Foreign documents or certificates are often only recognized by the authorities of a state if their authenticity and evidentiary value has been determined by a special procedure. A range of internationally accepted procedures has been developed for this purpose. In most cases, documents which are to be used in legal procedures in Germany have to be proven authentic through means of either an “Apostille” or legalization.
An “Apostille” is a certificate of authenticity issued by a designated authority in a contracting state to The Hague Convention on Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents of 5 October 1961. Malaysia, unlike Germany, is not a contracting state to this convention. Thus “Apostilles” cannot be issued for Malaysian documents; they need to be legalized before being submitted to German authorities.
The requirements for a legalization of documents indicating the civil status (e.g. birth, marriage or death certificates) differ from the requirements for other public documents: