Guide on the requirements for the Apostille and how you can get your Apostille in Italy.
The Apostille in Italy is dedicate to those documents issued by or to be validated in Countries that signed the Hague Convention (signed on 5th October 1961). These documents can in fact be affixed with the Apostille stamp.
Table of contents
- What is an Apostille?
- Documents that require Apostille
- The Apostille stamp
- State Members that have signed the Hague Convention
- When is the Apostille in Italy not applicable
- Jurisdiction bodies for the Apostille
- Difference between Apostille and legalization
- Regulatory Framework
- Support for Apostille in Italy
- Book a call
- Get a quote
1. What is an Apostille?
The Apostille is a special stamp that certifies the legal effectiveness of a document. It also certifies the legal effectiveness of the Official who signs it (certificates, copiets etc.).
The Apostille is recognised in all the States that have signed the Hague Convention.
Moreover, since 2006 the electronic Apostille Programme (e-APP) supports the electronic issuance and verification of Apostilles around the World.
You can find out more here about the current list of operational e-Registers.
Find out about the Implementation Chart of the e-APP, which identifies the Competent Authorities that have implemented one or both of the e-APP components.
2. Documents that require Apostille
The Apostille is a type of legalization required for several processes, such as:
- Permissions to work abroad and, in general, immigration processes;
- Incorporations of companies in other countries;
- Admissions to educational institutions abroad;
- Local registrations and or civil acts like marriage.
3. The Apostille Stamp
Apostille stamps can be put on the original documents such as:
- Official documents issued by educational institutions, such as: degree certificates, diplomas, diploma transcripts and others;
- Certificates issued by archival institutions;
- Certificates of health status;
- Certificates issued by the Ministries of Internal Affairs, as well as other official documents;
- Documents issued by judiciary bodies and courts, as well as documents issued by notaries;
- Certificates issued by registry offices (birth, death, marriage, divorce certificates, incorporation documents of legal entities).
Moreover, the Apostille Convention requires all Apostilles to be numbered consecutively, with individual numbers applied to each Apostille issued.
Each Apostille contains a seal and 10 mandatory references:
- name of country from which the document emanates,
- name of person signing the document,
- the capacity in which the person signing the document has acted,
- the name of the authority that has affixed the seal or stamp (in the case of unsigned documents),
- place of certification
- date of certification,
- the authority issuing the certificate,
- number of certificate,
- seal or stamp of authority issuing certificate,
- signature of authority issuing certificate.
4. State Members that have signed the Hague Convention
Among the countries that have signed the Hague Convention there are:
- All EU member states;
- Other countries such as: Albania, Argentina, Australia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, FYR of Macedonia, Georgia, Honduras, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Israel, Japan, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Namibia, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Oman, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Republic of Moldova, Russian Federation, San Marino, Serbia, South Africa, South Korea, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay, USA, Venezuela.
Thanks to the agreement, it is not necessary for the documents issued by any of the above-mentioned countries that must be presented to another country signatory of the convention, to be legalized at the Diplomatic or Consular Representations, thus speeding up and simplifying the legalization process.
Find out more about the full list of all countries which have signed the Hague Convention, as well as details on the designated competent authorities, their contact details and other practical information.
5. When is the Apostille in Italy not applicable
The Apostille in Italy is not applicable in cases where the Countries involved have not yet signed the Hague Convention. It is usually necessary to analyze each case based on the specific document to legalize and eventually submit the final legalization at the Embassy/Consulate of the Destination Country in Italian.
For further information on the matter, have a look at our dedicated article on the Consular Legalization of Italian documents.
6. Jurisdiction bodies for the Apostille in Italy
Every country has a dedicated office appointed to manage the legalization procedure.
In Italy, the responsible for taking care of the legalization of documents is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Depending on the office that has issued a specific document, the Ministry delegates to the Public Prosecutor’s Office at the Courts and the Prefectures in the legalization process.
The Public Prosecutor’s Office at the Courts are responsible for legalizing acts signed by Notaries or Chancellor’s Office Functionaries.
The Prefectures, instead, are responsible for legalizing documents signed by other Italian Authorities, such as Registry Office Functionaries or schooling institutions.
7. Difference between Apostille and Legalization
If the country you are presenting documents to is not part of the Hague Convention, the standard legalization process is required. In this case, the process is longer as it requires both a preliminary verification by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its delegated offices and then a further verification by the Diplomatic or Consular Representations of the country where the documents must be used.