Just when you thought you had your paperwork ready, you might be shocked to discover that you not only had to get your documents notarized but also that they needed to be apostilled. To make matters worse, your papers may get rejected, costing you a lot of time and money.
The process of authenticating or certifying documents can be complicated if you are unfamiliar with the Turkish legal system's requirements. However, thanks to the Hague Convention abolishing the requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents, or the Apostille Convention as it is more commonly known, 120 countries now only need to get a document apostilled, having to resort to double-certification. Turkey joined the convention in 1985.
So, in short, if you have a document issued by local authorities in your home country and want to use it in Turkey, you will have to get it apostilled to be validated, and vice versa.
What Are Apostilles?
Apostilles are international certificates in the form of a stamp or printed paper that attest to the authenticity of a document issued by a public institution.
According to the Hague Convention, the apostille must contain:
- The name of the country in which the document was issued
- The name of the person who signed the document
- The title of the person who signed the document
- The name of the authority to whom the seal printed on the paper belongs, the place where it is certified, The date it was authorized;
- The authority that issued the apostille, The apostille number;
- The seal or stamp of the authority that issued the apostille and
- The signature of the authority that issued the apostille.
An apostille stamp or certificate does not have a specific validity period. However, if the document with the apostille stamp has a validity period, the apostille becomes invalid when the form expires. Yet, apostilles for certificates of identity register (Nüfus kayıt örneğI) Have a 6-month validity.
Which Documents Need to Be Apostilled?
Here is a list of the most common documents requested to be apostilled:
- Birth certificates
- Marriage certificates
- Death certificates
- Affidavit of Eligibility
- Divorce decree
- Power of attorney
- Passport copy
- Driver's license copy
- Articles of Incorporation
- Company documents
- Criminal records
Governorships (valilik) and district governorates (kaymakamlık) can issue and certify apostilles in Turkey. The Office of the Ministry of Justice, Heavy Penal Courts, and the Justice Commission can also validate apostilles for judicial documents.
How to Get a Document Apostilled?
To get a document apostilled, you must contact the appropriate authority in your state or country. Getting an apostille varies from country to country, so you must check with the specific authority in your area.
In general, you will need to submit the following documents to get an apostille:
- The original certified public document
- A completed application form
- A fee
After obtaining an apostille for your document, bring your documents to Turkey and have them translated into Turkish by a sworn translator (yeminli tercüman) and notarized by a Turkish notary public.
For countries that are party to the Apostille Convention, no further approval or authentication is required at embassies or consulates after this procedure.
Can I Get My Document Apostilled From My Consulate?
Consulates and embassies cannot authenticate official Turkish documents; however, if your country is not a party to the Hague Apostille Convention, you must get your Consulate to validate your documents.
Moreover, if a document cannot be apostilled, you will first be asked to get it verified by your Consulate or embassy. Next, you must visit the district or provincial governor's office for an apostille certificate or stamp. The governorate and the notary must be within the same district/jurisdiction area. After that, you will have to get it translated and notarized.
Civil Registration Documents
Suppose you are not yet in Turkey but still in your home country. In that case, it is best to obtain marriage and birth certificates there or call your local Embassy or Consulate to ensure they offer these authentication services.
If these documents have not been issued with an apostille by your home institution, the Turkish consulate in your home country or your consulate in Turkey must certify these documents. Accompanied by their notarized translation, these must then be approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
When requesting birth certificates for your children, it is best to order them certified from your home country with your parental information included. Similarly, adhering to the same procedure when requesting a marriage certificate is recommended.
During the issuing of a child custody order or a change, you will need all documents processed, hence the need to be apostilled.
If there is shared custody, you must obtain an apostilled, translated, and notarized declaration of parental consent from the other parent. This letter is required, and you can use this template to write a consent letter for Turkey.
When obtaining a Turkish license or getting your license converted, your high school or university diploma will not need to be apostilled. Getting them translated and notarized will suffice.
Real Estate Documents
When buying or selling your property in Turkey, if you have chosen to authorize a solicitor to act on your behalf during the title deed transfer process, a power of attorney must be apostilled if you're sending from your home country.
If you want your children's names to appear on the TAPU (aka the title deed) and are under 18, their birth certificates must be translated, apostilled, and notarized.
Rental contracts do not require to be apostilled or notarized. However, if you're applying for a residence permit, the Immigration Office requires a signed and notarized rental agreement at a notary public. This means you will also have to get the document translated by a sworn translator.
When asked to provide a copy of your passport, you must get it translated and then notarized.
Turkey also introduced an e-apostille system in 2019 for various documents. Currently, only criminal records and court decisions can receive apostilles through this platform. Still, works are underway to add company formation documents, certificates of birth, marriage, and death, as well as diplomas and transcripts.
If Your Country is not a Party to the Apostille Convention
You have two options:
- You can contact a Turkish consulate before you arrive in Turkey. Your documents can be translated and approved by the Turkish consulate. In Turkey, only local notary stamps will be recognized, so not all foreign translations will be accepted. We advise that all translation and notary services be performed in Turkey.
- After arriving in Turkey, you must visit the consulate of your home country to have your certificates or documents stamped. Then you should visit the District Governor (Kaymakamlk) to have your documents stamped and approved. Finally, it would be ideal to have them translated and notarized into Turkish.
List of Parties to the Apostille Convention
Please click here to see the Apostille Convention Countries (Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents)
Finding a Noterliği (Notary) in Turkey
To locate a Noterliği (Turkish Notary) in your area, type "Noterliği near me" or "Noterlikleri in Turkey" into a map-based search engine. If the connection works as intended, click Google Maps will open and begin a search immediately.
You can also search for a local Notary by using the "Noterlikleri" directory on the Turkish Chamber of Notaries website. Additionally, you can ask for recommendations from friends or colleagues or check the local directory or government website. Choosing a reputable and licensed Noterliği is essential to ensure that your legal documents are properly notarized.
What is authentication?
Authentication is when the diplomatic seal is put over the seal of a foreign authority whose seal or signature is on file with the Embassy or Consulate to prove that the foreign seal or signature is real. A consular authentication doesn't prove that the contents of a document are real. It only proves that the seal and signature of the granting authority are real.
What is an "Apostille"?
An Apostille is a certificate of authenticity given out according to the rules of the Hague Apostille Convention. This is a treaty that many countries have signed.