Procedure to Authenticate Documents & Certificates (Apostille Stamp) in Nigeria

This detailed informational article explains everything you need to know about how to authenticate documents and certificates in Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Education as required. It explains the official and unofficial procedures to authenticate / legalize your documents at the Foreign Affairs Ministry (which is the equivalent of Apostille Stamp certification in Nigeria). Note: If you are based outside Abuja and you need a trusted party to help you facilitate your document authentication and send the document back to your location, you can jump to the optional document authentication service section of this article.

The Essence of Document Authentication (Why it is Required)

Authentication and legalization of documents is often a necessity for Nigerians travelling abroad to study, settle down, do business, or undertake any transaction that may require their Nigeria-issued documents and certificates such as birth certificate, marriage certificate, WAEC and degree certificates, transcripts, police character certificate, bank statement for visa applications, and other documents.

Most consulates, high commissions, and embassies will require you to authenticate such documents and certificates at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Abuja.

In countries that are members of the Hague Apostille Convention, documents are legalized with an ‘Apostille Stamp’ by the Department of State or Ministry of Foreign Affairs as the case may be. Getting the Apostille Stamp on your document essentially means to certify or authenticate the document – affirming the document’s authenticity and validity for international use. Nigeria is not a member country of the Hague Apostille Convention, so Apostille Stamp is not issued in Nigeria.

The equivalent of Apostille Stamp in Nigeria is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs authentication (also known as legalization) of documents. It is the same thing as the Apostille Stamp, and it certifies the authenticity of your documents and makes your documents valid internationally.

In order to use public documents (issued in Nigeria) outside the country, such documents must be certified and authenticated by the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The authentication stamp and signatures appended on your document by Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Ministry lends international legitimacy to that document and certifies that it is authentic and was duly issued by the appropriate authority as claimed.

This is why you need to know how to authenticate documents and certificates at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Nigeria – specifically the procedures and other important details involved in the process.

Depending on your individual circumstances and objectives,  some of the documents you may need to authenticate at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in furtherance of your visa application include: Birth Certificate, Marriage Certificate, Divorce Decree, Bank Statement, Power of Attorney, Single Status Affidavit, International Passport Data Page, Declaration of Assets and Income,  Sponsorship Letter, Authorization Letter, Police Character Certificate, and Academic Credentials and certifications (WAEC, NECO, Degree, Diploma, Transcripts, etc.). The documents you need to authenticate depend on the country you intend to use the document and what the relevant embassy or receiving authority stipulates.

How to Authenticate Documents and Certificates at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs: The Official Procedure

Document authentication at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Abuja may seem fairly straightforward on paper, but as with all things that involve the government bureaucracy in Nigeria, artificial bottlenecks characterize the process. This makes it somewhat complicated and frustrating.

Depending on the document or certificate you want to authenticate and the country’s embassy you’re presenting the document to, the first step is to contact a certified Notary Public to notarize the document for you. This role is typically played by lawyers, and you should contact a lawyer to inquire about this. The cost of notarizing the document is not fixed, as it varies significantly depending on the Notary Public in question and on your bargaining power.

After the document has been notarised by the Notary Public, the second step is to take the document with you to the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs where the actual authentication process takes place, with the appending of an Apostille Stamp on the document.

At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ask for assigned officers of the Legal Services Division (LSD), to whom you should directly submit the documents – usually between the hours of to 12 noon on Mondays to Thursdays.

However, to the best of my knowledge, the notarisation requirement is only applicable when you’re presenting the document(s) to the Chinese Embassy. In other words, if you’re authenticating the document for use in China, then it is compulsory to notarise it before taking it to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for authentication.

However, if you’re presenting the document to other countries’  embassies, it may not be necessary to notarise the document (unless explicitly stated by the particular embassy as a requirement). Simply take the document to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for legalization and authentication.

If you’re authenticating an academic certificate such as WAEC  or NECO certificates, then it is necessary to first authenticate it at the Ministry of Education BEFORE proceeding to the Ministry of Foreign affairs for authentication.

Which Copy Should be Authenticated – Original Document or Photocopy?

A lot of people have asked whether the original copy or the photocopy of a document should be authenticated. The answer to this question is that it depends on the embassy or country you’re going to with the documents. Some embassies/countries insist on authenticating the original, but most indeed accept authenticated/legalized printed copies or photocopies.

It is prudent for you to verify from the embassy or relevant body in the country you’re travelling to in order to be sure. However, from our experience, the main countries whose embassies insist on authenticating or legalizing the original copy of your documents are: United Arab Emirates (UAE), Poland, India, and Czech Republic.

