Apostille and legalization of documents

Legalization is confirmation of the powers, authenticity of signature and in some cases seal or stamp of the official having issued the document.

Within the territory of CIS neither legalization nor apostille is required submitting the foreign documents – Minsk Convention dated January 22, 1993 is in force (with amendments dated March 28, 1997). 

There are two types of documents preparation: 

  • affixing of “Apostille” stamp
  • legalization (the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, consulate)

Apostille – is a special stamp affixed to the official documents issued by the authorities of the countries members of the Hague Convention of 1961. Apostille certifies signature on the document and the authenticity of stamp put on the document.

In other cases the document must go through the procedure of legalization in the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the consulate of the destination country. 

The procedure of affixing of a special stamp “Apostille” (hereinafter – Apostille) for use of the Ukrainian documents in foreign countries. 

Apostilization – is a procedure replacing legalization in those countries that joined the Hague Convention ebolishing requirement for legalization of foreign official documents. In the countries members of this Convention the documents are not legalized. The apostille is affixed to documents drawn up in the country member of the Convention. 

Apostille – is a certification by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Education of a signature of the official having signed or officially certified any official document drawn up within the territory of this country.

If apostille is affixed to the document such documents don’t need legalization.

Apostille is affixed for all countries except for Germany, Denmark, the United Arab Emirates, Libya, Canada, Brazil and some other countries. The procedure of legalization is applied for these countries.

Note that in our country apostille is affixed to the following documents:

  • to the documents issued by the judicial authorities of Ukraine;
  • to the documents issued by prosecutor’s offices of Ukraine, bodies of justice;
  • to the administrative documents;
  • to the documents on education and academic degrees;
  • to the documents drawn by the state and private notaries;

Though apostille can not be affixed to the documents issued by the foreign diplomatic institutions of Ukraine and on the administrative documents dealing directly with commercial or customs operations. Also apostille is not affixed to the originals, copies and photocopies of passport documents, military record cards, labor books, permits for carrying weapons, certificates on registration of vehicles (technical passports), identity cards, laws and regulations, explanations and legal opinions concerning their application, documents in form of correspondence.

The originals of the official documents issued by establishments of the former union republics within the USSR can not be accepted within the territory of Ukraine for affixing apostille. Apostille can be affixed to the copies of these documents certified properly within the territory of Ukraine.

According to the decree of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine on granting of authority for affixing apostilles set by the Convention which eliminates the requirement of legalization of the foreign official documents since 18.01.2003

No. 61, apostille is affixed:

Ministry of Education and Science – to the official documents issued by the educational institutions, state authorities, enterprises, establishments and organizations relating to education and science. These documents are the following: diplomas on education, certificates on awarding academic degrees, certificates, certificates from educational institutions, curricula and others.

Ministry of Justice of Ukraineto the documents issued by the authorities of justice and courts and also on the documents drawn by the notaries of Ukraine. In particular, certificates and references issued by civil registry offices, documents issued or certified by the notaries, judicial decisions and certificates.

 Ministry of Foreign Affairs – to the certificates issued by the archival institutions of Ukraine, health certificates (under condition of their certification by the official seal of the Oblast Health Department ), certificates issued by the authorities of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, and also to other official documents.

There is a rule providing that the officials of the competent authorities must have samples of signatures of persons who issue or can issue the official documents and also samples of seals and stamps prints which are affixed or can be affixed to the relevant documents. It is necessary for their verification with the signatures and prints of seals and stamps on the documents, submitted for apostilization. If a competent authority has no sample of the appropriate signature, seal or stamp print apostille can be affixed only upon receiving of such sample. 

Nota bene: the documents issued by civil registry office (birth, death, marriage certificates etc., archive certificate, excerpt) should be legalized in Oblast Department of Justice of the oblast civil registry office in located in. For instance, Kyiv Oblast Department of Justice is located in the city of Kyiv, Odessa Oblast Department of Justice in the city of Odessa, Lviv in the city of Lviv. The documents issued by the civil registry office are apostilized in the Ministry of Justice only after Oblast Department. 

What is the double and single apostille? 

For instance, for marriage of the citizens of Ukraine in the territory of Switzerland the notary Statement on marital status should be apostilized. Therefore the apostille is affixed by the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine to the original of the mentioned statement, than the translation is done which is notarized and is submitted to apostilization to the Ministry of Justice of Ukriane again. It is a double procedure of apostilization which is required by many countries members of the Convention in particular the Netherlands, Portugal, France, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway and other countries.

Meanwhile for the documents to be used, for instance, within the territory of the USA, the apostilization only to the originals of these documents is enough. In this case the apostille is affixed to the document original, than a notarized translation is filed to a duly certified copy of a document. This is a single procedure of apostilization. In some cases depending on the purpose of documents processing after single apostille the documents should be submitted to the embassy of the country these documents will be used in the territory of. For instance, the Republic of Italy. 

IMPORTANT!!! All the documents issued within the territories of the foreign countries for use within the territory of Ukraine should be apostilized by the state authorities of the foreign country. 

The procedure of apostilization for documents issued by the bodies of the Education System of Ukraine should also be mentioned.

School certificates, diplomas, addendums to certificates and diplomas of state sample, certificates and academic titles – such documents are subject to apostilization in the original in the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine then the translation of document into the desired language and notarization are done, and the apostille is affixed to the translations at the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine. 

The procedure of document legalization for use in foreign countries 

Legalization – is bringing of documents into the legal form that corresponds to the law a foreign country and is recognized by the state authorities of this country.

Legalization of documents is required almost always when the document should be submitted to the official bodies of the other country, –  the document issued, for instance, in Ukraine, has legal force only within the territory of Ukraine where it can be fully used but legalization is required for submission to the official authorities of the other country.

