How to Authenticate Documents in DFA: New and Updated Guide


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Aside from processing Philippine passports, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is also tasked with authenticating documents.

Formerly known as “red ribbon” authentication, the process involved affixing red satin ribbons to public documents that will be used abroad.

Starting June 17, 2019, however, DFA has officially stopped issuing “red ribbons” which have been replaced by “Apostille” certificates following Philippines’ accession to the Apostille Convention.

What exactly is an Apostille certificate and how does it differ from the “red ribbon” certificates we’re all familiar with?

In this guide, we’ll cover everything about this new authentication process and how it has made processing documents to be used abroad easier than ever before.

 

Why do you need to authenticate a document?

Let’s say you have a PSA birth certificate.

Birth certificates in the Philippines and those issued by other countries don’t look the same. They’re also not processed in the same way.

So how can a foreign country accept a document (in this case, a birth certificate) from a completely different country with completely different laws and culture?

This is when authentication enters the picture.

Since the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, embassies or consulates around the world have been following the same authentication procedure to ensure that a document processed in a particular country will remain valid in another country.

For this reason, the purpose of having your documents authenticated by DFA is to ensure embassies or consulates in other countries that the said documents have been carefully reviewed, examined, and subjected to an agreed-upon authentication procedure.

In other words, the DFA authentication guarantees foreign embassies that whatever document you’re submitting is not fake and was released by a recognized Philippine government agency.

 

DFA “Red Ribbon” versus Apostille Certificates: What’s the Difference?

Filipinos have grown familiar with “red ribbons” that whenever their foreign employers ask them to authenticate certain documents, they immediately associate this procedure with “red ribbons.”

However, starting June 17, 2019, DFA has stopped issuing “red ribbon” certificates to authenticate public documents that will be used abroad.

The “red ribbons” have been replaced by Apostille certificates. This new procedure isn’t intended to confuse people as some have been led to believe. Rather, it’s designed to streamline the authentication process.

Let me explain.

On September 12, 2018, the Philippines formally acceded to the Apostille Convention held in The Hague, Netherlands.

The Apostille Convention is basically an international treaty where all signatory countries came to an agreement that documents issued by one signatory country can be accepted by another signatory country without undergoing additional consular authentication.

Now, this is what makes the Apostille certificate different from the discontinued “red ribbon” certificates.

In the old system (see image below), you can’t use a Philippine-issued document abroad unless it’s authenticated by DFA and then legalized by the Foreign Embassy with jurisdiction over the country where the document will be used.

apostille authentication in the philippines
Photo Credit: DFA Official website

By contrast, the Apostille certificate enables Filipinos to use their authenticated documents in any Apostille-contracting countries without going through another consular authentication or legalization procedure.

In other words, you only need to go to the DFA to get your documents authenticated. There’s no longer a need to go to the Consular Office of your destination country, making the whole process easier, faster, and relatively cheaper.

 

Which countries accept Apostille certificate for authenticated documents?

As mentioned previously, an Apostille certificate issued by DFA in the Philippines is only accepted by other countries who are also signatories to the Apostille Convention.

For a complete list of Apostille-contracting countries, please check out this link or see the image below.

apostille countries
Photo Credit: DFA Official website

In addition to the countries NOT included above, Apostille certificates are also NOT accepted in Austria, Germany, Greece, and Finland.

 

What documents can be authenticated?

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) offers authentication services for the following documents:

  • Birth Certificate.
  • Marriage Certificate.
  • Death Certificate.
  • Certificate of No Marriage Record and/or Negative Records (CENOMAR).
  • Form 137 and Diploma.
  • Transcript of Records (TOR) and Diploma.
  • Medical/AIDS-Free Certificate.
  • Pilot License issued by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).
  • Driver’s License.
  • Professional Licenses.
  • Board Certificates/Board Ratings/Certifications.
  • Certificate of Employment.
  • Certificate of Training/Seminars.
  • Baptismal Certificate and other documents issued by a private entity.
  • Other Notarized Documents (Special Power of Attorney (SPA) / Affidavit of Consent/Invitation/Guarantee/MOA, etc.)
  • Court Decisions/Resolutions/Orders.
  • Immigration Records.
  • DSWD Clearance.
  • NBI Clearance.
  • Police Clearance.
  • Barangay Clearance.
  • Export Documents.
  • Business Registration and Other Documents issued by a Government Agency (e.g. SEC, DTI, BIR, Municipal Business Permit & Licensing Office, etc.)
  • Foreign Documents.

