If you would like for your document to have legal effect in a foreign country, it is not necessary, in most places, to carry out a specific procedure to give the document legal weight. To legalize documents is to establish their validity, certify and authenticate them using the seals and signatures of officials indicating their compliance with the laws of the country of origin.

There are several ways of completing this procedure.

To get a translated document notarized is to meet all of the requirements that are relevant in order to make the document official. Getting a certified translation means that the notary establishes the identity of a translator and his or her professional credentials, and verifies that he or she has the appropriate educational background. After verifying these factors, the translator’s signature  becomes certified. A translator  by his signature guarantees that a translation is identical to the original document, and the notary confirms the authenticity of the signature and the specialist’s qualification.

A notarized document is legally binding on the territory of the Russian Federation.

An apostille is a special mark or stamp, which according to the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents of October 5, 1961, is stamped on official documents that are issued by one state that is a member state of the convention before they are sent to another state which is a member of the convention.

An apostille certifies "the authenticity of the signature, the capacity in which the person signing the document, and, where appropriate, the identity of the seal or stamp which the document bears " (Article 5 of the Convention).
The Convention applies to the following documents:

  • Documents which are issued by an authority or official connected with the jurisdiction of the state, including those issued by a prosecutor or clerk of court, or court orders and rulings;
  • Administrative documents (such as marriage certificates);
  • Notarized documents;
  • Official notes: registration marks, visas, and verified signatures on documents that are not signed by a notary.

The Convention does not apply to the following documents:

  • Documents that are not official (i.e. not issued by the government and non-notarized);
  • Documents which have been executed by diplomatic or consular agents;
  • Administrative documents dealing directly with commercial or customs operations (except charters, incorporation documents, patents and other documents issued by the authorities).

The Russian Ministry of Justice authorizes all of the official organs of the Russian Federation to use an apostille "with the exception of original documents that are issued by law-enforcement agencies, prosecutors and the State Archives, which bear the apostilles of their respective agencies." (Letter of the Ministry of Justice of August 7th, 1992, N. 7-2/99)

Consular legalization is a procedure that legitimizes the use of a contract in a country that is not a party to the Hague Convention of 5 October, 1961.

This method of legalization is more complicated than getting a document apostilled, and is carried out in several stages:

  • The attestation of a notary is obtained (along with a translation and the certified translator's signature);
  • The attestation of a Russian Ministry of Justice notary is obtained;
  • A printed attestation is obtained from the Ministry of Justice, along with the signature of an authorized official from the Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation;
  • A final attestation is obtained at the consulate of the foreign country in which one wishes to submit the document.

If you’d like to know more, you can contact us to discuss details by writing to us or by phone at +7 (495) 212-21-75.