Unlike the procedure of apostilization the legalization of document is carried out in order to submit it to the official authorities of the foreign country which is not a member of the Hague Convention dated the 5th of October 1961. What it means? 

If the country is not in the list of countries members of the Hague Convention –

THE PROCEDURE OF LEGALIZATION IS APPLIED.

(The list of countries members of the Hague Convention is attached) 

The procedure of consular legalization can be done both for originals and notarized copies of documents. It can be both personal documents of citizens (birth, death, marriage and divorce certificates, diplomas, addendums, statements, permits, etc.) and documents of the legal entities (statutes, articles of incorporation, certificates of registration, registration, etc.).

This type of legalization is carried out in the authorities of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine and than in the destination country consulate on the territory of Ukraine. Only after passing all these three stages the document is completely ready for submission to the official authorities of the destination country. 

Ministry of Foreign Affairs legalizes the following documents: 

  • originals of the official documents of the new Ukrainian sample issued by the state civil registry offices, certified by oblast departments of justice in the oblast they were issued in, Department of Justice of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, City Department of Justice for the cities of Kyiv and Sevastopol, Central and Livoberezhnyi Civil Registry Offices of the city of Kyiv (the documents of 1991 sample are legalized the ones that depict the coat of arms of UKRAINE, which were issued after the collapse of the Soviet Union);
  • certificates issued by the authorities of the Ministry of Internal Affairs;
  • medical certificates originals;
  • certificate originals that were issued by the foreign Embassies within the territory of Ukraine to foreign citizens who marry in Ukraine (such kind of certificate is presented to the civil registry office for marriage registration).

Ministry of Justice legalizes the following documents:

  • originals of documents issued by the notaries and courts;
  • notarized copies, translations and other documents certified or issued by the state, private notaries (notarized copies, notarized translations, certificates on place of residence after the notary certification of a true and accurate copy to original).

After the legalization of documents in the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine official documents should be certified by the diplomatic mission of the country they will be used in (for instance, if the documents are drawn for Germany after the legalization at the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs they should be legalized in the Consulate of Germany). 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine doesn’t legalize documents issued on the territories of the foreign countries. Such documents must be legalized by the Consulate of Ukraine in the country of document origin. For instance, if the document is issued within the territory of Germany and it is necessary to present it to the state authorities of Ukraine this document should be legalized within the territory of Germany in the Ukrainian Consulate (Munich, Bonn, Berlin, Frankfurt am Main). 

The process of legalization can be divided by documents into 2 variants: 

1 variant – legalization of the document at oblast or city department of justice, than at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, than the document is translated into the desired language and notarized (all the documents issued by civil registry offices). 

2 variant – the notarized copy of the document is made, this copy is legalized in the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, than the document is translated into the desired language and notarized. 

Note that in the first case the documents are legalized in the original and in the second case – in the form of notarized copy. 

Nota bene: the documents issued by civil registry office (birth, death, marriage certificates etc., excerpts) should be legalized in Oblast Department of Justice of the oblast civil registry office in located in. For instance, Kyiv Oblast Department of Justice is located in the city of Kyiv, Odessa Oblast Department of Justice in the city of Odessa, Lviv in the city of Lviv. The civil registry office’s documents are legalized in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Justice only after Oblast Department. 

NOTA BENE:

Legalization is affixed upon availability of a power of attorney.

Apostille is affixed without a power of attorney for the natural entities and upon availability of a power of attorney for the name of our employee – for the legal entities.

Apostille and legalization of documents is affixed upon availability of the original documents or their notarized copies.

Apostille is affixed upon condition that the country is indicated in the list of countries members of the Hague Convention (see below).

The list of countries that joined the Hague Convention which

eliminates the requirement of legalization for foreign public documents,

1961 (Apostille)

  • Australia
  • Austria
  • *Azerbaijan
  • *Albania
  • Andorra
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Argentina
  • The Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Belgium (in relations with Ukraine the Convention is in force since July 05, 2004)
  • *Belarus
  • *Bulgaria
  • *Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Botswana
  • Brunei
  • Venezuela
  • *Armenia
  • Germany (since July 22, 2010
  • Honduras
  • Grenada
  • Greece
  • *Georgia
  • Denmark
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • *Estonia
  • Israel
  • India
  • Ireland
  • Iceland
  • Spain
  • Italy
  • *Kazakhstan
  • China, Hong Kong
  • China, Macau
  • Cyprus
  • Colombia
  • Korea
  • *Latvia
  • Lesotho
  • *Lithuania
  • Liberia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Luxemburg
  • Mauritius
  • *Macedonia
  • Malawi
  • Malta
  • The Marshall Islands
  • Mexico
  • *Moldova
  • Monaco
  • Namibia
  • The Netherlands
  • Niue
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Cook Islands
  • Panama
  • South Africa
  • *Poland
  • Portugal
  • *The Russian Federation
  • *Romania
  • Samoa
  • San Marino
  • Swaziland
  • Seychelles
  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • St. Lucia
  • *Serbia
  • *The Slovak Republic
  • Slovenia
  • The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • The United States of America
  • Suriname
  • Tonga
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Turkey
  • Hungary
  • Ukraine
  • **FR Germany (consular legalization is applicable)
  • Fiji
  • Finland
  • Croatia
  • *The Czech Republic
  • *Montenegro
  • Switzerland
  • Sweden
  • Japan

 

 

 

Nota bene: *the countries Ukraine has multilateral agreements with, which contain provisions on the recognition of the official documents without their additional certification

*The Federal Republic of Germany expressed its objection to Ukraine’s accession to the Convention therefore the requirement of consular legalization is applied to the official documents

 

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