Legalization, also known as attestation, of a document refers to the procedure by which the diplomatic or consular office overseas certifies a document that the host country has issued as genuine. It can be accepted as evidence in the mission’s home country. In other words, it allows the authorities of that mission’s country to recognize these documents from abroad as legal proof.

For example, you may have an original document created in Tanzania or a public or individual document. You want to make use of the document in a different country. The Netherlands could be the case. The document has to go through the legalization process to allow it to be used in the Netherlands.

Click here to see how East Africa’s leading legal management consulting firm can help you with drafting legal documents…

Why should documents originating from Tanzania undergo legalization?

Tanzania does not belong to and has not signed an agreement to join the Hague Convention, 1961, which bans the legalization of documents issued by its members. The convention’s members can recognize and accept an official document issued by their members so long as it has an official title such as “Apostille (Convention de La Haye du 5 October 1961)” in the French language.

Because Tanzania is not a signatory of the Hague Convention, all the documents issued by Tanzania must go through the legalization process or attestation to ensure that they are valid and acceptable in their destination country.

The need for legalization is up to the authorities in the country of destination. However, when Legalization is required, the document has to go through the process of legalization described below.

Procedure of Legalization or Attestation of documents in Tanzania

Legalization of documents that originate from Tanzania to be used in any other country should follow the procedure below;

The document must be authenticated by the authority issuing it. After that, the document must be delivered to Dodoma, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation

located at Dodoma in Tanzania. The Ministry will stamp and seal the document certifying that the document has been issued by an official institution situated in Tanzania.

After that, the document needs to be taken to the consular or diplomatic mission of the country to which it is intended in Tanzania. The Mission will stamp and signature, thereby authenticating that the signature and stamp are issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Tanzania.

Although it has attached its signature and stamp on it, the consular department cannot authenticate the document’s contents. Instead, it confirms the signature and authorization of the ministry of foreign affairs of the host country.

The document is valid only in the country that the consular or diplomatic office has legally attested to the document. If, for instance, the document is from Tanzania and was legalized/attested by the Italy Embassy in Tanzania, The document is valid for usage only within Italy and not in other countries. should the document need to be used in Germany, then it must undergo the process described above through the supervision of the Germany Embassy located in Tanzania.


The process above may appear to be easy; however, it’s not. The process can be a bit complex based on the country of the destination, the kind of document that needs to be legalized, and certain other documents that may require additional documentation and technical aspects that can be quickly obtained or addressed by an attorney.

If you’ve needed to legalize documents in Tanzania for use in other countries, you’ve likely been through the frustration of getting the document executed or signed only to discover later that the documents aren’t legally valid or accepted.

To avoid all of this, Shikana Group can assist and guide you through the entire process of drafting and reviewing all of your legal paperwork.

Shikana Group is a leading legal management consulting firm in Tanzania. We advise our clients on the appropriate ownership entities for the business they need to set up, including enterprises, associations, limited liability companies and joint ventures. Our legal team provide an analysis of the benefits, expenses and risks related with the choice of a specific business entity, in light of our extensive experience assisting worldwide investors coming into the African market place.

For further information, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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