How long is a notarized document valid?

Official certification of documents and signatures (§§ 33, 34 VwVfG)

Berlin, October 1, 2004

V 5a - 130 210/16





Official certification of documents and signatures (§§ 33, 34 VwVfG)



reference


My circular of December 8, 1976 - V II 3 - 130 210/16







I. Certification of documents



1 General

According to Section 33 (1) sentence 2 of the Administrative Procedure Act (VwVfG), the federal authorities and the federal corporations, institutions and foundations under public law, as well as the authorities responsible under state law, are authorized to officially certify copies of third-party documents. Every authority is authorized by law to certify copies of its own documents (Section 33 (1) sentence 1 VwVfG).



The federal government has granted certification authority to all federal authorities within the meaning of Section 1 (1) No. 1 VwVfG (ordinance of March 13, 2003, Federal Law Gazette I p. 361). The regulations on the certification of copies apply accordingly to photocopies, photoprints and similar reproductions made using technical processes, to negatives produced by photo-technical means of documents that are kept by an authority and to printouts of electronic documents; Certified copies, negatives and printouts of electronic documents are equivalent to certified copies (Section 33 (6) VwVfG).



The prerequisite for the certification of copies, reproductions and negatives is that the original has been issued by an authority or the copy, etc. is required for submission to an authority, unless the legal provision stipulates that certified copies from official registers and archives, e.g. B. the issuing of civil status certificates is reserved exclusively for other authorities.



Copies may not be certified if circumstances justify the assumption that the original content of the document whose copy is to be certified has been changed, in particular if this document has gaps, strikethroughs, insertions, changes, illegible words, numbers or characters, traces the removal of words, numbers or characters or if the context of a document consisting of several sheets is broken (Section 33 (2) VwVfG).



According to Section 33 (3) sentence 1 VwVfG, a copy is certified by a certification note that must be placed under the copy. From Section 33, Paragraph 3, Sentence 2, VwVfG, it follows what content the note must have. I recommend using the following template for the certification note:





"This is officially certified that the preceding / surrounding copy / photocopy with the original / copy / certified / simple / copy / photocopy / printout of the ................ ....

..............................................

(Name of the document)

matches.

The certification is only required for submission to ....................

..............................................

(Authority)

granted.


Berlin, the ....

Federal Ministry of the Interior


On behalf

(Seal)



..............................


(Signature)."



The reference to the intended use does not apply if the original was issued by an authority (Section 33 (3) No. 3 VwVfG).



If the certified copy or photocopy consists of several sheets, these must be connected so tightly that they cannot be separated without noticeable damage; the connection points are to be sealed.



Section 33 VwVfG does not apply to the certification of copies for the internal needs of the authority.



2. Special features of the certification of printouts of electronic documents



When certifying the printout of an electronic document, pursuant to Section 33 Paragraph 4 No. 3 in conjunction with In accordance with Paragraph 3 Clause 2 No. 1 VwVfG, specify the exact designation of the electronic document. A brief content reference is sufficient for this, such as "Export license of the Federal Export Office - Az V 55555-6".



To certify the printout of an electronic document that is not linked to a qualified electronic signature, I recommend using the following template as a basis for the certification note:





"This is officially certified that the above / surrounding printout with the electronic document of the ....................

..............................................

(Name of the document)

matches.

The certification is only required for submission to ....................

..............................................

(Authority)

granted.



Berlin, the .....

Federal Ministry of the Interior


On behalf

(Seal)



..............................


(Signature)."



When certifying a printout of an electronic document that is associated with a qualified electronic signature, the certification note according to Section 33 Paragraph 5 Sentence 1 No. 1 VwVfG must also state:



-
who the signature verification identifies as the owner of the signature,
-
which time the signature verification shows for the affixing of the signature and
-
which certificates with which data this signature was based on.


The owner of the signature is the signature key holder within the meaning of Section 7, Paragraph 1, No. 1 of the Signature Act (SigG). According to § 2 No. 9 SigG, this is the natural person who has the signature key and to whom the associated signature verification keys are assigned by qualified certificates.



The data of the certificate on which the signature is based, which are immediately perceptible during the signature check, must be determined:

-
the serial number of the certificate (Section 7 (1) No. 4 SigG)
-
Beginning and end of the validity of the certificate (§ 7 Paragraph 1 No. 5 SigG)
-
Information on whether the use of the signature key is restricted to certain applications in terms of type and scope (Section 7 (1) No. 7 SigG), as well as
-
Information on whether there are attributes of the signature key holder (Section 7 (1) No. 9 SigG).


I recommend using the following template for the certification note:





"This is officially certified that the printout with the electronic document of the ....................

..............................................

(Name of the document)

matches.

The following findings were made during the signature check:

The owner of the signature is Ms / Mr ....................

The signature was linked to the document on ...... at .....

The signature was based on the certificate with the number ....., which is valid from ..... to ......

The certificate contained no / the following restrictions on the use of the signature key ....................

No / the following attributes were assigned to the signature key holder ....................

The certification is only required for submission to ....................

..............................................

(Authority)

granted.



Berlin, the .....