 

How to Authenticate Documents in DFA: 6 Easy Steps.

 

1. Complete the DFA authentication requirements.

Before going to the DFA office, ensure that you already have the following documentary requirements:

 

a. At least 1 valid government-issued ID.

You can bring any one of the following:

  • Passport.
  • PRC ID.
  • IBP ID.
  • OWWA ID.
  • SSS ID.
  • GSIS E-Card.
  • Senior Citizen’s ID.
  • Voter’s ID.
  • Digitized Postal ID.
  • Alumni ID.
  • Employment ID.
  • School ID (for elementary, high school, and college students).

 

b. Document/s to be authenticated.

Birth/Marriage/Death Certificate/Certificate of No Marriage Record and/or Negative Records (CENOMAR).

  • Must be issued by the Philippine Statistics Authority (formerly NSO) and printed on Security Paper.
  • If there are entries on the certificates that are unreadable, please bring equivalent copies issued by the Local Civil Registrar (LCR).
  • For documents registered at the LCR within 6 months from the date of registration, you can bring the LCR copy instead provided that it has been certified/authenticated by PSA.

 

Transcript of Records (TOR) and Diploma (For State Colleges and Universities).

  • Only bring Certified True Copies from the school.
  • Documents must have the Certification, Authentication, and Verification (CAV) from the school and signed by the school/university registrar and/or school’s authorized signatory.

 

Transcript of Records (TOR) and Diploma (Private Schools and Local Universities and Colleges).

  • Only bring Certified True Copies from the school.
  • Documents must have the Certification, Authentication, and Verification (CAV) from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) where the school is located.

 

Transcript of Records (TOR) and Diploma / National Certificate (Technical or Vocational Courses).

  • Only bring Certified True Copies from the school.
  • Documents must have the Certification, Authentication, and Verification (CAV) from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) where the school is located.

 

Form 137 and Diploma (High School and Elementary Level).

  • Only bring Certified True Copies from the school.
  • Documents must have the Certification, Authentication, and Verification (CAV) from the Dep-Ed Regional Office where the school is located.

 

Medical/AIDS-Free Certificate.

  • Must be certified/authenticated by the Department of Health (DOH).
  • Only secure authentication for this document if requested by an employer/agency from countries such as Angola, Cyprus, Greece, Portugal, Cuba, Oman, Libya, Palau, and Spain.

 

Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) issued licenses.

  • Must be certified/authenticated by CAAP.

 

Driver’s Licenses.

  • Only certifications from the Land Transportation Office (LTO) main branch will be accepted.

 

Professional Licenses/Board Certificates/Board Ratings/Certifications.

  • Must be certified/authenticated by the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC).

 

Certificate of Employment/Training/Seminars, Baptismal Certificate and other documents issued by a private entity.

  • Must have a notarized affidavit which states the necessary factual circumstances and indicates the certificate/s as attachment/s.
  • Please secure a Certificate of Authority for a Notarial Act (CANA) signed by the Executive Judge or Vice Executive Judge from the Regional Trial Court which issued the commission of the Notary Public.
  • Note that the copy of Notarial Commission is not the same as Certificate of Authority for a Notarial Act (CANA).

 

Other Notarized Documents (Special Power of Attorney (SPA) / Affidavit of Consent/Invitation/Guarantee/MOA, etc.).

  • Please secure a Certificate of Authority for a Notarial Act (CANA) signed by the Executive Judge or Vice Executive Judge from the Regional Trial Court which issued the commission of the Notary Public.

 

Court Decisions/Resolutions/Orders.

  • Only bring certified true copies of the document/s.
  • If not available in records, a copy of specimen signature of the court personnel who signed the certified copies from the Office of Administrative Services (Supreme Court – Located beside PGH) may be required.

 

Immigration Records.

  • Must be certified/authenticated by the Bureau of Immigration (BI).

 

DSWD Clearance.

  • This refers to the travel clearance for minors issued by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

 

NBI Clearances.

