Apostille and Consular Legalization
Easy Solution to Tough Problems
Leo Tolstoy said: “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
The same is true referring to the situations when people go to another country. Just a few examples: An exciting event – you are going to study at a university in Paris or in Berlin. Or even a more exciting event – you are going to get married. There – in Europe. Changing places, new acquaintances, new life!
If only everything were so easy! You board an airplane; it takes you to the place of your future temporary or permanent residence… However, your sweet dream may soon be over.
Each country has an abundance of red tape, which can be highly specific and even unique. A simple submission of documents that are required for admission to a European university can grow into a distressful camping on doorsteps of different authorities. Some officials will be satisfied with the translated and notarized copies of supporting documents, some will require that the documents should be apostilled or certified at a relevant consulate.
But you may find it out at the last moment when you are there!
What should be done not to get into a jam? If you are planning to go to another country to:
● get married
call Translit for a free consultation to learn about all possible options for document execution, translation, legalization and apostille services.
Every month many people call or come to the Translit Agency, asking to help them with different issues related to translation and legalization of their documents, including:
● certificates and records issued by civil registration offices,
● diplomas and certificates of education,
● medical statements and police clearance certificates,
● powers of attorney and constituent documents.
At your request we can contact the relevant authorities and inquire into the rules and requirements applicable to documents.
Leave the hassle of paperwork to us; we will save you time, and most importantly, your peace of mind.
Apostille and Consular Legalization
The document must go through the authentication and legalization procedure so that it would be recognized as a valid document in another country. There are two main types of document legalization: the apostille stamping and consular legalization. Both types of legalization make the document valid and recognized by all official authorities, consulates and other institutions in the country of your destination.
An apostille (French, apostille (marginal note, postscript)) is a special stamp affixed to a document issued by official authorities, institutions and entities of the Russian Federation. The apostille stamping is also referred to as the simplified legalization of a document.
In 1961, the Hague Convention abolished the requirement of legalization for public non-commercial documents for all its member-states. At present, there are more than 120 countries that joined the Convention (including the Russian Federation); the member-states use the simplified process for legalization of documents – an apostille stamp is sufficient to confirm the validity and authenticity of a document.
Find below a complete list of the countries that joined the Hague Convention and recognize validity of an apostille stamp:
Australia, Austria, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Belgium, Bermudas, Botswana, Brunei Darussalam, United Kingdom, Venezuela, Virgin Islands, Germany, Gibraltar, Honduras, Grenada, Greece, Denmark, the Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey, Dominica, Cayman Islands, Israel, India, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Lesotho, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, China (only Hong Kong and Macau), Columbia, Mauritius, Malawi, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Monaco, Montserrat, Namibia, Netherlands, Niue, Norway, New Zealand, New Hebrides, Portugal, Gilbert Islands and Ellice Islands, Isle of Man, Turks and Caicos Islands, Russia, Saint Helena (Netherlands Antilles), Samoa, San Marino, Swaziland, Seychelles, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla, Saint Lucia, USA, Suriname, Tonga, Turkey, Trinidad and Tobago, Fiji, Finland, Falkland Islands, France, Switzerland, Sweden, Ecuador, El Salvador, Republic of South Africa, Japan.
The apostille is a standard form of a unified international certification of public documents. It must contain a number of mandatory items: the country of origin, the name of the signatory, the place and the date of certification, etc. In Russia the right to use an apostille certification is granted to authorities of the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Defense, Federal Agency of Russia, civil registration offices, regional executive government authorities, the Federal Education and Science Supervision Agency as well as the Ministry of the Interior and Prosecutor General’s Office.
If the country you are going to is not a participant of the Hague Convention, your documents will need to go through the process of consular legalization. This type of legalization is more complicated and involves a sequence of steps:
● Notarial certification of documents and translation (if applicable),
● Certification of the notary’s signature by the RF Ministry of Justice,
● Certification of the seal of the RF Ministry of Justice by the Consular Department of the RF Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
● Legalization of the documents in the consulate of the country where they are going to be used.
The process of consular legalization can take three months depending on the individual requirements of each consulate. The total fee paid for the legalization will depend on the rates set by the consulate of a particular country. Consular legalization makes a document valid only in the issuing country.
Mutual Recognition of Documents
Russia has entered into mutual recognition agreements with a number of countries. It means that the document, which has been properly executed in one of the member-states, is recognized as valid by another member-state without any additional formalities (the certified translation of the document into the official language of the respective country will be sufficient). No apostille stamping is required for public documents to be submitted in such countries.
The Russian Federation has signed agreements on mutual recognition of documents with the following countries:
Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Albania, Algeria, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Vietnam, Georgia, Spain (document issued by civil registration offices), Cyprus, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Cuba, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Mongolia, Panama, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Tunisia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Serbia, Montenegro
The Translit Translation Agency provides professional assistance in translation and certification of documents required for legalization.
A. Pashkov, Director of ITAR-TASS-URAL, National Forecast Project Manager