Often, in the context of administrative procedures on an international level, both between European Union countries and between third-party countries, the required documents must be validated or legalized to be used abroad. To simplify this process, some countries have signed conventions; please find below the most relevant :
HAGUE CONVENTION: THE APOSTILLE
On October 5, 1961, several countries signed the Hague Convention, eliminating the requirement for the legalization of foreign documents. Through this Convention, it is sufficient to affix the Apostille to the document issued by one of the contracting countries for it to be valid in the rest of the countries that have subscribed to the Convention.
The Apostille is issued by the authorities of the country issuing the document: in France, “the Court of Appeal,” in the United Kingdom, “The Legalisation Office,” in Spain, the Chamber of Notaries, etc.
This Convention applies to: a) Judicial documents (issued by an authority or a public official, a public prosecutor, a court clerk, etc.). b) Administrative documents (private documents with original certifications such as dates, registers, notarized acts, etc.).
Among the countries that have signed this convention, we can cite, for example: France, Spain, Germany, the United Kingdom, Belgium, the United States, Italy, Monaco, Portugal, etc.
DOCUMENTS EXEMPT FROM APOSTILLE
Over the years, other conventions have been signed to eliminate the Apostille requirement. As a result, there are certain documents that do not need to be legalized or receive the Apostille, such as documents issued by employees of Spanish diplomatic or consular bodies. Here are some examples:
- Athens Convention: Among the countries that have signed it are France and Spain. This Convention stipulates that civil status documents do not need to receive the Apostille.
- Vienna Convention: Signed between several countries, including Germany, Belgium, France, Spain, Switzerland, or Italy. This convention stipulates that multilingual birth, death, or marriage certificates do not need to receive the Apostille.
- London Convention: This convention applies to documents issued by diplomatic or consular agents and also eliminates the requirement for the Apostille. Among others, it has been signed by Germany, France, Belgium, Spain, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, etc.
It is also important to note that if any of the required documents for a procedure or process abroad are not written in the official language of the country, authorities will request a sworn translation. This type of translation must be done by an official translator who certifies that the translation is faithful and accurate to the original document. In Spain, the list of official translators is published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation; you can consult it at the following link: Link to the list.
If you need to validate documents to be used abroad, feel free to turn to our firm for professional advice. We will be delighted to guide you through the process.
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