General questions of legalization of documents

According to the legislation of the Russian Federation the documents issued in another country can be used (can be accepted by the Russian bodies and organizations) only with legalization

 Attention! The legalization of foreign documents and the recognition of foreign education are different procedures. 
The legalization of documents is carried out for a lawful use of the foreign document in another country.
The recognition of education is carried out for providing the rights for study and (or) work.

A number of certain formal procedures for giving the document validity on the territory of other country for the purpose of representing it in official bodies of other state is called legalization. There are 2 types of legalizations: 

  • Consular legalization. 
    This procedure is carried out in 2 stages:
    1. witnessing of documents by competent authorities of foreign affairs (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) of the country of issue of the document (depending on legislative requirements of the country of issue: generally the original, in some countries - copies)  – the corresponding stamps with the indication of the position and the signature of the assuring person are put down;
    2. witnessing of documents by consular services of the Russian Federation (consulate or embassy of the Russian Federation) in the country of issue of the document– the corresponding stamps with the indication of the position and the signature of the assuring person are put down.
  • «Apostille» – a  simplified legalization procedure.
    The “Apostille” stamp on the official document, proceeding from bodies and organizations of member countries of the Hague convention of 1961, which abolishes the requirement of consular legalization of foreign official documents:

    1. is put down on the original of the document or on a separate sheet, which is attached to the document and could be made in official language of the body which is giving it out;
    2. is put down by competent authorized bodies of the country of issue of the document (example, State Secretary, Department of Education, Ministry of Education, educational institutions and others).

Don’t confuse the legalization procedure with the legal witnessing of document copies! The legal witnessing of document copies and document translations in the Russian Federation according to the civil legislation is carried out by a notary. Copies of translated documents should be attached and filed to the translations certified by the notary.

Without legalization. Documents issued in member countries of the multilateral or bilateral agreements, which abolish the requirement of legalization of documents, are accepted without legalization. List of countries, with which the Russian Federation have signed international agreements, that abolish the legalization procedure:

Bilateral agreements:

  1. Albania (Republic of Albania);
  2. Algeria (People's Democratic Republic of Algeria);
  3. Argentina (Argentine Republic);
  4. Bosnia and Herzegovina;
  5. Bulgaria (Republic of Bulgaria);
  6. China (People's Republic of China);
  7. Croatia (Republic of Croatia);
  8. Cuba (Republic of Cuba);
  9. Cyprus (Republic of Cyprus);
  10. Czech Republic;
  11. Egypt (Arab Republic of Egypt);
  12. Estonia (Republic of Estonia);
  13. Finland (Republic of Finland);
  14. Greece (Hellenic Republic);
  15. Hungary;
  16. India (Republic of India);
  17. Iran (Islamic Republic of Iran);
  18. Iraq (Republic of Iraq);
  19. Italy (Italian Republic);
  20. Korea, North (Democratic People's Republic of Korea);
  21. Latvia (Republic of Latvia);
  22. Lithuania (Republic of Lithuania);
  23. Macedonia (Republic of Macedonia);
  24. Mongolia;
  25. Montenegro;
  26. Poland (Republic of Poland);
  27. Romania (Romanian People's Republic);
  28. Serbia (Republic of Serbia);
  29. Slovakia (Slovak Republic);
  30. Slovenia (Republic of Slovenia);
  31. Spain (Kingdom of Spain);
  32. Tunisia (Tunisian Republic);
  33. Vietnam (Socialist Republic of Vietnam);
  34. Yemen, South (People's Democratic Republic of Yemen).

The convention on legal assistance and legal relations 
in civil, family and criminal matters (22.01.1993):

  1. Armenia (Republic of Armenia);
  2. Azerbaijan (Azerbaijan Republic);
  3. Belarus (Republic of Belarus);
  4. Georgia;
  5. Kazakhstan (Republic of Kazakhstan);
  6. Kyrgyzstan (Kyrgyz Republic);
  7. Moldova (Republic of Moldova);
  8. Russia (Russian Federation);
  9. Tajikistan (Republic of Tajikistan);
  10. Turkmenistan;
  11. Ukraine;
  12. Uzbekistan (Republic of Uzbekistan).


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