Depending on what you are applying for, after authentication of documents at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Nigeria, you may also be required to legalize same documents at the embassy of the country where you intend to use such documents. The cost and processes for legalization of documents in Nigeria varies from one embassy to the other.
For example, someone who intends to use her Nigerian marriage certificate to process residency permit in Dubai (UAE), must first authenticate the marriage certificate at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Abuja, after which she will take the document to the UAE Embassy also in Abuja for legalization.
In this article, Antarch Consulting answers some key questions you might have concerning the procedures for legalization of documents at some of the embassies we have had experience with. This will help you know what to expect when you take your authenticated documents for legalization at the embassy in Nigeria of the country you are planning to travel to.
Regardless of the embassy in question or the country you are travelling to, the first requirement is always to first authenticate your documents at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before such documents can be accepted by the embassy.
Document Legalization at the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Embassy in Nigeria
For those travelling to Dubai or Abu Dhabi, legalization at the UAE embassy in Abuja, Nigeria attracts an official fee of approximately N19,000 Naira for each document. Typically, the UAE embassy only legalizes original documents rather than photocopies or print outs.
That means if you need to legalize your results, birth certificates, marriage certificates or other documents, you must have authenticated the originals of such documents at the Ministry of Education and then present same to the embassy.
For academic results specifically, you must also provide a letter of eligibility from the Ministry of Education in addition to the already authenticated result you need to legalize.
The processing time for legalization at the UAE embassy is usually between one day and three days. See below for an example of a document legalized at the UAE embassy.
Document Legalization at the Qatar Embassy in Nigeria
The Qatar embassy in Abuja, Nigeria requires you to notarize your document in addition to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs authentication before presenting it for legalization at the embassy. They accept authenticated and notarized photocopies of documents, so you do not have to authenticate and present the original document.
The Qatar embassy entertains legalization matters only on Mondays and Wednesdays, and their official legalization fee is approximately N10,000 Naira for each document. The processing time is about 3 to 5 days on average. After the legalization is complete, the embassy would issue you an official receipt. See below for an example of a document legalized by the Qatar Embassy.
Document Legalization at the Embassy of Poland in Nigeria
Legalization of documents at the Polish Embassy in Abuja is arguably one of the most stringent, expensive. difficult and time consuming we have experienced.
First, like the UAE embassy, the Polish embassy insists on legalizing the original document itself, rather than photocopies. This means that their legalization stamp would be appended on your original document (at the back of the document). For academic results, you also need to obtain and present a letter of eligibility from the Ministry of Education.
If you wish to send someone else to represent you at the embassy, you need to prepare a letter of authorization stating the person’s name and authorizing him or her to represent you as regards the legalization matter at the Polish embassy.
How the process works at the Poland Embassy is that you have to book a legalization appointment through agents at the embassy. This alone unofficially costs about N30,000 Naira. After booking the appointment, on the appointed date, you would have to pay the official Poland Embassy legalization fee of 30 Euros, or approximately N12,000 Naira for each document (via bank payment) and then you can submit the document and wait for collection. All of this process takes roughly one month! See an example of a document legalized by the Embassy of Poland.
Legalization of Documents at the Portugal Embassy in Nigeria
Legalization at the Portuguese embassy in Abuja, Nigeria is done only on Tuesdays and Thursdays, between the hours of 9.am and 12. noon. However, you need to go to the embassy as early as possible in order to register and beat the long queues of people hoping to legalize their documents.
You would be required to go to the bank and pay the official Portuguese embassy legalization fee of approximately N6,000 per document, and then present the payment receipt along with the document to be legalized.
You (or your representative at the embassy) would then be asked to fill a form (see form below) before you submit the document you want to legalize. The process may take about a day or two to finalize. You would be issued a receipt along with the legalized document. See example of document legalized by the Embassy of Portugal in Nigeria, along with form and receipt).
Legalization of Documents at the China Embassy
The Chinese Embassy in Nigeria (located in Lagos) requires that you must notarize the document in addition to the standard authentication by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before you can present it for legalization.
The China Embassy accepts authenticated and notarized photocopies of documents such as academic results and marriage certificates (except for documents such as Police Character Certificate). However, you must present the original of the documents to be authenticated for sighting and confirmation purposes.
The embassy also requires that you provide a letter stating the reason why you want to legalize the document and the purpose of your intended travel to China. A copy of your international passport data page is also required to be submitted in addition to the documents that need to be legalized.
The official legalization fee for the Chinese Embassy is approximately N10,000 Naira, and the processing time can range from 2 to 5 working days.
N.B. In case you are not sure what a notarized document looks like, see an example below:
Legalization of Documents in Italian Embassy in Nigeria
The Italian embassy is located in Lagos, and that is where all activities pertaining to legalization of documents meant for Italy will take place. As part of the legalization requirements for the Italian Embassy in Nigeria, you are expected to provide the official authentication receipt issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in addition to the authenticated documents. Without this receipt, the Italian Embassy will not legalize your documents.
Agency Assistance By Antarch Consulting
If you need expert assistance with authentication of documents by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and subsequent legalization of documents in Nigeria (at the embassy of the country you intend to travel to), kindly contact us.
Please note that our interventions for embassy legalization is conditional, as we are not always able to undertake the legalization process at every embassy. However, if within our ability, we will be glad to advise you on the best way forward and possibly assist you for a fair service fee.