Directory of Services and general information


Here you can find an overview of services the German Missions offer to the public. We also compiled general information that may be of interest to you, such as lists of translators and lawyers or where you can get an apostille for your South African documents.

Consular Services

Naturalisation© picture alliance / dpa

If you want to know how one obtains the German citizenhip or what the reasons for a possible loss may be, have a look at out cititzenship section on this Website.


According to German law, the estate (located in Germany) of a deceased person comes under the principle of 'universal succession,' meaning that the heirs become owners of the deceased person's estate upon his death. The succession is determined either by law or by disposition in contemplation of death. (The executor, under South African law, is basically unknown to German law).

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German passport
German passport© picture-alliance/ dpa/dpaweb

The following webpages contain only the most important information about German passports and are meant for the very few German citizens who do not speak German. Please check the German version of this webpage for complete information about German passports.

The German Missions issue passports to German citizens residing in South Africa. For children under the age of 12 with German citizenship, a child’s passport may also be issued instead of a regular passport.

Please note that passport applications can only be submitted with an appointment.

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Signature© www.colourbox.com

You have to sign a document in front of a German Consular Officer? Following information was compiled to illustrate the two different forms of notarial certification according to German law, signature certification and notarisation of documents.

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This information is directed mainly at funeral parlours. Although German missions do issue urn permits to private individuals, the missions are not in a position to assist with any other arrangements and therefore strongly encourage private individuals to seek professional assistance via a funeral parlour in order to facilitate transportation of a deceased individual to Germany.

Germany has very strict laws on facilitating human remains. As a general rule, all coffins and urns must be buried at specially licensed cemeteries. Private individuals are not permitted to have urns in their possession.

Therefore, all transport to and within Germany must be handled by licensed funeral parlours. It is advisable that coffins and urns be shipped by a South African funeral parlour directly to a funeral parlour in Germany. Please clarify with the carrier/shipping agent what type of coffin is acceptable for transportation. No customs fees are levied in Germany for the import of a coffin/urn which contains human remains.

Corpse Transport Permit

In order to issue a corpse transport permit, German missions require the following documents:

- Unabridged South African Death Certificate for the deceased person with an apostille (issued by the South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation);
- Medical certificate stipulating the cause of death;
- Embalming certificate;
- Letter from the Medical Examiner confirming that the deceased person did not suffer from a contagious or infectious disease;
- Certified copy of the passport of the deceased,
- Information about the airline, flight number and itinerary are entered into the corpse transport permit and therefore must be provided in full detail.

The permit fee is 25,- Euro,the equivalent to be paid in ZAR cash or credit card (Master and Visa cards only)at the relevant exchange rate stipulated on that day by the German mission.

Urn Transport Permit

An urn transport permit may be needed to send an urn to Germany. Please verify the need for such a permit with your airline and receiving funeral parlour in Germany. In case a metal urn is to be shipped, please verify with the carrier if this is acceptable for shipment.

In order to issue an urn transport permit, the German missions require an original or certified copy of the following documents:

- Unabridged South African Death Certificate with an apostille;
- Certificate of cremation with confirmation from the funeral parlour that the urn contains the ashes of the deceased person (urn should be sealed and numbered),
- If available, a copy of the passport of the deceased person.

The permit fee is 25,- Euro,the equivalent to be paid in ZAR cash or credit card (Master and Visa card only)at the relevant exchange rate stipulated on that day by the German Mission.

Are you planing a short term visit to Germany? Do you want to visit a friend in Germany, attend a business meeting or maybe need medical treatment? Here you can find information on the application process and required documents.

At the visa section of the German Embassy you can apply for so-called Schengen-Visas, for up to 90 days of accumulated stay. Or you can apply for long-term visas, such as employment or study visas. Have a look at the information for the various categories.

Please note, that application submissions only possible after prior booking online or via phone 0861 00 22 45 (M-F, 8:00-17:00).

Visa - short-term (Schengen)

Visa - long-term

General Information

A document is generally recognized only in the country in which it was issued.

