9 February 2021

The differences between legalization and apostillation

Categoria: Linguistic Services

Legalization and apostillation are different processes that lead to the same result: giving a document legal validity in a different country to the one in which it was issued.

So how do you go about choosing between these services? The answer is very simple: It depends on the country where the document to be used.

The Apostille Convention of 5 October 1961 replaced traditional legalization with something called an apostille, making the process simpler and quicker.

However, it’s important to remember that not all countries signed on to the convention. As such, before you continue with the apostillation process, it’s essential that you check whether or not the country in question is part of the convention.

If not, you’ll need to go through the standard legalization process. However, if the country is part of the Apostille Convention, you can speed the process up through apostillation.


What apostillation means


The apostillation of a translated document means giving it legal validity in a different country to the one in which it was issued.

A simple translation isn’t sufficient to gain legal recognition in a foreign country. After the translation process, it’s necessary to take specific steps to give legal validity to a document in other countries.

The word “apostille” is a French term used to refer to the seal used to certify the title of an official signing a document and – by consequence – the authenticity of the document itself.

This official seal is recognized internationally, by all countries that have signed on to the Apostille Convention.


The validity of a legalized or apostilled translation abroad


The introduction of apostillation greatly simplified the legalization process for documents issued in Italy that required legal validity abroad.

Before the Apostille Convention, a dual process of legalization was necessary to validate a document for overseas use.

Once a translated document had undergone asseveration, it needed to be validated first by an Italian public authority (public prosecutor for documents issued by judicial authorities, prefecture for other documents), and then by the Italian embassy or consulate in the destination country.

With the introduction of apostillation, however, the dual procedure was replaced by a single system: the application of an apostille.

This reform significantly streamlined and simplified the entire document legalization process, resulting in quicker all-round service.

Unfortunately, if a document requires legal validity in a country that doesn’t form part of the Apostille Convention, apostillation is not an option. In these circumstances, you’ll need to use the old dual legalization process.


At Way2Global, we don’t just offer both the services – we also oversee the entire process to ensure that a document is successfully translated and legally recognized abroad.

Our 30 years’ experience in this field means we know exactly how to handle each request, allowing us to see your document right through from translation to legalization or apostillation.


Need to legalize or apostille a document? Get in touch!


The differences between legalization and apostillation


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