What is legalization or Attestation of document?
Legalization or attestation of document refers to the process whereby a diplomatic or consular mission abroad certifies a document issued by their host country as genuine document and can be used and admitted as evidence in that mission’s own country. In other words, this enables the authorities in that mission’s own country to accept these foreign documents as legal evidence.
For instance, you have a document made in Tanzania, either it is a public document or the personal document, and you need to use this document in another country, Netherlands may be, the document need to pass through the process of legalization for it to be acceptable in the Netherlands.
Why should the documents from Tanzania go through Legalization process?
Tanzania is not a member and has not acceded the Hague Convention, 1961 the convention which abolishes legalization of public documents from its members. The members to the conventions will recognize and accept a public document issued by one of its members as long as it bears the title “Apostille (Convention de La Haye du 5 octobre 1961)” in the French language.
Since Tanzania is not a member of the Hague Convention, all the documents from Tanzania has to go through the legalization or attestation process for them to be valid and acceptable in the ountry of destination.
Whether or not a legalization is necessary is within the discretion of the authority in the destination country. But once Legalization is required the document must undergo the legalization process explained hereinbelow.
Legalization or Attestation of document procedures in Tanzania.
Legalization of the documents originated from Tanzania for use of any country abroad shall follow the below process;
First the document shall be original and must have been authenticated by the issuing authority, then the document shall be taken to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, in Dodoma where the Ministry will affix its stamp and sign the document authenticating that the document is issued by the authorized institution in Tanzania.
Thereafter, the document has to be taken to the diplomatic or consular mission of the destination country in Tanzania, where the Mission will affix its stamp and signature, authenticating the stamp and signature of the Ministry of Foreign Affair of Tanzania.
Despite affixing its stamp and signature to the document, the consular mission does not authenticate the contents of the document, rather the it authenticate the stamp and signature of the Ministry of foreign affair of the hosting country.
From there the document will be valid for use only in the country which its diplomatic or consular mission, has legalized/attest the document. In other words, if the document from Tanzania has been legalized/attested by the Italy embassy in Tanzania, then the same document is valid for use only in Italy and not otherwise, in case the document needs to e used in Germany, it has to go through the above process under the Germany Embassy in Tanzania.
The above process might seem easier and straight forward process, but in reality it is not, the process is somehow complicated depending on the country of destination, the nature of the document to be legalized and some other documents might require supporting documents and other technical issues, which can be easily obtained or dealt with by a lawyer.
If you have, ever had to legalize documents within Tanzania for use abroad if yes, then you have no doubt experienced the frustration of having the document signed/executed only to find out later that the documents are not legally valid or acceptable.
To avoid all that, we at Eden law Chambers, can guide and assist you in the whole process of legalization of Document in Tanzania, make sure that only valid and acceptable documents are legalized, saving you time and the cost involve on the legalization process.