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Apostille and Legalization

At our translation agency, you can affix an apostille on any required documents.
What is an apostille and why is it needed?

Any official document issued by the government authorities of a country and valid at that country, is not necessarily valid in another country. Each sovereign state has its forms of documents and recognizes only them. Before the 1960s, there was only one way of making an official document issued in a country to be recognized in another country – legalization at the Consulate of the country where the document is to be used.

You will agree that in an era of international cooperation and mass tourism abroad, such a situation creates a lot of inconveniences. Therefore, the Hague Convention was signed in 1961 under which signatory countries established a mechanism for mutual recognition of documents and their authentication. The Convention abolished the requirement for mandatory legalization of foreign documents at the consulate and introduced a concept called apostille.

An apostille is a special stamp affixed on official documents issued in one country to authenticate the documents for use in another country.

Hence, today, when you want to transfer any official document abroad, you can authenticate it in two ways – consular legalization, which has retained its power, and apostilization. Affixing an apostille on a document issued in one State party to the Hague Convention of 5 October 1961 for use in another State party is equivalent to a consular legalization of that document.

Apostilled documents are accepted in by State parties to the Hague Convention without any restrictions or additional requirements. In other words, in all countries that signed the Convention, the presence of an apostille is a guarantee that the document itself and all information contained in it are authentic.

Today, the Hague Convention operates in almost all countries around the world and an apostille is a sign that authenticates your documents for international use.

An apostille is a typical stamp with fields containing information about the country where the apostille was affixed, the person that signed the document, and the institution that issued it, as well as information about the organization affixing the apostille, and the signature of the official in charge.

Who can affix an apostille?

The procedure for apostilization of documents can be carried out by government authorities in charge of these documents, as well as by private organizations.

  • The following are government authorities in Russia that can affix an apostille:
  • Federal Registration Service (Rosregistratsia) and its subdivisions (for official documents issued by governmental authorities);
  • General Directorate of the Ministry of Justice in Moscow and other regions (for documents issued by the notary, including notarial copies);
  • Federal Service for Supervision in Education and Science (Rosobrnadzor) – for academic documents, for awarding of academic degrees, etc.;
  • Main Information and Analytical Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (for certificates of no criminal record);
  • Department of documentary and directory services of the Federal Archival Agency (Rosarkhiv) and territorial subdivisions of Rosarkhiv (for archive certificates and transcripts);
  • The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation (on military service documents);
  • Ministry of Internal Affairs;
  • Public Prosecutor's Office of the Russian Federation;
  • Civil registry offices in federal subjects of the Russian Federation (for certificates issued by civil registry offices.

Apostille procedure

To affix an apostille, a notary must preliminarily certify your document.

An apostille can be affixed both on the original document and on its copy, which must be properly notarized. However, for some documents (an application, a consent, or Power of Attorney), an apostille is affixed only on the original. In other cases nevertheless, for example, during apostilization of certificates of registration with tax bodies, OGRN certificates (certificates on Primary State Registration Number), Articles of Association of enterprises, as well as documents issued by the former Soviet republics before January 1, 1992, a notarized copy is required.

What if you cannot affix an apostille? Legalization of documents

However, an apostille cannot be affixed on certain types of documents. Such documents primarily include documents on commercial or customs operations, as well as documents issued by diplomatic or consular agents.
If you want to legalize documents that cannot be apostilled, you need to use consular legalization.

The consular legalization procedure is as follows: first, you need to translate the document (usually into English), then notarize the translated copy, and then submit it at the Consulate for legalization.

Our translation agency can also notarize translated copies of your documents for consular legalization.

List of State parties to the Hague Convention that accept apostilled documents:

Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Albania, American Samoa, Antigua and Barbuda, Netherlands Antilles, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba (part of the Netherlands), Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Belarus, Belgium, Bermuda, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, US and British Virgin Islands, Brunei, Vanuatu, UK, Hungary, Venezuela, Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Germany, Guernsey (British territory), Gibraltar, Honduras, Grenada, Greece, Georgia, Guam, Denmark, Jersey, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Israel, India, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Spain, Cape Verde, Kazakhstan, Cayman Islands, Cyprus, China, Aomen (Macau), Hong Kong (Xianggang), China, Colombia, Republic of Korea, Cook Islands, Latvia, Lesotho, Liberia, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Mauritius, Mayotte, Macedonia, Malawi, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montserrat, Isle of Man, Namibia, Netherlands, Niue, New Zealand, New Caledonia , Norway, Panama, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Reunion, Romania, Russia, Salvador, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Swaziland, St. Helena, Northern Mariana Islands, Seychelles, St. Pierre and Miquelon, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, USA, Suriname, Turks and Caicos Islands, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, Wallis and Futuna, Fiji, Finland, Falkland Islands (Malvinas), France, French Polynesia, Croatia, Montenegro, Czech Republic, Sweden, Switzerland, Ecuador, Estonia, South Africa, Japan.


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