Legalize documents through Embassies and Consulates abroad.
Consular legalization is one of the ways to legally certify Italian documents for use abroad. This legalization applies when the destination Country receiving the document is not part of the Hague Convention.
Table of contents
- Definition of consular legalization
- How does the legalization work?
- Which documents can you legalize
- Difference between consular legalization and Apostille
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1. Definition of Consular Legalization
Consular legalization is another valid procedure to certify the legitimacy of Italian documents for use abroad. Certifying papers or acts through consular legalization ensures legitimacy and complete legal standing on a global scale.
This legalization applies when you need to submit an Italian document to a foreign country that is not a signatory to the Hague Convention. Diplomatic representations of the foreign nations, such as embassies and consulates, carry out such function.
Through consular legalization, the signature on your documents by the Chamber of Commerce acquires additional authentication.
Apart from the Hague Convention, there are other conventions that allow the use of documents without legalization. You can have a look here at the list of valid conventions that do not require document legalization.
If you are looking for alternatives to the consular legalization, you might be interested in our guide on the legalization and apostille of Italian documents.
2. How does the Consular Legalization work?
All Italian documents require legal validation for use overseas. When an apostille is not a possibility, you should apply for the legalization of the document at the Consulate in Italy of the destination Country.
The legalization entails legal confirmation of the authority of the person who has signed the document, as well as the authenticity of the signature itself. To complete the process, you must first legalize the original document at the Prefecture or Public Prosecutor’s Office. This depends on the type of document and the organization that issued it.
Then, the document must undergo consular legalization at the embassy of the destination nation in Italy.
2.1 The importance of the translation
Papers issued by foreign authorities must be presented in the original language, legalized, and accompanied by an official translation into Italian verified to comply to the foreign content, in order to be enforceable in Italy.
Unless issued by a country with whom there are international treaties that exempt it from legalization, the translation will also need legalizing.
3. Which documents can be legalized with the Consular legalization?
Among others, the most common cases of Consular legalization apply to:
- Marital or civil status records;
- Invoices for export;
- Registry records;
- Origin certificates;
- Notarial documents for establishing overseas corporations;
- Bilateral agreements for business partnerships.
4. Difference between Consular legalization and Apostille
Apostille is the fastest way to legalize a document and make it valid for foreign countries. In some instances, the Legislation or International Agreements repeal the obligation for legalization, allowing the apostille instead.
The Apostille is recognized by all the States that have signed the Hague Convention of October 5, 1961. Italy adopted the Hague Convention throguh Law No.1253 on December 20, 1966, on the abolition of legalization of foreign public acts.
For a full overview on the matter, you can also have a look at our guide on the Apostille of documents.