Federal Ministry of the Interior


On behalf

(Seal)



..............................


(Signature)."



Instead of the written recording of the directly perceivable data of the certificate on which the signature is based, determined during the signature check, a screenshot of the signature check can also be included in the note.



If the certified printout of an electronic document consists of several sheets, these must be connected so firmly that they cannot be separated without noticeable damage; the connection points are to be sealed.



II. Certification of electronic documents



According to Section 33 (4) No. 4 VwVfG, electronic documents can also be certified if they

-
were produced to depict a document or
-
have received a different technical format than the original document associated with a qualified electronic signature.


Certified electronic documents in accordance with Section 33 (4) No. 4 VwVfG are equivalent to certified copies (Section 33 (6) VwVfG).



Electronic documents in accordance with Section 33 (4) No. 4 VwVfG may also not be certified if circumstances justify the assumption that the original content of the source document, the copy of which is to be certified, has been changed, in particular if this document has gaps, strikethroughs, Contains insertions, changes, illegible words, numbers or characters, traces of the removal of words, numbers or characters or if the context of a document consisting of several pages is broken (Section 33 (2) VwVfG).



Electronic documents that have been produced to depict a piece of writing will regularly be displayed by an image file program. Depending on the technical capabilities of the program used, the certification note must be inserted or appended after the text of the document. The certification note must contain the information required in accordance with Section 33 (3) sentence 2 VwVfG. In addition, the name of the employee responsible for the certification and the name of the authority that carries out the certification must be included in the note (Section 33 (5) sentence 1 no. 2 VwVfG). The signature of the official responsible for certification and the official seal required in accordance with Section 33 (3) sentence 2 No. 4 VwVfG and the official seal are replaced by a permanently verifiable qualified electronic signature.



I recommend using the following template for the certification note:



"This is officially certified that the above electronic document with the submitted original / copy / certified / simple / copy / photocopy / printout of / the ....................

..............................................

(Name of the document)

matches.

The certification is only required for submission to ....................

..............................................

(Authority)

granted.


Berlin, the .....

Federal Ministry of the Interior


On behalf


..............................


(Name of certifier). "



The note is to be attached to the electronic document and then to be provided by the certifying party with a permanently verifiable qualified electronic signature.



Electronic documents that have received a different technical format than the original document associated with a qualified electronic signature, i.e. that have been reformatted, can be authenticated in the same way as electronic documents that were created to depict a document. Since the qualified electronic signature of the original document can no longer be checked after reformatting, the certification note must also contain the information in accordance with Section 33 (5) sentence 1 No. 1 VwVfG (Section 33 (5) sentence 2 VwVfG).



I recommend using the following template for the certification note:



"This is officially certified that the above electronic documentation

ment with the electronic document of ....................

..............................................

(Name of the document)

matches.

The following findings were made during the signature check:

The owner of the signature is Ms / Mr ....................

The signature was linked to the document on ..... at ......

The signature was based on the certificate with the number ....., which is valid from ..... to ......

The certificate contained no / the following restrictions on the use of the signature key ....................

No / the following attributes were assigned to the signature key holder ....................

The certification is only required for submission to ....................

..............................................

(Authority)

granted.


Berlin, the .....

Federal Ministry of the Interior


On behalf


..............................


(Name of certifier). "



III. Certification of signatures



According to Section 34 (1) Sentence 1 VwVfG, the authorities designated by the Federal Government by ordinance and the authorities responsible under Land law are authorized to authenticate signatures if the signed document is to be presented to an authority or to another body that is based on a legal provision the signed document is required. The federal government has granted certification authority to all federal authorities within the meaning of Section 1 (1) No. 1 VwVfG (ordinance of March 13, 2003, Federal Law Gazette I p. 361). The official certification of signatures without associated text and of signatures that require public certification (Section 129 of the Civil Code) is not permitted (Section 34 (1) sentence 2 VwVfG).



A signature should only be certified if it is carried out or recognized in the presence of the certifying officer (Section 34 (2) VwVfG).



According to Section 34 (4) VwVfG, the regulations on the official certification of signatures for the certification of hand signals apply accordingly.



Section 34 (3) VwVfG stipulates that the certification note must be attached immediately to the signature that is to be certified, and what content it must have. I recommend the following template for the certification note:



"The above signature / hand sign is from

..............................................

(First name, family name, if applicable maiden name)

living in ....................

(City, street and house number)

personally known - identified by ....................

..............................................

(ID card, passport)

performed - recognized - before me.

This is hereby officially certified.

The certification is only required for submission to ....................

..............................................

(Authority or body)

granted.


Berlin, the .....

Federal Ministry of the Interior


On behalf

(Seal)



..............................


(Signature)."



If the signed document consists of several sheets, these must be joined together in such a way that they cannot be separated without noticeable damage; the connection points are to be sealed.



Section 34 VwVfG does not apply to the certification of signatures that are made in an official capacity.



IV.



I would ask you to follow the above in your area of ​​business.



V.



This letter replaces my circular of December 8, 1976 - V II 3 - 130 210/16.





Supreme Federal Authorities