Legalization is a process that gives legal validity to a document in a different country to the one in which it was originally issued.
It’s often confused with asseveration, because both processes share the same aim: to ensure that a document is legally recognized abroad.
In reality, however, legalization and asseveration take place at different levels and stages of the certification process.
Asseveration refers to the content of the document, in that the translator certifies the veracity of their translation and its loyalty to the original text. As such, it represents the first step in obtaining a certified translation with legal validity overseas.
By contrast, legalization validates the signature and title of the public official who signs and seals the folder containing the original paper copy of the document and the translation. It represents the second stage in the certification process for documents destined for use in other countries.
Regardless of the reason, if you require a document valid for overseas use, you will need both asseveration and legalization services.
But where do you go for legalization? Let’s take a look together.
Where legalization of documents for use abroad takes place
The legalization of documents for use abroad can only occur at specific offices in the country in which the documents were issued.
In Italy, this changes based on the type of document requiring legalization.
For documents issued by judicial authorities, such as courts or notaries, the Procura della Repubblica [Public Prosecutor’s Office] is the body responsible for legalization.
For documents issued by other authorities, such as state bodies including public, government, school and university authorities, you’ll need to visit the Prefettura [Prefecture].
However, if the country in which you want to certify the legal validity of a document is not a signatory to the 1961 Apostille Convention, which abolished the need to legalize foreign public documents, you’ll need to go to the consulate. The consulate will provide the seal of authentication necessary to finalize the legalization process.
Now that we’ve seen the relevant entities that form part of the legalization process, let’s look at the actual process by which a translation is legalized for overseas use.
How to legalize translations for overseas use
To legalize a document, the first thing to do is make an appointment with the relevant office.
The public official there will then apply a seal to the bottom or rear of the document.
The seal of legalization certifies the title of the public official who signs the document, as well as the authenticity of their signature.
For the document to achieve full validity overseas, the document needs to feature the first and last name of the public official applying the signature, his or her title and the date and location of the legalization process.
Clearly, the legalization process is a delicate one, encompassing a variety of different stages. Each one requires a high level of attention and competence to avoid mistakes, delays or even criminal liability.
It’s for this reason that Way2Global draws on its wealth of experience to offer clients who require legalization a truly comprehensive service.
Thanks to our team of project managers, experienced translators scattered across Italy and around the world and our network of correspondent offices in key global locations, we’re capable of overseeing the entire process that goes into giving a document legal validity overseas.
From translation to asseveration, legalization and consularization, we guarantee a complete, quick, high-quality service.
Need to legalize a document for overseas use? Contact us!