What is the difference between legalization and apostille?

Very often when you submit your documents to foreign government bodies, you may be asked for your documents to be legalised or issued with the apostille. This can be misleading, as different bodies use different terms, which most often refer to the same procedure. We often receive question regarding the difference between apostille and legalisation. Here are some answers to the most common queries.

Apostille is a special sign (seal) affixed on official documents to make them valid in the territory of a foreign state. The document with the "Apostille" seal is valid in all countries that have acceded to the Hague Convention of 5 October 1961.

The Hague Convention of 1961 is an international Convention that abolishes the requirement of consular legalisation of foreign official documents for countries party to the Convention.

What does an apostille look like?

The apostille should contain the following details:

  1. Name of the state issuing the apostille
  2. Surname of the person who signed the document certified by the apostille
  3. The position of the person who signed the document certified by the apostille
  4. The name of the institution whose seal / stamp affixed the document certified by the apostille
  5. Name of the city in which the apostille is affixed
  6. Date of affixing the apostille
  7. Name of the authority affixing the apostille
  8. Apostille number
  9. Seal / stamp of the institution affixing an apostille
  10. Signature of apostille official

Apostille is required for:

  • permission to work abroad;
  • incorporation of companies in other countries;
  • marriage with foreign citizens;
  • admission to educational institutions abroad.

The seal “Apostille” is also affixed to the originals of the following documents:

  • official documents issued by educational institutions, such as: degree certificates, diplomas, diploma transcripts and others;
  • certificates issued by archival institutions
  • certificates of health status (provided they are certified with the official seal of the regional health department)
  • certificates issued by the Ministries of Internal Affairs, as well as other official documents.
  • documents issued by judiciary bodies and courts, as well as documents issued by notaries.
  • In particular, certificates issued by registry offices (birth, death, marriage, divorce certificates, incorporation documents of legal entities - articles of association, certificates of registration with the tax authorities, etc.)
  • documents issued or certified by notaries (for example, power of attorney, parental consent for travel of a minor child, etc.), court decisions.

Consular legalisation is one of the ways to legalise documents, similar in function to the apostille. Unlike apostille, it is used in document management with countries that are not parties to the Hague Convention. Legalisation is an administrative act by which validity is granted to a foreign public document, verifying the authenticity of the signature placed on a document and the quality in which the signing authority of the document has acted.

Documents subject to legalisation are diplomas, court decisions, civil status documents, et cetera. Legalisation is required to prove that the document

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