In order to facilitate the recognition of a document abroad, an international treaty regarding mutual recognition of documents was signed on October 5, 1961 by many countries, including South Africa and Germany. This treaty is called the “Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirements of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents.”

According to this treaty, a document originating in one Convention country is recognized in all other Convention countries provided it bears the so-called “APOSTILLE” stamp. This stamp is a validation performed by the superior office in the country where the document was issued.

Apostilles for South African documents may be obtained at the

Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO)
Legalisation Section
460 Soutpansberg Road (corner Tom Jenkins Road)

More Information

In Germany, marriage may be officiated only by a registrar. It is suggested that foreign citizens contact the appropriate registrar's office (Standesamt) for detailed information. An application should be filed at the registrar's office where either party has his or her residence. If neither party has a residence in the Federal Republic of Germany, one of the following central registrar's offices should be contacted:

Hauptstandesamt München
Ruppertstrasse 11
80337 München

E-mail: standesamt.kvr@muenchen.de

Southwest Germany:
Standesamt Baden-Baden
Augustaplatz 1
76530 Baden-Baden

E-mail: standesamt@baden-baden.de

North Germany:
Hauptstandesamt Hamburg
Borgfelder Str. 64
20537 Hamburg

E-mail: standesamt@hamburg-mitte.hamburg.de

Standesamt I Berlin
Schönstedtstr. 5
13357 Berlin

E-mail: info.stand1@labo.berlin.de

These offices may grant permission to any registrar's office in their district to perform the function. A religious ceremony is optional. Parties must register their intention to marry with the registrar.

All foreigners marrying in Germany require an “Ehefähigkeitszeugnis” which is a Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage stating that they are legally free to marry. South African Certificates of No Impediment may be obtained at the Department of Home Affairs.

An online Service has recently been introduced. Certificates of No Impediment can also be applied for through your nearest South African Mission abroad.

The registrar's office will provide the basic information. The registrar's office will also decide which personal documents are required. It is advisable to contact the registrar's office well in advance to make sure that the marriage can be contracted at the intended date. The registrar's office will answer any further questions which may arise.

The German Embassy keeps lists of lawyers, translators and interpreters. However, the Embassy takes no responsibility with regard to the professional competency of any of those individuals whose names appear on the respective lists.

German translators Johannesburg/Pretoria

German translators Cape Town

German lawyers Johannesburg/Pretoria

German lawyers Cape Town

Import of household effects (including cars) when relocating to the Federal Republic of Germany

When moving to the Federal Republic of Germany you may import your household goods free of duties and border taxes if you meet the following requirements.
You are required to prove:

1. That you have actually given up your residence abroad (e.g. by means of documents showing the termination of your lease/employment, sale of your residential home or a statement by your employer that you have been transferred to Germany).

2. That you are establishing a new residence in Germany (e.g. lease agreement, correspondence with your employer in Germany, German police registration receipt).

3. That you have resided outside Germany for at least 12 consecutive months (can be waived if the reasons for your earlier return are beyond your control).

Exemption from custom duties is granted only for those goods you have used abroad, personally or professionally, for at least 6 months and which you will continue to use in Germany for at least another 12 months. Food and similar perishable items are restricted to quantities normally stored at home; however liquor and tobacco items may not enter duty-free.

All removal goods should be imported close to the time of your own arrival and registered with the German customs authorities within 12 months after establishing residence in Germany. Should this be impossible, you are requested to submit proof that the goods could not be imported at that time, in which case the entry must be effected as soon as the cause for this delay has been removed but no later than 3 years after your actual move.

Customs regulations regarding a traveler's customary personal effects are not affected by the above listed rules. Please note that there are special regulations regarding the importation of some items like guns, rifles, ammunition, machinery for the production of such articles, pets, plants, etc.
Details and the necessary customs forms may be obtained through your shipping company. It is recommended that you choose a moving company experienced in shipping to Germany.

Motor Vehicles

The duty-free import of a motor vehicle is permitted only if it has been registered in your name as its sole owner and personally used by you at your previous residence for at least 6 months before moving (for proof, present registration certificate issued by your local Traffic Department).
Please note that you might be required to convert your vehicle to German Standards.

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