If you are wondering how to authenticate birth certificate in Nigeria at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the first thing to note is that it is often important to have the official certificate of birth issued by the National Population Commission (NPC) in Nigeria. Although a few embassies may accept affidavits of age or the older variants of birth certificate issued by churches (e.g. baptismal cards), the fact remains that most countries accept only the authenticated NPC official birth certificate. This means that authentication of birth certificate in Nigeria should be done with the NPC birth certificate or attestation of birth, to avoid disappointments at the embassy of your destination country.
In case you don’t already have the NPC birth certificate, you first have to obtain a sworn affidavit of birth and then head to the nearest National Population Commission (NPC) office in your state in Nigeria to begin the process for obtaining the official birth certificate.
After you have received the birth certificate, you can then proceed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Abuja to start the authentication process. The procedure for authentication of birth certificate in Nigeria is the same for other documents (such as marriage certificate, academic results, etc.), which we comprehensively explained in a previous cornerstone article on how to authenticate documents in Nigeria. The highlight of this process is to go to the legal services department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Abuja and follow their instructions pertaining to paying the official authentication fee, submitting the birth certificate, and determining when to come back for it.
Before taking the birth certificate to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for authentication, you need to find out from the embassy of your destination country or the institution you intend to submit the document to whether you are required to authenticate the original birth certificate itself or whether it is okay to make a photocopy of the birth certificate and then authenticate the photocopy. This requirement differs from one embassy or country to the other.
For example, the UAE Embassy and Netherlands Embassy in Nigeria usually insist on authentication of the original birth certificate, while South African Embassy, German Embassy, Spanish Embassy and many others accept authenticated photocopies or printed copies rather than the original. You just need to inquire from the specific embassy or authority you’re submitting the document to in order to ascertain whether or not you need to authenticate the original.
In essence, the process for authentication of birth certificate in Nigeria at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is summarized as follows:
- Get a sworn affidavit of birth at a competent High Court in any part of Nigeria
- Submit the affidavit to the National Population Commission (NPC) to process your official birth certificate
- Take the NPC issued birth certificate to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and make your way to the Legal Services Department to begin the certificate authentication process.
There is no clear time-frame for getting the authentication completed. Considering the bureaucratic bottlenecks and large volume of documents treated daily by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it can take several days for your birth certificate to be successfully authenticated.
If you need assistance with authentication of birth certificate and other documents but you are outside Abuja or outside Nigeria, Antarch Consulting can help you with this process. Our premium document authentication (Apostille) services facilitate reliable and timely authentication and delivery of the documents back to you regardless of location. Contact Us if you need this service.