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Before certain New Zealand documents can be used overseas, Document Authentication may be necessary.
It is usually required where overseas officials are not able to determine on sight the authenticity of New Zealand documents. To check the requirements, contact the relevant authorities in the country concerned or their overseas representatives.
The authentication process varies depending on the document type and country requirements. Please read the following steps carefully.
Step 1: Notarisation
Step 2: Authentication
Step 3: Verification
If you have any queries, please contact either:
If your document is:
1. An original birth, marriage or death certificate issued in New Zealand: if it is an original document and bears the round seal of the Registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages (or the Registrar-General), then send the document directly to the Authentication Unit. If your document does not have a seal, or is a photocopy, it must be notarised (see point 3 below) before being sent to the Authentication Unit, or you can apply for new original documents from Births Deaths and Marriages on 0800 22 52 52 / 00 64 4 474 8000 or online at: www.bdm.govt.nz
(Please note that some foreign diplomatic missions do not accept these documents if they have been notarised or are more than 10
years old – check with the relevant embassy/consulate).
2. An original document bearing the seal and signature of an approved government agency such as a District Court, the Police, etc: Send directly to the Authentication Unit. Do not send downloaded or photocopied documents:
3. Any other type of document: Documents such as contracts, references, powers of attorney, declarations, academic documents, Chamber of Commerce certificates, etc, will need to be notarised by a Notary Public in New Zealand before being sent to the Authentication Unit. The Notary Public will sign the document and affix their seal. You can find a list of Notaries Public for your area in the Yellow Pages of your telephone book. The Notary Public will charge a fee.
Please contact us if you are unsure about whether your document requires notarisation.
Step Two: Authentication
Send us your documents for authentication. The Authentication Unit at the Department of Internal Affairs authenticates the signature and seal of the approved Government Agency or Notary Public. This takes up to five working days. Please advise the Authentication Unit if urgent processing is required. Once the Authentication Unit has authenticated your documents we will pass your documents on to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade for the next step in the authentication process.
Make sure you have enclosed:
The document/s to authenticate. If you have more than one document to authenticate, you may need to check with the end-user whether the documents can be processed as a set or authenticated separately. Documents in a set will be joined together.
Documents with different seals can be authenticated as one set. For example a birth certificate with the round seal of the Registrar of Births,
Deaths and Marriages can be authenticated with a document that bears the signature and seal of a Notary Public.
Please indicate clearly which supporting papers belong together, and the order of each set, when you submit more than one set of documents.
You should paper clip or staple each set together.
This is payable by cheque (made out to Department of Internal Affairs), VISA/Mastercard (card number, name and expiry date) or money order. If you visit our office you may also pay with cash or EFTpos.
The fee for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is $40.00 (incl. GST) per document or set of documents and $17.00 (incl. GST) for each identical document or set. This is payable by cheque (made out to Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade) VISA/MasterCard (card number, name and expiry date) or money order.
· within New Zealand
include a stamped self-addressed envelope, or
include a self-addressed prepaid courier pack.
· outside New Zealand
A self-addressed prepaid international courier pack/envelope.
On completion, we will then forward your documents to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade for Step Three.
Step Three: Verification
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade verifies the signature and seal of the Department of Internal Affairs. Please contact them directly on (04) 473-2018 if you have any questions about this part of the process. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade verifies the signature and seal of the Department of Internal Affairs. The document(s) must then be forwarded to the diplomatic mission of the country for their verification. There are two categories of countries:
Verification by foreign diplomatic mission of a 'Category A' country:
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade will return the documents to you by your self-addressed envelope or prepaid courier pack for you to forward to the foreign country’s diplomatic mission for their verification.
Verification by foreign diplomatic mission of a 'Category B' country:
The Ministry will forward your documents to the foreign diplomatic mission for you via a NZ overseas post.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade will advise the fee for the New Zealand overseas mission and contact details for the overseas foreign mission. Both the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade's fee and the New Zealand overseas post fee may be combined into a single New Zealand dollar cheque payable to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Contact the foreign overseas mission to enquire about fees plus arrangements for payment and return of documents. For contact details phone the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (04) 473-2018. Please note that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade will not advise foreign mission requirements or make enquiries on your behalf.
Fees: NZ$65.00 per set of documents and NZ$17.00 for each copy of the same set.
'Category A' countries - those that will verify the signature of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade on a document.
If the country in which you intend to use the document you want authenticated is listed here, go to Verification by foreign diplomatic mission of a 'Category A' country. Otherwise, go to Verification by foreign diplomatic mission of a 'Category B' country.
(Contact details are available from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade website or check the Telecom Yellow Pages.)
Links to further information
Last updated: 20/06/2006