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Preparation of Documents before your Arrival


A variety of documents are required before and during your research stay.

Please read the corresponding section of our Welcome Guide carefully first to find out about the necessary paperwork.

In addition, certain documents must be officially verified before they can be accepted by German authorities. Find out more below.

There are two ways of confirming the authenticity of a foreign public document: Apostille and Legalisation. The main difference is in who gives the confirmation and how fast.


Traditionally, the confirmation of authenticity is given by a consular officer of the state in which the document is to be used, after it has passed through a confirmative chain of authorities, including those of the state that originally issued the document. This process can take several weeks or even months.

Apostille/ The Hague Apostille:

To simplify and speed up the traditional legalisation process, many countries have agreed on a treaty called the Hague Convention. If both states concerned with a document are party to this agreement and consider the document public and requiring legalisation, authenticity of the document can be confirmed by a designated Competent Authority of the state that originally issued the document. This makes it considerably easier and faster to obtain (in most cases, within only a day). For more information see the brochure The ABCs of Apostille.

There are two ways of confirming the authenticity of a copy of a document issued in Germany: Certification and Notarisation.

Certification/ Authentication (Beglaubigung):

It certifies merely that an original document and its copy are complete and identical or that a signature on a document was made in the presence of an officer. Usually the entity that issued a document will be competent to authenticate its copy or signature. For example, copies of documents (e.g. degrees) issued by TU Dresden can be authenticated by designated university staff, whilst most other public documents need to be authenticated by officers of a local Citizens’ office – Bürgerbüro. Civil status documents, such as birth certificates can only be authenticated by the Civil Registrar’s Office which issued the original document.

Notarisation (Notarielle Beurkundung):

It is a special notarial act which certifies that certain persons have signed a document in the notary’s presence and were previously informed of its contents. The laws of each country specify exactly when this form of authentication is required.

If you would like to use a German public document (e.g. a degree certificate) in another country, you can have its authenticity verified as described above. First you may need a certified one-sided copy of your original, especially if the original is a two-sided document (see above for certification/authentication). You can then have an Apostille issued for this certified copy by the Competent Authority in Germany. If the target country where the verified document is to be used is not a partner of the Hague Convention, please talk to us about how to get a legalisation of your German document.

Legalisation (of a foreign document for use in Germany):

The German embassy or consulate in the country where the original documents were issued

Apostille (for a foreign document for use in Germany):

The designated compentent authority for any public documents issued in your country or region. Read here how to get an Apostille and find a list of competent authorities by country.

Apostille (for a German/Saxon degree certificate for use in another country):

The State Directorate of Saxony – Landesdirektion Sachsen is the competent authority according to the Hague Convention which may issue an Apostille for degree certificates (e.g. a doctorate degree) obtained in Saxony. For one-sided originals, the Apostille will be attached directly to the back of the original document. For two-sided originals, a certified one-sided copy needs to be obtained first from the university that issued the degree before an Apostille can be made out for it.


Directorate 8 – Dezernat 8
For any documents issued by TU Dresden less than 2 years ago

TUD Archives
For any documents issued by TU Dresden longer than 2 years ago

Local Citizen’s Office – Bürgerbüro
For any public documents (with the exception of civil status documents)

Civil Registrar’s Office – Standesamt, Urkundenstelle
For a civil status document issued in Dresden or to have a civil status document issued for the first time (e.g. a birth certificate for a Dresden-born child) either visit in person or use their online application form


For a notarisation – notarielle Beurkundung, contact a notary within your jurisdiction.

The Immigration office or other authorities may ask you for authorised translations of certain documents, e.g. birth, marriage or degree certificates.
A frequently asked question is what is the difference between an authorised translation and a translation done by yourself or a friend: Authorised translations are required to be made by translaters under an official oath. Use the databases in the box below to find an authorised translater near you.As long as you are not a very confident German speaker, you may sometimes wish to be accompanied (to a doctor or another important appointment) by an interpreter who is fluent in your native language or English and German, to simplify communication and avoid misunderstandings. However, as long as it is not a trial at a court of justice, an authorised interpreter (under oath) is not required. The alternative for this support in your everyday life is the Community Interpreters Service, a volunteer organization by Dresden locals of various mother tongues, who will be happy to assist you for a small fee to cover their expenses.

You can find a translators in Germany here:

Official German database of authorised translators and interpreters
in cooperation of the Federal Ministry of Justice and competent regional courts/authorities

Saxon database of authorised translators and interpreters
by Bundesverband der Dolmetscher und Übersetzer (BDÜ) Landesverband Sachsen e.V. – Saxon Association of the Federal Association of Interpreters and Translators

Dresden Community Interpreters Service
a volunteer organization – if need be, send them a request with the date, time, place and language(s) required


Where to find us
Einsteinstraße 9
01069 Dresden
Opening hours
Monday to Friday
10 a.m. till 3 p.m. (please make an appointment in advance)