If you want to authenticate marriage certificate in Nigeria, it is done at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Abuja. The process may involve the ministry confirming that the marriage certificate is genuine and duly issued by an appropriate authority such as a recognized marriage registry in Nigeria.
Depending on the country where you intend to use the marriage certificate, authentication requirements may differ from one country/embassy to the other. For instance, embassies such as Netherlands (Dutch Embassy in Nigeria) require that you authenticate the certified true copy (CTC) of the marriage certificate before bringing it to the embassy for legalization.
Similarly, some countries require that it must be only the original copy of the marriage certificate that should be authenticated, whereas other countries would accept authenticated printed copies or photocopies of the marriage certificate.
Before you begin the process of authentication of marriage certificate in Nigeria, it is important to first find out what the destination country/authority you intend to submit the document to requires. Find out if they accept authentication of printed copies or photocopies, or if they will only accept authentication of the original marriage certificate itself.
The official procedure for authenticating marriage certificate at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Nigeria involves making two photocopies of the document (along with the original certificate).
Subsequently, take all three copies (i.e. two photocopies and the original) and head to the Ministry’s Headquarters in Abuja, where you would be directed to the Legal Services Division (LSD) which responsible for authentication, attestation and certification duties.
After making the necessary official payments and submitting the documents, you would be advised on when to return to pick them up. Usually, the whole process can take anywhere between several days to up to one or two weeks, depending on the issuing court/registry and other bureaucratic factors.
If no issues are discovered with the document, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will certify the two photocopies of the marriage certificate with the official embossment seal and signatures at the back. Usually, the ministry will not put the authentication stamp and signatures on the original document because it was only collected for ‘sighting’ purposes.
However, if your embassy or destination country insists on authenticating the original marriage certificate, then you should inform the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and request them to certify the original while submitting the documents.
In any case, when the authentication has been completed, you will be handed two copies out of the three you submitted, while the ministry would retain one copy for record purposes.
Also bear in mind that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs attends to authentication of documents such as marriage certificates only on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Since the Ministry probably handles thousands of documents submitted for authentication every week, you can imagine the bureaucratic bottlenecks, stress and delays that you will face before you successfully complete the authentication process and get your marriage certificate out. It is better to be adequately prepared for this stress and to make out approximately one week to follow through the process in Abuja.
If you are outside Abuja and need a dependable party to help you handle the authentication of your marriage certificate and other documents, you can contact us to discuss your requirements.