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Judicial authentication and legalisation


Documents issued in one Country and intended for use in another Country must be authenticated or legalized in order to be recognized as valid in the foreign Country.

Authenticating a translation involves officially certifying before a Court Register that the text in the target language is an accurate translation of the source language text. By this swearing process the person who has produced the translation formally takes responsibility for it.

Authentication is required for contracts, lawyers and notaries' deeds, diplomas, registry office documents, Chamber of Commerce certificates, international adoption documents and so on, to give the translation full validity in the country of destination.

Normally, Italian Courts do not accept translations where Italian is not the source or target language. In these cases, the original has to be translated into Italian and then into the target language (e.g. translations from English to Italian and from Italian to Russian). Both translations have to be authenticated.

In some cases, as well as authentication legalisation.

Notarial services for foreigners in Italy

- Legalization

Legalization is indispensable for a foreign public document to be valid in Italy.
It consists only of the official certification - by the competent Italian consular or diplomatic authority abroad - of the legal status of the public official (or functionary) who has signed the document and the authenticity of his signature. If the document is issued by a foreign authority in Italy, it must be legalized by the Prefect in the district in which the foreign authority is located. Legalization, on the other hand, does not guarantee the validity or force of the document in its country of origin, and in this sense it is much less than a notarial certification, in that legalization (like an Apostille) entails no check on or acceptance of the content of the document. Lack of legalization, then, means that the document (though valid and with legal force in its country of origin) is not legally valid in Italy and may not be used by a notary. In particular, a foreign public document is not valid as such but merely as an unauthenticated private document. If an Italian document must be used abroad, legalization - if requested by the foreign authorities - must be done by the Procurator of the Republic at the Tribunal in whose jurisdiction the notary is located who receives or authenticates the document. The signature of the Procurator of the Republic, in its turn, is legalized by the foreign Consulate responsible for that locality. Legalization is not necessary when the country from which the foreign public document was issued is a signatory to the Hague Convention of 5/10/1961 regarding apostilles, or a bi- or multi-lateral international convention that obviates the need for it. The Brussels Convention of 1987 on the exemption from apostilles in relations among countries of the European Union has not yet been ratified by all countries in the Union, and is therefore in force only among a number of them: for now only in Belgium, Denmark, France, Ireland and Italy.

- Apostille

Apostille is a simplified, but absolutely rigid, form of legalization. It is valid in all the countries that have signed the Hague Convention of 5 October 1961 and replaces legalization amongst those countries alone.
Like legalization, an Apostille may be indispensable for a foreign public document to be valid in Italy.
Like legalization, an Apostille consists of the certification of the legal status of the public official (or functionary) who has signed the document and the authenticity of his seal or stamp. It does not guarantee the validity or force of the document in its country of origin. Each signatory country indicates which authorities are responsible for issuing the Apostille. As far as Italy is concerned: notarial and judicial documents and those attesting marital status are certified by the Procurator of the Republic at the Tribunals in whose jurisdictions the documents are created. For administrative documents (signature of the mayor etc.), instead, it is the responsibility of the Prefect of the place in which the document is issued. An Apostille is not necessary when the country of origin of the foreign public document is a signatory to a bi- or multi-lateral international convention that obviates the need for it. 

Legalisation of documents (Apostille) for Russia

  1. Apostille is always attached in that country the state authorities of which issued it. If a document is issued or made outside the Russian Federation, its legalization in Russia is not possible.
  2. An Apostille is not required if Russia and the country where you plan to submit the document have a bilateral agreement cancelling the requirement for legalisation.
  3. In the majority of cases, an Apostille is attached to notary certified copies of documents (birth certificates, death certificates, wedding certificates, divorce certificates, diplomas, etc. as well as to copies of legal entity incorporation documents - Article of Incorporation, Memorandum of Incorporation, contracts, Tax Authority Registration Certificates).
  4. In the majority of cases, a document to be submitted in another country/state will need to be translated (e.g. translations from Italian or English to Russian).

There are two other types of document legalisation: consular legalisation and legalisation in the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation.

Consular legalization in Russia

Where a state is not a signatory to the Hague Convention, consular legalisation is required. This is a more complicated procedure than simply attaching the apostille as it requires the document to be certified by the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, with further certification in the consular office of the respective country in the Russian Federation. Consular legalization makes your document valid only in the territory of the state for which the consular office attaches its stamp.

Legalization in the Russian Federation Chamber of Trade and Commerce

Commercial documents (contracts, invoices, bill of lading, etc.) are not subject to either consular legalization nor apostillisation. However such documents may be legalized only by the Chamber of Trade and Commerce, with further legalization in a consular office of the respective country.

Apostille in Russia

Attachment of an “Apostille” stamp (such procedure is also called “simplified legalisation” or “apostillisation ") is used for legalising documents to be submitted in countries which are signatories of the Hague Convention of 5 October 1961. Upon attachment of an Apostille the document attains legal force in all such countries including the Russian Federation.

Since January 29, 2010, an Apostille attachment is subject to state duty. The Apostille in Russia is issued by territorial bodies of the Ministry of Justice and other bodies with executive power (e.g. the Federal Agency for Education of the Russian Federation).

When translating an Apostille stamp it is important to follow the standard format used in the country where the target language is a state language.

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