The requirement to legalize the originals of your credentials, results, transcripts and other academic certificates as well as documents such as marriage certificate, divorce certificate, and Police Character Certificate are is often enforced in the above-mentioned countries’ embassies, especially if you intend to travel for your studies.

For most other countries (to the best of my knowledge), since your original documents may be too valuable to risk misplacing it when submitting it for legalization at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or Ministry of Education, you could simply scan the document and print it in colour on a good quality paper or make coloured photocopies of the documents for the purpose of official authentication at the ministry. Then again, this is entirely up to you, as it depends on the requirement of the embassy you’re presenting it to or the country you’re using it in.

How to Authenticate Educational Certificates and Academic Documents at the Ministry of Education

For those who are seeking to study abroad, it is compulsory to first authenticate your academic certificates and credentials (such as WAEC or NECO certificate, degree certificate and in some cases examination transcripts) at the Ministry of Education before presenting them to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for authentication as described above.

Unfortunately, the process for authenticating educational certificates and other academic documents at the Ministry of Education is even more stressful and time-consuming than what you would later encounter at the Foreign Affairs Ministry.

First, you have to take your academic documents to the 8th Floor of the Federal Secretariat Building in Abuja (where the Education Ministry is located), present a print out of your WAEC or NECO certificate, and obtain a form which you must fill to begin the process of authentication.

For those who want to travel to countries such as Malaysia, UAE, Poland and Czech Republic for studies, there is an extra retirement known as the Letter of Eligibility which will be issued by the Ministry of Education alongside legalization after evaluating your First School Leaving Certificate, Testimonial, and other prior academic documents. This can take a considerable amount of time to sort out.

Subsequently, you will be asked to go and make payments via REMITA in any commercial bank for each of the documents to be authenticated. The total cost would be computed to let you know exactly how much you need to pay at the bank. Being a REMITA payment, you would have to first generate a REMITA payment ID that will be used to designate your payment to the appropriate government account.

After making payment, you have to make a photocopy of your payment slip and take the original to the Revenue Office of the Ministry of Education. Afterwards, you would submit it along with your certificates and wait for instructions pertaining to when you should return for the authenticated certificate(s). Be prepared for many frustrating ‘come today, come tomorrow’ delays,, only you choose to follow the unofficial process which is discussed subsequently.

Note that the Ministry of Education only attends to issues relating to authentication of academic documents on Mondays to Thursdays, so Fridays are officially out of it.


If you’re not based in Abuja and would like to get someone to help you authenticate your documents, we might arrange this for you, to help you save transport costs and the associated risks and logistical inconveniences.

You could email us the scanned copy of the document and then we will print it out and authenticate the copy for you, after which it will be sent to your location via courier. Alternatively, if necessary, you could send the hard copy document(s) via one of the popular transport companies or courier services to us in Abuja.

We will print out or physically receive the documents and sort out the authentication/legalization process on your behalf and then send the authenticated document back to you via courier or waybill. The whole process should take less than three days depending on the nature of the document and your location.

Considering the logistics, legwork, and effort needed to handle this task efficiently, please note this is a premium service for which a premium fee will be charged. But at least you will be sure of getting your document duly authenticated and delivered to your location with peace of mind.. Feel free to contact us if you need this service.

Email Address:

Phone Number+234 905 613 7169


READ ALSO: Required Documents for US Visa Application in Nigeria (Student & Work Visa)

91 thoughts on “Procedure to Authenticate Documents & Certificates (Apostille Stamp) in Nigeria

  1. Please i need information on marriage certificate legalization in the MFA processes and cost and if i can get it same day thanks.

  2. Can I come to Abuja to drop my documents with you for the authentication? I have a broken leg and I don’t think I can do that myself.

  3. Note that the authentication process for academic documents going to the UAE specifically is a bit cumbersome at the Ministry of Education. You’d have to appear in person at the ministry, and provide original copies of all your academic documents including testimonials, school leaving certificate and the rest.

  4. This is for the insight.
    I want to authenticate and legalise my friends waec result for him but he is in Russia and am in Nigeria, how do i go about it?

  5. Hi impressions, please I’m applying for a teaching job in China I was asked to submit my notarized documents, I’m a bit confused,can any lawyer notarize for me or it must be done in Abuja and is it all my documents I need to notarize.

    1. You can get a certified Notary Public to do the notarisation for you – it doesn’t have to be done in Abuja. And you could only notarise the specific documents you’re required to tender at the Embassy (such as your birth certificate WAEC, and degree certificate).

