Requirements for documents authentication

To be valid in Italy, documents issued by foreign authorities, must be issued by less than 6 months, be legalised/apostilled and translated into Italian. If the document has to be used abroad, once translated and asseverated, the legalisation/apostille is normally required also for the translation.

At the same time, Italian documents in order to be accepted in foreign countries must go through a similar process.
Legalization and apostille don’t have an expiry date and for this reason there is no need to have a second legalisation/apostille on the same document. However the document to be legalised and apostilled should have a validity accordingly to the country where it must be used.

Apostille is a note on the original foreign certificate done by the foreign authority, needed to prove the legal role of the foreign Public Officer who signed the document, that the signature is authentic and that the seal or stamp on the document is authentic. The apostille can be obtained only for countries subscribing Hague convention.

Who can apostille documents in Italy:
– For court orders and notary acts: prosecutor of the Republic at the law court in the jurisdiction where the document was issued
– For all the other administrative acts: prefecture in the jurisdiction where the document was issue, President of the Region (only for Valle d’Aosta), Government Commissioner for the cities of Trento and Bolzano

Who can apostille documents abroad:
Relevant authority indicated accordingly to Hague convention (normally is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Legalisation consist in putting a stamp on the original document and is needed to prove the legal role of the Public Officer who signed the document and that the signature is authentic, but there is no check about the content of the document.

Who can legalise documents in Italy:
– Documents issued in Italy to be valid abroad: prefecture
– Documents issued by a foreign consulate based in Italy: prefecture
– Acts signed by notaries, certified translators, clerks of the court, bailiffs: prosecutor of the Republic at the law court in the jurisdiction where the document was issued The signature of the prosecutor of the republic should be issued by the foreign consulate in Italy.
– Documents related to schools (excepted universities): a further authentication by the ex superintendency should be needed

Who can legalise documents abroad:
The legalization of signatures on acts/documents issued abroad and to be used in Italy, is done by the Italian consulate in the country where the document was issued.

There are several conventions still in force, with some advantages for some countries/documents:
– Athens convention: countries subscribing this convention don’t need legalization for documents related to civil status and residency
– Budapest convention: states that legalization is not needed for documents issued by Hungarian administrative offices
– Brusselles convention: abrogate the legalization in Eu countries of notary acts, administrative documents, documents issued by a legal authority, acts drafted by consular officers to be used in another country subscribing the same convention
– Hague convention: countries subscribing this convention, abrogate legalization and require apostille
– London convention: states that legalization is not needed for documents issued by Embassies and Consulates of countries subscribing this convention
– Paris convention: regulates the issuance of extracts of civil status of birth, marriage and death to be used abroad and states that they can be issued in a multilingual format
– Rome convention: abrogates the legalization of act and documents issued by administrative and notary offices in Germany
– Wien convention: allows for the subscribing countries, the issuance of multilingual extracts of birth, marriage and death, with no need to translate and legalize them

Translation and assevaration
Documents to be legalized, if in foreign language, must be translated into Italian and the translation must be certified and stamped as compliant (“traduzione conforme”) with the foreign document.

Who can translate documents in Italy:
– Certified translator listed in Law court list
– Italian notary who can speak the foreign language
Asseveration of translation is done by law court and is an official attestation of the translator, declaring that the translation is corresponding to what is written in the original document. This is needed to make legally valid a document issued in Italy in a foreign language and to be translated into Italian, or to make official a document of another country before the legalization.

Who can translate documents abroad:
– Italian consulate abroad
– Certified translator listed in the Italian consulate list in the country of origin. The signature must be then legalized by the Italian consulate

Should you have any questions, please contact the following:

Veronica Maggioni
Immigration Specialist
Santa Fe Relocation Italy
Tel.: +393483040948

To read more immigration updates, click here

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