Authentication of documents
Securely binding documents
A Notary Public specialises in authenticating documents, and a Notarial Act Certificate has recognition worldwide.
A solicitor cannot bind documents - only an Irish Notary Public can securely bind documents together. This will ensure that no documents are removed or added from a bundle of documents. No foreign documents can be within this bundle (for example, a foreign passport).
Best practice is for a Notary Public to bind documents and attached a Notarial Act Certificate to the front of the bundle, making reference to each document within the bundle on this certificate.
You should check with the authorities who you are presenting the bundle to that this is accepted by them - sometimes they will want each document stamped individually. Please be aware that we charge per stamp issued.
Where a solicitor signs documents, each document is treated individually - the stamp we issue only refers to this specific document.
The binding can be done in a variety of ways. If staples are being used, some additional security measure must be incorporated. This can be done by covering the rear side of the staple with a sticker at a minimum or indeed covering both sides of the staple.
If no sticker is present over the back of a staple, documents will be returned to be securely bound by the Notary.
Authentications and apostilles
When using Irish documents overseas, for business or personal reasons, you might need to 'authenticate' or 'Apostille' them. This is also known as the "legalisation" of documents.
The Department of Foreign Affairs are the competent authority who confirm that a signature, seal or stamp is from an Irish public official / body.
Our offices in Mount Street and Cork issue these physical stamps on your document. Authenticating/Apostilling a document doesn't mean that the Department of Foreign Affairs is verifying that its contents are accurate or that the Department approves of its contents.
Only Irish public documents (including notarised, private company documents with a clear Irish link) can be processed.
We cannot advise on whether a document requires authentication. This is a matter for you to find out. Contact the authorities in the country where the document will be used to check their requirements.
Only the Authentications Unit based in Dublin/Cork can issue these stamps. Embassies and Consulates cannot issue an Apostille or authentication stamp.
Documents we authenticate
- Original certificates (e.g. birth, marriage, death)
- Company documents issued by the Companies Registration Office
- Certificates of Origin signed by the Chambers of Commerce in Ireland
- Court documents, powers of attorney, and other notarial acts
- Educational certificates and qualifications recognised by the Department of Education
- Medical reports signed by a doctor who is registered with the Medical Council of Ireland
- Police Certificates - Issued by the Superintendent's Office of the Garda station where you last resided in Ireland and bearing an original stamp and signature of An Garda Síochána.
We can Authenticate/Apostille photocopies of certain types of documents provided they have been certified by a practicing Irish Solicitor or Notary Public in Ireland. However, you should in the first instance confirm with the authority to whom you are presenting the document that a certified copy will be acceptable to them.
How documents can be authenticated
An Apostille is a certificate issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs verifying the genuineness of the signature and/or seal of a public officer, on a public document. An Apostille may be required if you wish to use an Irish document in a country which has acceded to the Hague Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents.
An Apostille can only be applied to a document by the Department of Foreign Affairs. This function cannot be carried out by Irish Diplomatic or Consular officers abroad.
A document may need to be Legalised if it is for use in a country which has not acceded to the Hague Convention. Legalisation is a more complicated process in which a document must:
- Be authenticated by the Department of Foreign Affairs in Ireland, and,
- Be authenticated by the diplomatic or consular mission accredited to Ireland of the country in which you wish to use the document
How to apply for authentication
We are currently offering three types of service:
- Post (for customers worldwide)
- Drop-off service (Dublin Offices at St Stephens Green and Lower Mount St)
- Urgent / Emergency appointment service (Lower Mount St office only)
Information on turnaround times for each service is included below.
If you are living abroad and want to apostille or authenticate a document created in Ireland, you have to apply to the Dublin office. Embassies or Honorary Consulates cannot do this.
1. Postal Service
We are currently accepting documents by post. Our turnaround times for this service is, on average, five to seven working days from date of receipt.
Send your documents by registered post, and make a note of the tracking number. Documents will be returned by registered post. We bear no responsibility if your item does not arrive to our offices.
Post documents to:
Rest of Ireland and Worldwide
Department of Foreign Affairs
80 St. Stephen's Green
Department of Foreign Affairs
1a South Mall
2. Drop-off service (Dublin Only)
You can drop documents, a cover letter and the appropriate fee to our Dublin Offices. They will be returned by registered post. Our turnaround times for this service is, on average, three to five working days from date of receipt.
This service is not available from our Cork Office.
Write "Authentications Unit" on your envelope, or the post may not reach our office.
There are two drop-off locations operating between 9 am – 5pm weekdays:
3. Appointments (Dublin Only) for urgent cases
We are operating an appointment service from our office based at 42 – 47 Lower Mount Street, Dublin 2. The following rules apply:
Appointments can be booked via the Department's contact us form on DFA.ie - please include an approximate time, date and a list of documents you have (including whether they are notarised).
A maximum of five documents can be authenticated / apostilled.
If you have more than 5 documents, you can use our drop-off service and request collection.
We have a target turnaround time of 30 minutes while you wait.
Opening hours are:
Appointments can be booked up to a week in advance.
If your documents are not required urgently, we ask that you use our postal service.
Applying Outside Ireland
If you are living abroad and want to apostille or authenticate a document created in Ireland, the process is the same as for people living in Ireland: you have to apply to the Department of Foreign Affairs directly – see instructions above re: sending applications by post. This cannot be done via the Embassy or the Honorary Consulates.
If you are living abroad and need to have a statutory declaration or affidavit witnessed, a Notary Public in your area should be able to assist you.
What you need to apply for authentication
Whichever way you apply, you are required to include the following:
- The document you want to authenticate / apostille
- A cover letter with the following information
- Your name
- The country you intend to use the document
- A phone number (required for credit / debit card payments)
- A contact email
- Address where documents are to be returned (if via post / drop in service)
- The fee
Fees and payments
Each Apostille/Authentication stamp is €40, with the exception of documents directly relating to the export of goods, which are €10 each.
Adoption Dossiers are €100 for the original pack, regardless of the number of labels required. Additional documents relating to this original pack are free of charge.
Post Placement Reports are €40 for each report (usually up to four post placement reports)
Methods of payment
You can pay by:
Bank draft (drawn on a bank in Ireland and payable to the 'Department of Foreign Affairs')
Irish Postal order (payable to the 'Department of Foreign Affairs')
Credit/debit card (you will receive a phone call when the document is being processed and can pay over the phone. We do not accept cash or AMEX cards.
Enquiries regarding the service can be directed here. The mailbox is monitored during work hours. If your request is extremely urgent, please contact us by phone.
Our phone lines are open weekdays between 9.30 am – 12.30 pm at +353 (1) 408 2174.
Please note: Threats, violence, abuse, derogatory comments or otherwise unacceptable behaviour towards our staff will not be tolerated.
Any person engaging in unacceptable behaviour will not be tolerated on the phone or in person. You will not be permitted to use our public counter, and will be asked to use our postal service.
Verify an Apostille or Authentication stamp
The online electronic register enables you to verify the authenticity of an Apostille or Authentication stamp issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs in Ireland.