  • Personal copy of the NBI clearance won’t be accepted.
  • The NBI clearance to be authenticated must be issued by the National Bureau of Investigation. Take note that NBI clearance is now “multi-purpose” so the green clearance annotated for travel or work abroad is no longer issued.

 

Police Clearances. 

 

Barangay Clearances.

  • Mayor’s Clearance or Certification which has jurisdiction over the Barangay of the applicant’s place of residence.

 

Export Documents.

  • Depending on what type of export document you have, it must be certified/authenticated by anyone of the following: Department of Health (DOH), Philippine Chamber of Commerce (PCCI), Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD), or Department of Agriculture (DA).

 

Business Registration and Other Documents issued by a Government Agency (e.g. SEC, DTI, BIR, Municipal Business Permit & Licensing Office, etc.).

  • Must be certified/authenticated by the issuing office.

 

Foreign Documents.

  • Consularization of the document by the Philippine Embassy or Philippine Consulate General in the country from where it originated or by the said country’s Embassy or Consulate General in the Philippines.

 

2. Proceed to the nearest DFA Consular Office that offers authentication services.

Unlike in Philippine passport application and renewal, you don’t need to secure an online appointment to avail of the authentication services offered by DFA.

Simply proceed to the DFA during office hours and go directly to the queue or counter designated for the authentication service.

DFA authentication services are only available at the following consular offices:

  • DFA Aseana (main office).
  • DFA NCR-Northeast (Ali Mall).
  • DFA NCR-East (SM Megamall).
  • DFA NCR-West (SM Manila).
  • DFA NCR-South (Metro Gaisano Alabang).
  • DFA San Fernando, Pampanga
  • DFA Davao
  • DFA Cebu

For the complete address and contact information of each office mentioned above, please refer to this guide.

Before you head over to your chosen DFA Consular Office, keep in mind the following reminders:

  • DFA Consular Offices are open from Monday to Saturday, 10 AM to 6 PM.
  • DFA Aseana (main office) only offers authentication services during weekdays (Monday to Friday).
  • If your documents need further verification, please file at the Authentication Division at DFA Aseana (main office).
  • Both DFA Davao and Cebu recently opened their doors to applicants in need of authentication services, making it easier for OFWs from the Visayas and Mindanao to complete their requirements without the need to fly to Manila.
  • DFA Davao is the first consular office in Mindanao to offer authentication service. It is located at the 3rd Floor of SM City Davao on Quimpo Boulevard, Ecoland, Matina and open from 10 am to 4 pm (from Mondays to Fridays), and from 10 am to 3 pm (on Saturdays). It issues Apostille certificates for the authentication of the following documents: PSA birth certificates and marriage contracts, NBI clearances, PRC licenses, and CHED-certified academic credentials.
  • DFA Cebu is the latest addition to the list of DFA consular offices that offer authentication services. Located inside the Pacific Mall in Mandaue City, this office accepts applications from Monday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Although authentication services are available from Monday to Saturday in most Consular Offices, the authenticated documents are only released during weekdays (Monday to Friday).
  • Again, no appointment is needed if you’re availing of authentication services. Beware of swindlers who may tell you otherwise.

 

3. Fill out the DFA Authentication application form.

Upon arrival at the DFA Consular Office, proceed to the Authentication Information counter and get a queuing number. Wait for your turn.

Fill out the DFA Authentication application form from Sections A to C. Here’s a PDF copy of the application form to give you an idea of what it looks like.

Take note that there’s a maximum of 5 documents (to be authenticated) per application form.

 

4. Submit documents to the Processing Window.

Proceed to the Processing Window and present your valid ID.

Submit your duly accomplished DFA Authentication application form along with the document/s to be authenticated.

 

5. Pay the DFA Authentication fee.

Pay the appropriate DFA authentication fee to the cashier.

As of this writing, DFA authentication costs Php 100/document for regular processing (released after 4 working days) and Php 200/document for express processing (released after 1 working day).

The table below summarizes the current DFA authentication fees:

dfa authentication fee

After payment of the fee, you will be issued an official receipt along with a release date when you can claim the authenticated document/s.

Please keep the official receipt.

 

6. Claim your authenticated document/s.

Return to the DFA Consular Office on the indicated release schedule.

Drop the official receipt issued to you after payment (see the previous step) at the Releasing DropBox and wait for your name/number to be called.

