21 June 2022

When is legalization necessary?

Categoria: Asseveration

Legalization is an additional translation service that is necessary when legal validity must be conferred on a document.

Specifically, legalization is required on two types of occasion: when an Italian document must be presented abroad, or when a document issued by another country must be recognized in Italy.

In both cases, the document is translated before being legalized.

Which documents require legalization?

Legalization may be required for various types of documents, mostly deeds and certificates that must be submitted to public or private institutions.

Vital records are the first group, including the following kinds of certificates:

  • birth
  • civil union
  • marriage
  • death
  • citizenship
  • AIRE (Register of Italians Resident Abroad) registry
  • Residence
  • enjoyment of political rights
  • registering to vote

The second group includes certificates as proof of the following academic qualifications:

  • middle school diploma
  • high school diploma
  • bachelor’s degree
  • master’s degree
  • PhD

The third group consists of notary and judicial deeds.

All these documents commonly require legalization, but the procedure is not mandatory in all countries for the translation to be legally valid.

Which countries is it required for?

Legalization is the procedure for officially certifying the legal qualification of the public official who signs a deed. It is requested to confer legal validity on any of the aforementioned documents, from virtually all countries.

However, to speed up the legalization process, which is normally lengthy and rather complex, an alternative procedure is available, an apostille, which achieves the same purpose, the conferral of legal validity on a document abroad, but in a much shorter time.

With legalization the document must be submitted to the competent authority and signed by a public official, whereas an apostille procedure only requires affixing a stamp or seal called an apostille (hence the name of the service).

However, this procedure is only applicable in Member Countries of the Hague Convention of 5 October 1961: Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbados; Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burundi, Capo Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, eSwatini, Russian Federation, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, Island, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lesotho, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Namibia, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niue, North Macedonia, Norway, Oman, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, The Philippines, Poland, Portugal, United Kingdom, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldavia, Romania, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and Grenadine, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, United States of America, South Africa, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu and Venezuela.

Although the apostille procedure is more streamlined, this does not necessarily make legalization infeasible. It goes without saying that to avoid the risk of mistakes or setbacks, it is best to turn to a professional translation agency. One that knows the ins and outs of the necessary time and resources required to legalize a document, for flawless delivery of the service.

At Way2Global we support our customers every step of the way: from legal translation to legalization. Thanks to our specialized project managers we promptly respond to requests and clarify any doubts customers may have, for rapid, high-quality service.


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    Laura Gori is the Founder and CEO of Way2Global, a women-led translation agency startup with a Benefit ethos. After 30 years at the helm of a small multinational localization company, Laura decided to make a fresh start and founded Way2Global to conduct business in a way that benefits society and the environment, while promoting corporate growth. A fervent advocate of Benefit Corporations and women’s empowerment, Laura takes every opportunity to spread awareness on these issues and contribute to a fairer, more egalitarian and sustainable economy for all.
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