Certifications and Legalizations
THE CERTIFICATION AND LEGALIZATION OF DOCUMENTS
The certification and legalization of a document is carried out by official public institutions by dint of a concluded contract between the translation agency and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Vesta Consult takes care of certification and legalization at all public institutions and foreign embassies. The legalization of a document is divided into several categories.
Legalization with an apostille
The apostille is an official certifying document, which attests the authenticity of a document and the competence of the public institution, which has issued or certified it. The requirement for an apostille on documents is introduced by means of the Hague Convention of 5 October 1961, under which the Republic of Bulgaria is a party. The public institutions, which attach apostilles in Bulgaria are the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Education and Science. The apostille can have whatever varieties: a sticker, attached to a document, a seal put at the end of a document or overleaf, an additional attached/joined sheet of paper and others. It is characteristic of the apostille, that it is at least bilingual. It is drawn up in French language and in the official language of the country, which has attached it (respectively, if this country has more than one official languages-in one of them).
The countries, that have ratified the Hague Convention so far are:
Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brunei, Bulgaria, Great Britain, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Germany, Grenada, Georgia, Greece, Denmark, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Estonia, Israel, India, Ireland, Iceland, Spain, Italy, Kazakhstan, Cyprus, China – only for the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macao, Republic of Cabo/Cape Verde, Columbia, South Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Costa Rica, Latvia, Lesotho, Liberia, Lithuania, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Mauritius, Macedonia, Malawi, Malta, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Namibia, Nicaragua, Niue, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, the Cook Islands, Panama, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, the Russian Federation, Salvador, Independent State of Samoa, San Marino, the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe, Swaziland, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, the Republic of Seychelles, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, the Republic of Suriname, the United States of America, Serbia, Tonga, the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Hungary, Uruguay, the Republic of Fiji, Finland, France, the Netherlands, Honduras, Croatia, Montenegro, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Switzerland, the Republic of South Africa and Japan.
It is important for you to know, that there are public and private documents. Public documents are issued by government ministries, agencies, municipal administration and by a notary public. Private documents are issued by natural and legal persons. Public documents are legalized. Private documents are not legalized.
The documents, issued by Bulgarian public institutions, are valid on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria, but not abroad.
Validity of the documents!
The reason for the legalization of documents is to become legal on the territory of the country for which they are necessary. Over the years, the governments of the Republic of Bulgaria concluded “Legal aid contracts” with some countries, as this facilitated a lot the procedure for the recognition of documents.
When is an apostille not necessary?
Some countries conclude between themselves bilateral legal aid contracts. They are re-signed every year. When there is such concluded contract between countries, the attachment of an apostille is not necessary.
3. Other kinds of certification
These other kinds of certification represent an alleviated procedure for the recognition of documents about civil status. By dint of Vienna Convention on the issue of Multilingual Extracts from Civil Status Records of 08.09.1976, under which the Republic of Bulgaria has been a party since 18.12.2013, one can issue absolutely officially multilingual extracts of documents about civil status. The documents about civil status, originating from Bulgaria, are issued in three languages and it is not necessary for them to be translated. Parties under the above-mentioned Vienna Convention are: Germany, Austria, Belgium, Spain, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Switzerland, Turkey, Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Poland, Montenegro, Moldova, Lithuania, Estonia and Romania.
Whenever a trilingual document, issued under the above-stated Vienna Convention and originating from one of the above-mentioned countries, is presented in our country, it is not necessary to have an APOSTILLE, but it is only translated and the translator’s signature is certified by the competent public official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Please, ask for the issue of a document under the above-mentioned Vienna Convention at a municipality, in order to avoid the translation and legalization of at least these documents!
The price for a legalized document is formed, as the sum of the value/cost of a translation, the state fee for certification and an apostille attached at the relevant public institution and a courier service. The time limits for the legalization of documents are from 1 up to 15 working days, depending on a document, as the longest period is for educational documents.
The documents, intended for abroad, are issued in conformity with bilateral agreements signed between countries and under the “Rules for legalization, certification and translations of documents and other papers” of “Consular Relations” Directorate at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.