Information on document certification and translation

When applying to study at FAU, you will be required to provide officially certified copies of relevant certificates, diplomas and other documentation issued overseas. This is the only way we can ensure that the copies you submit to us are identical with the original documents. You must also provide officially certified translations of any original documents that are not in German, English or French.

Here you will find brief guidelines on what certified copies should look like, who can issue them and which documents must be translated. Before submitting your application, please check carefully that any documents requiring certification comply with the criteria specified below.

Copies that have not been correctly certified will not be considered in connection with your application.

Official certification of documents can be undertaken by any German public agency that has an official seal – for example, courts or municipal and local authorities. However, not all local authorities in Germany will provide certification of copies of documents in foreign languages.

Notaries are also authorised to certify copies of documents. However, lawyers, auditors, tax advisors, associations and translators/interpreters are not. Please note that copies of documents issued in China must be certified by a Chinese notary.

In all cases, the certified document must be an accurate copy of the original document.

An official certification must include the following:

  • A statement specifying that the copy is identical with the original (this statement must be written in German, English or French)
  • Date and the signature of the certifying body
  • Its official stamp

The stamp must show the official symbol of the body – a stamp consisting of text only is not acceptable. If a copy has several pages, it must be confirmed that each page is part of the same document. It is sufficient for the statement and signature to be included on only one page provided that all pages are placed on top of one another, stapled together and stamped in such a way that part of the official stamp is visible on each page. Each page may also be certified individually. If this is the case, please ensure that your name is specified on each page of the original document. If this is not the case, the corresponding information should be included in the certification statement. Statements must also include identification of the type of document.

If both sides of a document are copied, and if the content of both sides is relevant, the statement must refer to both sides (for example: It is hereby officially certified that the copy (front and back) is identical with the original”), If this is not the case, both sides must be certified individually.

If the original document contains If the original document contains an embossed seal, this will usually not be visible in the copy. In this case, the statement should also specify that an embossed seal is present on the original document.

Documents cannot be accepted if the certification does not conform to the requirements above.

Outside Germany, copies of documents can be officially certified by:

  • German embassies and consulates
  • The school or university that issued the document. In this case, copies must be certified by the school’s head teacher or the university’s dean/president and include an official stamp. This stamp should show the official symbol of the institution. A stamp showing only text is not sufficient. Certifications provided by the secretary’s office of one of the above individuals are not acceptable.
  • Notaries authorised to attach an apostille (stamped official certificate) to your documents

Applicants with documentation in Chinese must in all cases also obtain the embossed seal of their local German embassy on their booklets that have been certified and stamped by a notary.

Translations of documents must be prepared and duly certified by a court-certified translator for the relevant language in the Federal Republic of Germany. The translator’s seal must contain the text “öffentlich bestellter und beeidigter Übersetzer” or similar wording. The language for which the translator is legally accredited must be clear from the stamp.

  • Translations of documents must be accurate translations of original documents. The corresponding information must be provided in the translator’s certification statement. The source language for the translation must also be stated. A copy of the original document must be inseparably attached to the translation. Stamps and annotations must also be translated.
  • Translations of documents which have been issued overseas must include a statement of certification/legalisation provided by the local embassy or consulate of the Federal Republic of Germany in the following form: “Gesehen in der Botschaft (or: im Konsulat) der Bundesrepublik Deutschland zur Legalisation …”
  • FAU also accepts translations into English or French.

Please only send us the officially certified copies of your original documents and their translations and never the original documents. The Office of Admissions and Scholarships accepts no liability for lost application documents.