Certified Copies and Translations

German universities have standards on certified copies and translations. When applying to German universities you have to send certified copies of your application documents, a normal copy is not sufficient. Otherwise your application will be invalid. Here you will find detailed information about where to get certified copies and translations of documents in different languages and how to save money in the process.

Money Saving Tip #1

You will need certified copies for your university application as well as for your visa application. Instead of going ahead and certifying all the documents at once, wait for the university to process your application. Some universities send the application documents back. Then you can use them for your visa application and don’t need to pay extra money for more certified copies. Please only do this if you have enough time for your visa application.

How to get certified copies and translations


1. Process for German and English Documents

If your original documents are in English or German language a translation is not needed. But certified copies of documents need to be made.

Officially certified copies must have:

  • the original official stamp (official stamp or embossed seal).
  • the original signature of the certifying person and date.
  • a note that certifies that the copy agrees with the original (certification note).

Where to get the certificated copies:

  • the ministry of education.
  • German embassies and consulates.
  • the department of cultural affairs of the embassy of the country in which the certificate was issued.
  • public authorities and notaries which are authorized to supply official certifications.

Be Careful!

Officially certified copies consisting of multiple pages must clearly show that every page has been officially certified in the same process.

2. Process for Documents in any other language

If the documents are in any other language, they must be translated into German by a sworn translator.

Translations must be from the following sources:

  • persons or institutions authorized to make translations under oath or admissible in court.
  • a department of the issuing school or university authorized to issue such translations.

Non-certified translations from standard translation agencies are not accepted. Please note that, the translation or the copy of the original alone is insufficient – make sure to submit both! Copies of translations also need to be certified. Translators may put their original stamp on copies of translations made by themselves. However, they may not certify documents in their original language.

Be Careful!

Normal copies of certified copies are not accepted by the universities. All of your documents have to be certified and not a normal copy.

Money-Saving Tip #2

If your documents are in English language try to get more then one “original” from the institution. For example if you are applying for 3 universities try to get 4 “original” transcripts (with all stamps and signatures) from your school/university. Then you wouldn’t need to certify them and can send them directly. Please only do this if you are sure that you have access to more original documents if needed.