Legalization of documents (consular legalization, apostille, etc.)

Legalization of a document - committing acts giving legal force to a document in the territory of another state..
Legalisation makes documents suitable for use in another country.
It should be kept in mind that the legalization inscription does not give additional legal force to the document.

The legalization procedure can be simplified or even eliminated by provisions of international agreements.

Types of legalization:

  1. Apostille.
  2. Consular legalization.
  3. Simplified procedure.

The Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents, the Apostille Convention, or the Apostille Treaty, is an international treaty drafted by the Hague Conference on Private International Law.
A certification under the terms of the convention is called an apostille or Hague apostille.
The apostille itself is a stamp or printed form consisting of ten numbered standard fields.
If the convention applies between two countries, such an apostille is sufficient to certify a document's validity, and removes the need for double-certification, by the originating country and then by the receiving country.
Documents certified with an apostille in one State party to the Convention must be accepted in another State party to the Convention without any restrictions.

Eligible documents
  • court documents
  • administrative documents (e.g. civil status documents)
  • notarial acts
  • official certificates which are placed on documents signed by persons in their private capacity, such as official certificates recording the registration of a document or the fact that it was in existence on a certain date and official and notarial authentications of signatures.

Not available for apostilization:
  • Documents committed by diplomatic or consular agents;
  • administrative documents directly related to a commercial or customs operation.

It's important to remember that
  • Apostille is placed on the document itself or on a separate sheet attached to the document. It may be written in the official language of the issuing authority's country. It may also be written in a second language. The heading "Apostille (Convention de la Haye du 5 octobre 1961)" should be given in French.
  • document shall be apostille only in the country in which it was issued.
  • the apostille has no expiration date (however, the document itself may have a limited expiration date).
The signature, seal, or stamp affixed to the apostille does not require any authentication.

The Hague Convention was signed by:

In international law, legalization is the process of authenticating or certifying a legal document so a foreign country's legal system will recognize it as with full legal effect.

Authentication by legalization is widely used in international commerce and civil law matters in those jurisdictions where the simpler apostille system has not been adopted (e.g.: Singapore, CanadaCanada).

Consular legalization is a rather complicated long multistage procedure. The procedure of legalization can be simply split into 3 stages, though each stage can vary in the amount of steps required:
  • Verification by the government of the issuing country
  • Verification by the Embassy of the destination country within the issuing country
  • A final verification of all steps within the destination country itself
Consular legalization is required for: etc.

According to the Convention on Legal Assistance and Legal Relations in Civil, Family and Criminal Cases (also known as the "Minsk Convention") of 22.01.1993, the documents of the participating countries are recognized without legalization (as a rule, it is enough to make a translation into the state language and notarize it). Members of the Minsk Convention:

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