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The difference between DIRCO and High Court Apostille


DIRCO and High Court Apostille.

Purpose of the Apostille convention.

The Apostille Convention was created to eliminate the lengthy legalisation process and replace it with a single formality. This process is known as Apostille and this is done by an authority designated by the State of origin called the Competent Authority. The authorities in South Africa are the Registrar at the High Court and the Chief Directorate, Consular Services at DIRCO who have been elected as competent authorities to assist herein.

The Hague Conference on Private International Law developed and negotiated a new convention that facilitates the authentication of the public documents which are to be produced abroad. This service is only contractual to all the countries that are signatories to the convention.


DIRCO and High Court apostille variance.

DIRCO and High Court apostille serve the same purpose, which is to validate the originality of the documents under the rules and regulations outlined by the Hague convention. Which means that there is no difference between the two apostilles and the certificates issued from both entities have the same legal value. Basically both DIRCO and High Court Apostille, are completed by means of attaching an Apostille certificate. The attachment of this certificate confirms that the documents that have been issued in South Africa, were legalised by either the Department of International Relation and Cooperation or the High Court.

Apostille duration process and country preferences

The duration process of the two apostilles differ, as one is lengthy and the other one gets processed in no time. DIRCO ’s processing time has changed from taking a maximum of two days to a dragging four to six weeks to produce an Apostille, whereas High court takes two to five days. The dragging process of DIRCO ’s Apostille duration came to existence immediately after the Covid-19 pandemic befall South Africa. The duration process was the same as that of High Court prior the Covid-19 pandemic.

Although the two apostilles weigh the same legally, Embassies and consulates of countries like Spain and Mozambique prefer the use of DIRCO Apostille than High Court Apostille. This does not in any way mean that the Apostille could possibly differ, it is just legal preference. In this instance some countries also can ask  the travelers that they get their documents attested by their South African Embassy or consulate.


When and why would I need an Apostille?

An Apostille certificate is required in situations where an individual has dealings outside of South Africa which include some form of official paperwork. The most common requirements for an Apostille certificate are overseas marriage, foreign property purchases, business transactions or contracts, working abroad, and registering births.

Let’s say for instance, you are required to present your South African documents or sign deal/contract that will be of use in a foreign country, your documents will have to be notarized by Notary Public then they will be Apostilled in the High Court. DIRCO has a data base of the authorized signatories of official documents in South Africa. Whenever a document gets send to DIRCO, the official will compare the document’s signature with the one they have on their data based.

Document legalization.

To sum it all up, the whole legalization arrangement from the submission and collection of documents should be made by the applicant. People who do not have time on their hands find the whole process hefty and time consuming, hence most of them opt to use certified translation companies.  Certified translation agencies get the documents signed by a notary public who verifies the documents and facilitate the Apostille.


 Global Apostille, your  partner in document legalization.

Global Apostille is a Pretoria based authentication and legalization agency that provides absolute legalization services for all South African documents that you want to used internationally. With the experience and skills we have accumulated over the years, through providing numerous South African nothing else, but quality Apostille of documents, we guarantee you that you will not regret choosing our services. SA Apostille assures all its clients that their documents will be apostilled and returned back to them, with no typos or any errors whatsoever. We deliver as we have promised.

If you are in need of  Apostille services in Pretoria, Cape town, Johannesburg and Durban, we can assist!  We provide  Certificate Apostille from The Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s (DIRCO) in Pretoria. We ensure that your important documents are properly certified in the least amount of time possible.

Cell/WhatsApp: 081 347 6060
Tel: 012 348 3134


The difference between DIRCO and High Court Apostille
Article Name
The difference between DIRCO and High Court Apostille
This article give in-depth information of the difference between DIRCO and High Court Apostille, what differentiates the certificates and the purpose they serve.
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SA Apostille legalization
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2 thoughts on “The difference between DIRCO and High Court Apostille”

  1. Hi,

    Do you know if a matric certificate (already verified by Umalusi) can be apostilled by the High Court in Cape Town or does it need to be sent to DIRCO? I am concerned about the turn around time with DIRCO….

    Thank you!

  2. This article is so helpful. I honestly was scratching my head about the difference between High Court and DIRCO apostille.

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Please note that we are not a law firm and are not regulated as such.

Global Apostille is a Pretoria-based authentication and legalisation agency that assist corporations and individuals in South Africa in obtaining Apostilles and Embassy legalisation service.


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