university, the next step is to procure a visa. During this process, the students might require to get their documents notarized by the officials in the consulate.

1. Certifying Indian Documents

As an example, consular officers certify Indian documents upon the request of a German authority or in connection with a passport or visa application. This process may involve a formal verification process, whose cost varies based on document complexity and origin.

2. Certifying Signatures

The person whose signature is to be certified must appear in person with a valid photo ID. The consular officer then witnesses the signature and certifies it on the original document.

3. Certifying Copies

The Embassy can certify copies as true copies of original documents or copies previously certified by a German authority.

4. Translating Documents

If the German authority requires translated documents, these translations need to be done by a translator certified in Germany, as the German missions abroad do not offer translation services.

Ensuring Correct Notarization

To be recognized by German universities, notarized documents should contain an official seal and signature, and meet specific requirements regarding multi-page documents and those with information on both sides. Importantly, the notarization must come from authorized bodies such as schools, higher education institutions, relevant ministries, or the German diplomatic body.

Notarizing Non-German Documents

Non-German documents should be notarized by the embassy or consulate of your home country if you're already residing in Germany.

Translating Non-English or Non-German Documents

Documents that are not issued in German or English must be translated by a sworn translator and notarized with an official seal. You will need to submit a notarized copy of both the original and translated documents.


Document notarization is a vital step for students applying to German universities. Not only does it validate your documents and signature, but it also confirms your identity, assuring the universities about your application's integrity. Ensure you follow the guidelines outlined in this guide to facilitate a smooth and successful application process.


What documents need to be notarized for admission to German universities?
Typically, students need to notarize their educational documents, including transcripts, diplomas, and degrees.
Where should I get my documents notarized?
Documents can be notarized at various institutions, including banks, law offices, and courthouses, all of which usually employ notaries.
What is the difference between notarization and attestation?
Notarization and attestation are both processes for validating a document's authenticity. Notarization requires a legal public notary, while attestation can be performed by any individual. Notarization also requires an official seal, while attestation does not.
Can I get documents notarized at the German embassy?
Yes, international students can get their documents notarized at the German embassy in their home country.
What are the specific requirements for notarized documents for German universities?
Notarized documents should contain an official seal and signature and meet specific requirements regarding multi-page documents and those with information on both sides. The notarization must come from authorized bodies such as schools, higher education institutions, relevant ministries, or the German diplomatic body.
What if my documents are not in German or English?
Documents not issued in German or English must be translated by a sworn translator and notarized with an official seal. You'll need to submit a notarized copy of both the original and translated documents.
What if I'm already residing in Germany?
Non-German documents should be notarized by the embassy or consulate of your home country if you're already residing in Germany.

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MS in Germany
MS in Germany

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