  6. hello Bro….. Is it all documents that need(s) to be notarized before authenticating it at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

    Thanx Boss!

  7. Please see below part of what i received from the institution that gave me admission in iran.
    This means i should go to iranian embassy to legalized or its the one that you are talking about(ministry of foreign affairs)?

    “Note that your previous degree certificate and transcripts have to get legalization in Iranian embassy in the country that you got the degree. It would be nice if you do legalization at this step and upload the legalized documents in the website. In the case the legalization takes time, please upload the document and manage for the legalization. Note that upon your registration, you have to provide the legalized documents”

    1. What this means is that you should first legalise the documents at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as explained in this article, and thereafter take the legalised documents to the Iranian Embassy.

  8. Hi Impressions please do you have any WhatsApp contact so that i can contact you, i really need your help please, i’m in Urgent need of your help.
    Also i have one question, if my Cousin brother or Sister can be able to help me get my attestation of Birth and State of Origin Certificate. Must he be the person to still authenticate in Abuja or can i still use another person to do it, like a friend, i asked because my cousin said he won’t be able to go to Abuja because he’s busy for now, but that he.can help me get it from our Local Government. Please i really need your help and also if i can contact you through WhatsApp so that you can help me. The Nigerian Embassy here in Berlin, Germany is really on my Nerves i really need it

    1. It’s not compulsory that your cousin must be the same person to handle the authentication process in Abuja after getting your attestation of birth and local government certificate. We can help you with this. Send me an email at:

    1. Well I guess that’s the problem. For documents to be presented to the Italian Embassy, an accompanying receipt needs to be issued by the MFA as part of the authentication. This applies only in the case of the Italian Embassy.

  9. @ CC

    I understand legalization at the Italian embassy is about 30k or 32 but hold 35k just in case. Please how did you generate the RRR for the payment at the Ministry of finance. Remita is asking me for a gifmis code. Do you know the code and how ,much per document?

  10. Hello Everybody.

    Thanks Impressions for this thread and the updates so far.

    The Italian embassy rejected my documents because there was no Remita (RRR) code and payment Receipt for payment to the Ministry of Finance. So I need to re-do the authentication again.

    My problem is that I have been trying to generate an RRR number at Remita website and it is asking me for a GIFMIS code.

    Does anyone knows the GIFMIS code for the MOFA and how much do click to pay for one document?

    @Impressions? Ideas?

    Thank you

    1. For authentication of documents to be presented to the Italian Embassy, an authenticated receipt will be issued by the MFA. I’m not sure about the Remita Code, but I assume it is included in the receipt.

      Were you issued an accompanying receipt with the authentication?

  11. Must I go to abuja to authenticate my document, is there no ministry of foreign affairs arround lagos ibadan

  12. Please i want to authenticate my police character certificate..Do i need to take it to court for notarisation before going to ministry of foreign affairs… Thank you

    1. There’s no rule saying it has to be coloured. But I feel it is safer to use a coloured copy. Nonetheless, you may use a black and white photocopy.

  13. I am a Nigerian Resident in Italy with Full Italian Resident Permit my finance is a German we wanted to Marry in Germany or Denmark. But they required my Birth Certificate. and Marital Status Certificate, as I’m older than 18 years Old can I get a Birth Certificate in Nigeria? I will be 23 by September this year.and also if I can get it through my cousin Brother. He will help me request it and the State or Origin Document. I will also like to know the Process of gettimg it Appostilized as Nigeria is not among the Apostille Hague Convention thanks. I will really like to hear from you soon thanks. And also a Facebook contact will be nice too
    My Username is Nelly Overcomer. Thank you

    1. I believe it is standard practice to Notarise the document first before authentication. Maybe this can be skipped, but I think it is necessary.

  14. Well done @Impressions.This is so insightful; you have helped to shed light on an aspect of Government service that so many people do not know exists. The Government should ordinarily provide it freely to Citizens without any bottleneck. Keep up the good work and thanks.

