Legalisation of documents (apostille)
Legalization is a formal procedure used to obtain legal force for a document (education diploma, certificate, licence, etc.) in another country or state. The procedure is used to certify the authenticity of a signature and the authority of a person who has signed such document and, if required, the authenticity of a seal or stamp attached to such a document. The ultimate purpose of apostille in Russia is for the submission of a document to the authorities of another country/state.
Brief instruction for document legalization in Russia:
1. Apostille is always attached in that country the state authorities of which issued it. If a document is issued or made outside the Russian Federation, its legalization in Russia is not possible.
2. An apostille is not required if Russia and the country where you plan to submit the document have a bilateral agreement cancelling the requirement for legalisation.
3. In the majority of cases, an apostille is attached to notary certified copies of documents (birth certificates, death certificates, wedding certificates, divorce certificates, diplomas, etc. as well as to copies of legal entity incorporation documents – Article of Incorporation, Memorandum of Incorporation, contracts, Tax Authority Registration Certificates).
4. In the majority of cases, a document to be submitted in another country/state will need to be translated.
There are two other types of document legalisation: consular legalisation and legalisation in the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation.
Apostille in Russia
Attachment of an “Apostille” stamp (such procedure is also called “simplified legalisation” or “apostillisation ") is used for legalising documents to be submitted in countries which are signatories of the Hague Convention of 5 October 1961. Upon attachment of an apostille the document attains legal force in all such countries including the Russian Federation. The apostille in Russia is issued by territorial bodies of the Ministry of Justice and other bodies with executive power (e.g. the Federal Agency for Education of the Russian Federation).
When translating an apostille stamp it is important to follow the standard format used in the country where the target language is a state language.
Consular legalization in Russia
Where a state is not a signatory to the Hague Convention, consular legalisation is required. This is a more complicated procedure than simply attaching the apostille as it requires the document to be certified by the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, with further certification in the consular office of the respective country in the Russian Federation. Consular legalization makes your document valid only in the territory of the state for which the consular office attaches its stamp.
Legalization in the Russian Federation Chamber of Trade and Commerce
Commercial documents (contracts, invoices, bill of lading, etc.) are not subject to either consular legalization nor apostillisation. However such documents may be legalized only by the Chamber of Trade and Commerce, with further legalization in a consular office of the respective country.