Guide on document legalization for Italy: find out when you need to translate, apostille or legalize your foreign documents.
Document legalization is the process through which Authorities grant legal value to documents for use abroad. These documents are acts issued by local authorities and may include birth and marriage certificates, driving licenses, criminal records and more.
Which documents need legalization for Italy
The documents that need legalization are acts issued by local authorities and may include birth and marriage certificates, driving licenses, criminal records and more. Depending on the specific case, documents from abroad that need validity in Italy may need a sworn translation, apostille or legalization.
When do you need to legalize your documents
The legalization of documents is necessary when you need to validate a document issued by a foreign local authority for use abroad, in this case, Italy.
Sworn Translation into Italian of foreign documents
Documents issued abroad that must be valid in Italy, must also be translated into Italian through a sworn translation.
A sworn translation is the procedure that officially certifies the correspondence between an original document and its translation.
For a valid sworn translation, the translator may be:
- a native translator;
- a professional figure (translator, interpreter, expert or other) registered as technical consultants at the competent court;
- a professional figure (translator, interpreter, expert witness or other) registered with the Association of Experts and Experts of the relevant Chamber of Industry and Crafts.
By using a specific affidavit, the translator signs the sworn translation assuming civil and criminal responsibility for the translation.
Legalization of documents for Italy
Those who want to legalize foreign documents for Italy must apply at an Italian diplomatic representative or consulate in the home country. This is also know as consular legalization, where there are no International Conventions in force. Applicants must therefore rely on the support of Diplomatic Institutions.
On the other hand, and when applicable, International Conventions exempt you from the entire legalization process if the Countries involved are part of specific agreements.
The Conventions in force that make legalization unnecessary are:
- Convention on the Free Issue and Dispensation from Legalization of Civil Status Records;
- Convention Concerning the Abolition of the Legalization of Foreign Public Documents;
- European Convention;
- Convention on the dispensation from legalization for certain acts and documents);
- Convention on the Abolition of the Legalization of Documents in the Member States of the European Communities.
For a full list of the Conventions, find out more in our article on the cases of exemption from Legalization.
When legalization is not necessary: Does Italy require Apostille?
The apostille simplifies the legalization process for those Countries that signed the Hague Convention on the Abolition of the Legalization of Foreign Public Documents. The apostille is an annotation, with a specific stamp, put on the original document.
The process to apply for the apostille for Italy is quite simple, in that it is only necessary to provide the documents to the chosen Authority in charge in your country.
For further details on the Apostille and how to apply, have a look at our guide on the definition and steps to apply for the apostille of documents.
Authorities in charge of the legalization of documents
The competent local jurisdiction body is responsible for taking care of the legalization of documents in foreign countries.
Depending on the country that has issued a specific document, the competent authority may change. For further information and to check the dedicated jurisdiction body in each country please refer to the Hague Conference Official website.
If you need to legalize or get apostille for your documents, take a look at our legalization and apostille services.
Learn more about legalization and apostille of Italian documents for abroad in our dedicated guide.