  15. I really need your help on authentication of Documents issued in Nigeria, I will like to contact you directly if you can help me pls
    My Facebook name is OVERCOMER NELLY

  16. I am a Nigerian Living in Italy with 5 years Resident i have a German Partner. I and my partner decided last month to get Married in Denmark as it’s the Fasted with less paper work to get Married in Europe. But they requested my Birth Certificate and my Marital status Certificate, I will be 23 by September 27 I will like to know if I can get a Birth Certificate or Simply get the Declaration of age from the court in my local Government area. and also the State of Origin Certificate from them there along with the Marital Status Certificate. As I don’t live in Nigeria i have told my Cousin Brother to help me get all the paperwork completed. I don’t know the process of the authentication of the Documents with the Apostille, please can you kindly help me out thanks

  17. Hi please i have a Question I’m a Nigerian living in Italy with an Italian 5 years Resident Permit, my Partner is a German we will be travelling to Denmark to Get Married there as it’s a Little bit easier there, we already contacted the Danish Registry Office we were told that I need My Birth Certificate, Marital Status, Certificate and Maybe the State of Origin, I’m now 23 i was born in 1995 can I still get an Original Certificate in one of the Hospital in My town Local Government even though I’m older than 18 and also my Birth wasn’t Registered. And secondly if I can get those documents how can i Authenticate them with full apostille to enable me to use it in Denmark.and also if my cousin can help me with the process. Please I need your help thanks.

  18. OK..tnx for ur prompt reply..I’m not in abuja and I have sent my documents to a friend to help me out…d copies are not coloured.. Is dat a problem.. Bcos dey are much

    1. Not really. It’s not required to present originals. Just go with (preferably coloured) copy of the document you want to authenticate.

  19. Update: They said the documents must be certified by a person who is equivalent to a justice of peace or by a commissioner for deceleration

  20. Pls where can I certify visas and a death certificate? I was asked to provide a certified copy of both. Thank you

  21. Pls I learnt we are to take the documents to the ministry of Education for authentication too before taking I it to the ministry of foreign affairs. How true is that?

    1. What kind of documents do you want to authenticate? I’m not sure whether authenticating it at the Ministry of Education is required and also don’t know the procedure for authentication at the Ministry of Education. But I’m sure you would ultimately need to authenticate the documents at the Foreign Ministry.

  22. Good day. Who has a contact at the MFA on this authentication processes. I would be very grateful if I can get a timely response.


  23. Good day. Am currently working on a study visa and I don’t know the variety of docudocum that are needed to be authenticated.

  24. Wow. This thread has been very helpful. Thanks Impressions. I want to ask, hope the Russian embassy will not ask for the RRR and receipt like the Italian embassy? Also, do you have an agency that can help with documents authentication at the MFA in Abuja? Am in Ibadan and I do not know anyone in Abuja. Thanks in anticipation.

    1. Thanks for the heads up. For those in Lagos, in case you’ve been wondering, there you have it.

      You need to find someone in Abuja to help you with the authentication process if you can’t make it there yourself.

  25. Please I don’t know if u know how long it takes the Italian embassy to do the verification of documents on family reunion. Thanks

  26. Hello, I’ll like to authenticate my international passport, I saw somewhere that I’ll need an immigration stamp on a photocopy of the data page before it can be authenticated at the MFA. Is this true please?

    1. Yes, that’s the procedure,. You can get this done at any immigration office near you before heading to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for authentication.

      But of course, since this is Nigeria, I wouldn’t be surprised if that requirement can be skipped altogether if you grease a few palms at the MFA to get your passport authenticated right away.

    1. I think the previous commenter would check the Lagos office after the holidays, hopefully, he or she would give feedback here if the Lagos office is able to handle authentication of documents.

  27. At the ministry of foreign affairs office in Lagos with address 15A Awolowo road ikoyi Lagos, can I authenticate my police clearance certificate there? Urgent reply please.

    1. I’m not really sure if you can authenticate documents at the Lagos office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Perhaps you’ll have to go there to find out if you’re in Lagos.

  28. I want to authenticate my affidavit in the ministry of foreign affairs, the court in my local government stamped already, what else do I need to know? If you have contacts in abuja please let me know, it’s urgent

  29. Thanks a lot, I had to do an authentication for a client here in Abuja and this thread has been helpful.
    I’ll be in the Ministry of Foreign affairs by tuesday
    Thanks a lo

  30. I’m about to take my translated documents to the Italian embassy for legalization, you know how long the legalization would take And how much it costs

  31. can i do the apostille authentication at the Lagos Office of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs? and can you help with the address ?

      1. I’m not really sure if there’s a Ministry of Foreign Affairs office, but I doubt. You can do a quick check on Google to find out. Otherwise, I think it’s just the headquarters in Abuja.

  32. Thank you so much for your prompt reply. I am not in Abuja and do not have anyone there. Also the letter there are requesting for is called letter of introduction. They say if I cannot provide an nvitation letter from Singapore. Then I should get a letter from Foreign affairs or Nigeria Embassy in Singapore. I am actually going for a convention.

