The documents you will need in Germany will depend on your type of visa, your family situation, the company you work for, the schools or universities you want to attend etc.
We will try to list all those we think you might need.
Remember, it is always better to be over-prepared.
As a rule of thumb, for any document you might use in an official capacity, you should get the unabridged certificate and have it apostilled before you leave South Africa.
You can read more about legalising documents here
Tip: Make electronic copies of important documents and keep them in a secure cloud. You can use encryption software for added security
Note: This is not to be seen as legal or emigration advice but as a list of suggestions. You are responsible for your own clarifications. No liability accepted.
- Your South African Identity document/card and certified copies that you can keep in a safe place
- Apostilled unabridged birth certificate. You will definitely need one to get married in Germany, to register the birth of a child in Germany and when applying for German citizenship.
- Passport – make sure it is valid for at least 2 -3 years after you arrive in Germany. When applying for a new passport in Germany you can wait up to 6 months and sometimes longer to receive your new passport.
- Apostilled unabridged marriage certificate
- Marriage contract
- Apostilled Divorce decree
- Death Certificate of your partner if applicable
- Apostilled unabridged birth certificates
- School records
- Vaccination records. Vaccination against measles is compulsory in Germany
If you intend on getting a German passport, get all the information you can about your parents, for example, date and place of birth.
- All your educational certificates and degrees. Have it apostilled if you need it for your work contract or future studies. To apply for a copy of your matric certificate online, visit the South African e-Services website and click on the Education option.
- If you plan on studying in Germany, you will most likely need to apply for “Anerkennung”, so bring along your academic transcripts, matric certificate and other qualification certificates
You might be asked for translated employee certificates/references to prove the length of service at a company. In Germany, it is customary to receive an “Arbeitszeugnis” from your employer. This is a formal job reference/testimonial that you attach to all your job applications. If possible get such a letter from all your previous employers.
Police clearance certificate
In most cases a South African police clearance certificate is not required, and should not be confused with a German Führungszeugnis.
You can of course apply for one in advance to cover your bases.
According to the police website, it should take around 15 working days to get one, and it will only be valid for 6 months after issue.
It is possible to apply for a police clearance certificate when you are outside of the country.
The German equivalent is a Führungszeugnis – a certificate of good conduct. It can be issued after you registered in Germany.
If you stay in Germany for longer than 6 months you will need to convert your driver’s licence to a German one.
You will need your South African licence card to convert it. Make sure your licence card is valid for at least another year.
Some cities are now requiring proof of “Confirmation of South African Driving licence” when you apply for a German driver’s licence. An example of this is in Böbblingen. Rather be as prepared as you can be, and bring this document with you. This Confirmation can be requested from the RTMC, see more info from DIRCO. You can also use companies to assist you, see our marketplace for more information.
You can send an email to email@example.com.
Your request must include your contact numbers (including email address), a copy of your ID or a copy of your driving licence. Find more information on our Driving and Drive’s licence page
If you do not have a valid driver’s licence, you can do your licence in Germany. You will need to do a first aid course and take theoretical lessons and pass the a theoretical exam. After that you must take practical driving lessons and pass the practical exam. Getting your licence can cost anything from 1500 Euros and up. The average cost is around 3000 Euros per person.
Consider setting up a new will/testament in Germany if you intend on staying here for a long period.
If you still have assets in South Africa, think about notifying the executor of your estate that you are not in the country. Make sure your South African will is in a safe place and people will know where to find it
Apostille certificates are a result of the Hague Convention, a treaty between over 100 countries that allows documents issued in one country to be accepted in another.
An Apostille is a certificate that is attached to the original document to verify it is legitimate and authentic so that it will be accepted in other countries. The following companies are listed on our website
Get South African apostilles, police clearances, birth/marriage certificates, legalisations and much more quickly and efficiently through our legal service. We have helped thousands of people obtain and authenticate South African documents. Apostilles Police Clearance Home
Doc Assist offers assistance with the following services: Unabridged, documentation – Marriage/Birth/Death certificates Police Clearance Certificates Letter of no impediment (your marital status) Retention of citizenship letter from Home Affairs Legalisation / Verification / Authentication /
Translation services in on our Website
The German mission in South Africa has a list of certified translators. The list can be found here
Based in Cape Town South Africa. I am a born South African, stayed in Munich for 13 years and am back in SA I am a sworn translator for the languages German, English, and Afrikaans
Based in Johannesburg South Africa. I’m a qualified sworn translator for English & German, registered with the German Consulate in Pretoria Trained in Germany in German and English and sworn in by the High Court
A Multifaceted Language Service founded by Stephanie Schaffrath TAILORED ONLINE LANGUAGE TUITION: With over 12 years of experience teaching languages, Linguistika is committed to providing high-quality language instruction to individuals of all ages and levels
Based in Germany. Helge Mayer (MA) – accredited/sworn translations German to English and English to German Masters Degree in Translations from the University of Heidelberg (Germany)
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