Once it’s your turn, present a valid ID and/or Special Power of Attorney (if you’re claiming the document/s on behalf of someone) at the Releasing Window.

Upon receiving the authenticated document/s, double-check for any inaccuracy or errors before leaving the DFA premises.

 

Tips and Warnings.

  • Apostille certificate only certifies the origin of the document or the person/authority whose signature/seal appears on the public document. It doesn’t certify the content of the said document.
  • Apostille certificates only apply to public documents that will be used abroad. Authentication and the Apostille certificates will not be issued to documents that will only be used locally.
  • If the country of your destination is one of the excluded countries or not a signatory to the Apostille Convention, you may need to go to that country’s Consular Office/Embassy and have your documents legalized/certified. For more information, please contact the Foreign Embassy or the intended recipient of your documents to see what options are available for you.

Frequently Asked Questions.

1. How long is the validity of DFA-authenticated documents?

2. I can’t personally go to DFA to file/claim the documents. Can an authorized representative do it on my behalf?

3. How can I authenticate my Philippine-issued documents if I’m abroad?

4. What happens to unclaimed DFA-authenticated documents?

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46 thoughts on “How to Authenticate Documents in DFA: New and Updated Guide

  1. Hi po I really need apostille stamp for my birth certificate and cenomar kaya LNG wala ako mautasan Jan Sa pinas possible po bang I direct ko ipapadala ung documents ko sa main office ng dfa.salamat sa sagot

    1. We already answered this in our FAQ section. Here’s the URL of the page containing the answer to your query: https://filipiknow.net/dfa-authentication-abroad/

  2. Is my marriage certificate abroad can do apostile in red ribbon because i am using this for my visit visa in riyadh

  3. Hi…! Pwd bang e claimed ang document na pinared ribbon sa ibng branch ng dfa? Ex dto sa manila dfa tapus sa cotabato dfa q xa gsto e recieve? Pwd po ba??

  4. Hello. Ask ko lang po kung pwd ba yung school ko nung college ang magpapa red ribbon ng TOR or DIPLOMA?

  5. Hi Filipiknow! Good day! Upon release ng Apsotille for whatever document is authenticated, may sticker yun sa likod sa parang gold stamp button bearing the logo of the DFA with signature rin on the upper right corner. Do you have an idea if the Apostille will still be valid if na-tamper ang sticker/gold stamp button na yon? Thank you in advance for answering.

  6. Hi, hindi po nag sign ng agreement ang canasa for apostille, kaya still red ribbon pa din po pag sa canada. Ty

  7. Good day. ask ko po if the country of my destination is one of the excluded countries or not a signatory to the Apostille Convention,do i need to go first in dfa before going to country’s Consular Office/Embassy and have your documents legalized/certified.

  8. good day po

    possible po ba na allowed ako mag pa authenticate hindi kopo passport nasa province po ang my ari hindi daw po kasi pwedi sa province dito sa manila lang
    daw if possible po need po ba authorization? or power of attorney is enough na po? thanks

  9. Hello po, ask ko lang sana, kasi mg papa apostille po ako ng police clearance ko, anu ba ang requirements para sa pag apostille ng police clearance? Pls sana my mg comment at makatulong sa akin, 😥 salamat!

  10. Hi pwede po bang ipa red ribbon ang death certificate na galing city hall. Matagal pa po kasi ang hihintayin bago makakuha ng psa.

  11. Hi,

    I have all my documents (birth certificate, death certificate and marriage contract) in red ribbon last December 03, 2018 and it said, still valid until 5 years from the date purchased. Do I really need to get another or new documents just to have it apostille or is this red ribbon is good to go while still have validity until this time? Hope to hear your quick response. Thank you!

    1. hello po!
      Tanong ko Lang po kung magpa authentic ng documents like criminal records and birth certificate kailangan po ba ng appointment or magpila Lang directly sa consular office? thank you sa sagot

    2. Same here with me. Worst is that I am here in Norway and applying for marriage with a tourist visa. Quite frustrating since I didnt have any knowledge at all about this Apostille Stamp. 😢😥

  12. Hi, ask ko lng po if my idea k pg pina authenticate ulet ung tor and diploma!?? Kc np red ribbon ko n sy last 2014 den sbe ng agency nmin need ulet ipa authenticate s dfa ano po un need ko ulet mg p certified true copy s school nmin!?? Or i can use the same ctc nung 2014!?? Thanks

  13. Hi,I went to DFA Ali Mall kanina pero may nakapaskil na normal processing lang ang available and di available ang 1 day process,does it apply to all branches kaya?