    1. Well, I guess you’d need to go to the Foreign Affairs Ministry to get the introduction letter. The alternative is to find someone already in Abuja to do the running around for you. Of course he or she would have to grease a few palms there to get the stamped letter quickly. Since it is an introduction letter, my hunch is that the ministry would need details about you (name, state of origin, date of birth, etc and perhaps proof of citizenship such as your local government confirmation letter).

      You’ll have to find someone that can get to the ministry and make inquiries on your behalf. Don’t expect to follow the official process, because if you do, I’m sure the introduction letter will not come out until Christmas.

      1. Thank you so much. Presently I don’t have anyone in Abuja that can help. I don’t know if you any one can help out. Let chat privately.
        Thank you

  33. Hello please I need help. I am travelling to Singapore for a convention just two days and I was asked to get a letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Honestly I really don’t know what to do. Please if any answer.

    1. Are you in Abuja? If you are in Abuja or you have anyone in Abuja to help you, you can simply go to the Foreign Affairs headquarters to get the letter. Besides, you did not specify the kind of letter you were asked to get from the Foreign Affairs Ministry.

  34. hello.. thanks for your insights and explanation. You mention that documents have to be photocopied in color in oder that the originals are not tampered with, but what if the require that the original certificates be apostilled not the color copies. what then?

    1. I’m not sure most institutions would require that the original document be stamped. In most cases, it is sufficient to authenticate a coloured copy of the originals, and present the original only for ‘sighting’ purposes. But if you are required to authenticate the original by stamping it, then you may proceed to do so…at your own risk!

  35. Please…I need urgent helps about my documents, should I translate my document into italian language before going for authentication in abuja and before I will later sumit it to italian embassy…..please any use information

  36. Thanks alot for the insight….quite an eye opener..God bless u…
    Btw..i would want to know will the stamp on all original documents or i make coloured copies of all and submit along with original for stamping? Secondly, i would want more than one stamp o. Each document…how possible is that?

    1. You don’t have to submit originals for stamping. Just make a coloured photocopy of the document you want to legalize or authenticate and then submit that photocopy for both the Notary Public Stamp and the authentication stamp. It’s advisable that original copies of your important documents should not be tampered with.

      If you want more than one stamp, no problem. Just make as many photocopies of the document (after notarising it) and submit the photocopies for authentication accordingly. However, note that this will cost you more. Any amount of money you pay for document authentication at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is based on one copy alone, so be prepared to pay that amount on each copy of the document you want the authentication stamp on.

      1. Please…I need urgent helps about my documents, should I translate my document into italian language before going for authentication in abuja and before I will later sumit it to italian embassy…..please any use information

        1. NO. You do not need to translate your documents first before taking them to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. You get it authenticated and legalized at the Ministry first before you go for translation.

          TAKE NOTE. Do not give anybody/ the security men at the entrance of the Ministry money for them to go in at do it for you. The Italian embassy will not accept it if you don’t have the receipt and remita number which you used to pay for it. So you must first generate a Remita code called RRR at Remita website, then pay 300 naira for each document you want to authenticate at the bank and then go to the MOFA

  37. Thanks alot for the insight….quite an eye opener..God bless u…
    Btw..i would want to know will the stamp on all original documents or i make coloured copies of all and submit allonh with original for stamping? Secondly, i would want more than one stamp o. Each document…how possible is that?

  38. hi ,am travelling to Dubai and I need to authentic my police clearance certificate, please I want to know(1) if I can send it to my brother in Abuja to help me with the process(2)the requirements (3)the amount for the whole process at the ministry of foreign affairs. Thank you

    1. Your brother can help you out with the process only unofficially. If you try to follow the official process, the guys at the ministry of Foreign Affairs would claim that you can not authenticate documents by proxy.

      Send the document to your brother and ask him to follow the procedure laid out here.

  39. Hi, I need a birth certificate with an apostille stamp , do I need to get my birth certificate first and take it to the MFF for the stamp ?

    1. You should make a (preferably colored photocopy) of the birth certificate, and then take the photocopy to a Notary Public (ask any lawyer) to get it notarised. After that, you can then take that photocopied version with the Notary Public stamp to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to get it authenticated with the Apostille Stamp. Note that the notarization requirement is if you’re going to China. Otherwise, you may not need a Notary Public. Simply take the photocopy of the birth certificate to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for authentication.

  40. You need to pay a couple of thousands to get your documents authenticated quickly , and you can get it same day if you are willing to pay well.

    1. Hello impressions Nigeria. Can you please help clarify if WAEC attestation is required for employment visa to Saudi Arabia.

      Is my Nigerian Degree certificate only sufficient ?

      Also for MSc obtained in the UK which body authenticate this?

      Thank You.


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