Apostille: definition and obtainment steps

How it works: definition, documents that require it, States that use this type of stamp and comparisons with standard legalization process

The documents issued by or to be validated in the countries which took part in the Hague Convention (signed on 5th October 1961), can be affixed with Apostille.

Table of contents

  1. What is an Apostille?
  2. Documents that require Apostille
  3. State Members that have signed the Hague Convention
  4. Jurisdiction bodies
  5. Difference between Apostille and legalization
  6. Regulatory Framework
  7. We can help you get your Apostille
  8. Book a call
  9. Get a quotation for your Apostille


1. What does Apostille mean?

The Apostille is a special stamp, certifying the legal effectiveness of the document and of the Official who has set his/her signature on it (certificates, copies, etc). It is recognized in all the States that have signed the Hague Convention.

Since 2006 it has been possible to support the electronic issuance and verification of Apostilles around the world through the electronic Apostille Programme (e-APP).

Find out more 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

This kind of legalization is required for several types of 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.


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).


3. 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.

4. Jurisdiction bodies

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 the legalization process. The Public Prosecutor’s Office at the Courts is 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.

5. What is the difference between Apostille and Standard Legalization process?

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.

If the country you are presenting documents to is not part of the Hague Convention, the standard legalization process is required.

Arletti & Partners can support you in obtaining an Apostille or a standard legalization stamp on your documents and/or requesting new documents if required.



Regulatory Framework:

How we can help you get your documents legalized

Arletti & Partners can support you in obtaining an Apostille or a standard legalization stamp on your documents and/or requesting new documents, if required.

The process can be summarized in 3 easy steps:

  1. First, you have to send the original documents to Studio A&P (in some cases, however, copies of the documents are enough);
  2. After receiving the documents, we will deposit them on your behalf at the competent authorities’ offices;
  3. Finally, once they are ready, Studio A&P sends you back the legalized documents.


The timing for apostille a document is around one week, depending on the province.

On the other hand, the timing for the consulate legalization, instead, is around two weeks, depending on the competent consulate.

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If you would like to read more about legalization types and our process, please refer to our dedicated webpage: Legalization and Apostille.

Otherwise, feel free to fill in the form below to receive a quotation and apply to legalize your documents.

Please Note: fees for legalization of documents vary based on your needs. Prices start from a minimum of €100,00 and increase based on:

  • Your Country;
  • Translation;
  • Type of document;
  • and other.