  14. Hi! Good day po, madam/ sir. Ask ko Lang Meron na po akong ctc tor At diploma and cav from ched, 2016 pa po, Pero Hnd ko pa ito Napa red ribbon before Dahil kapos sa oras dito po ako now sa UAE, now I planing to move in New Zealand, Pwede ko pa ba Ito gamitin s a pag pa apostille? Maraming Salamat po.

  15. Hello! Is it okay that the documents I only have is certification of rating not board rating? Btw it is already authenticated. Thank you

    1. Hi May I ask are the requirements needed to aunthenticate my sister documents leaving outside Phillipines .Does Canada accepting Apostille ?
      Thanks For response.

      1. Hello
        Need ba sa canada? Vancouver .kc d ko din alam if ipa authenticate ko.salamat sa sagot

  16. I have my certificate of employments to be authenticated first, all my employment certs were in region2, where will i go for authentication/verification first before going to DFA for redribbon? Tia

  17. Hello good day! I would like to ask is it possible that my eldest son age 19yrs old can process our marriage contract in behalf of us coz we are here in uae right now. Do I need to provide him a special power of attorney to process it.

  18. Is it neccessary to authenticate my police clearance? Because im in the process of immigrating to the U. S, is it mandatory to authenticate clearances when entering the United States? thank you very much.

    1. paano po kapag sa middle east like sa kuwait po ako nag wowork at pina-process ko po sa kapatid ko yung birth certificate ko sa kapatid ko ,para po mapa authenticate.based po sa country,di po kasama ang kuwait.paano po yun?kelangan ko pa po bang mag pa process pa ulit ng red ribbon?or valid din po ba yung apostille dito.thanks in afvance po

      1. In a way, parang ganun na nga po. Ipapaauthenticate nyo po sa DFA yung BC nyo and then once nakuha nyo na, ipapalegalize nyo naman sa Embassy ng Kuwait. For more information, please contact the Foreign Embassy or the intended recipient of your documents to see what options are available for you.

  19. I was hired in Cambodia, before leaving the country for holiday my Contract was not authenticated in the Philippine Embassy in Cambodia, is it possible to do the red ribbon here in the Philippines?

  20. Hello! I am Alfredo E. Gutierrez from the Philippines and I am an immigrant in Canada. I arrived here last May 17, 2019. I will be applying for a driver’s license and for me to apply I need to get documents that should prove that I have been driving before. As I understand I need documents from the LTO and DFA. Can you furnish me a list or a guide to follow in order for me to work on this? I get confused because there are documents that need to be sent to Manila and there are documents that need special power of attorney (SPA) but I don’t know if the SPA should be made in the Philippine Consulate here or in Manila. I will appreciate your help. Thank you.

    1. Hello. My autenticated documents are already expired, so if i want to autenticate again do i need to get new requirements for example, the tor and diploma should i get new certified true copies and go to ched again? And what if my school had closed where will i get my needed documents?
      I hope you can help me.
      Thank you.

      1. ask ko lng po regarding NBI clearance for authentication, we have already this Multi-purpose NBI clearance which is the blue one but why they are still requiring the green NBI clearance for abroad, thanks!

    2. Hi, nag work ako sa UAE at nandito ako sa pilipinas ngayon para iprocess ang Red ribbon ko kaso nalaman ko na bago na at isa ang UAE na countries na excluded sa Apostille. Tanong ko lang kung ano ang dapat kong gawin?

  21. IS IT POSSIBLE TO CLAIM THE AUTHENTICATED DOCUMENTS ON THE SAME DAY SHE FILED? BECAUSE THE AUTHORIZED PERSON LIVE VERY FAR AND SHE CANNOT GO BACK FOR ANOTHER NEW PLANE TICKET? FOR EXAMPLE SHE FILE FRIDAY AND ON THE NEXT DAY IS SATURDAY.

    1. Hello. My autenticated documents are already expired, so if i want to autenticate again do i need to get new requirements for example, the tor and diploma should i get new certified true copies and go to ched again?
      I hope you can help me.
      Thank you.

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