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Apostille

The Apostille certificate

When submitting a Finnish document to the authorities of a country which is part of the Hague Apostille convention, an Apostille certificate is attached to the document. In Finland, the Apostille certificate is obtained at the Local Register Office. If needed, an official translation of the document into the language of the receiving country must also be submitted, to which an Apostille certificate must also be attached.

From February 16, 2019, due to an EU regulation, certain public documents issued by the authorities of an EU member state must be accepted in the other member states without an Apostille certificate.

The Apostille certificate can be attached to public documents, i.e. documents and certificates issued by public authorities. An Apostille certificate may also be attached to a translation made by an official translator or to documents signed by a physician. The Apostille certificate certifies the signature of the document, the capacity in which the person signing the document acted and the seal or stamp attached to the document. The Apostille certificate does not certify the contents of the document.

Information on the Hague convention and a list of its member states is found here:

http://hcch.e-vision.nl/index_en.php?act=conventions.authorities&cid=41

If the country in question is not part of the Hague convention, the document must be legalised by the Foreign Ministry.

EU member states and the Apostille

From February 16, 2019 the EU member states are bound by an EU regulation on promoting the free movement of citizens by simplifying the requirements for presenting certain public documents in the EU.

According to the regulation, all authorities in the EU member states must accept public documents issued by the authorities of another member state without an Apostille certificate. Additionally, the regulation simplifies the formalities concerning translations and certified copies of public documents, when the authorities of the receiving member state requires such translations or copies.

The regulation applies to public documents the purpose of which are to establish one of the following facts: birth, a person being alive, death, name, marriage, including capacity to marry and marital status, divorce, legal separation or marriage annulment, registered partnership, including capacity to enter into a registered partnership and registered partnership status, dissolution of a registered partnership, legal separation or annulment of a registered partnership, parenthood, adoption, domicile or residence, nationality and the absence of a criminal record. The regulation also applies to public documents the presentation of which may be required of EU citizens wishing to vote or stand as candidates in municipal or EU elections in a member state of which they are not nationals.

The regulation also enables the use of multilingual standard forms, which can be attached to public documents as a translation aid. I practice, this means that a citizen obtaining a public document, e.g. a birth certificate, he or she can also request a multilingual standard form to be attached to the document. In the standard form, the headings and contents of the public document are presented in the languages of both countries, the country where the public document was issued and the country receiving the document. This translation aid should mean that the receiving member state should usually not need to require an official translation of the public document.

The Nordic countries and the Apostille for population register documents

Between the population register authorities of the Nordic countries, there is an established practice of not requiring an Apostille certificate for population register documents.

Other countries and the Apostille

The Apostille certificate is necessary, if the document is to be presented to the authorities of a country which is part of the Hague convention (Convention de La Haye du 5 octobre 1961). Information on the Hague convention and a list of its member states is found here:

http://hcch.e-vision.nl/index_en.php?act=conventions.authorities&cid=41

If the country in question is not part of the Hague convention, the document must be legalised by the Foreign Ministry.

Legalisation by the Foreign Ministry

If the country in question is not part of the Hague convention, the document must be legalised by the Foreigh Ministry.

You can have a Finnish document legalised by the Foreign Ministry, when it is to be presented to a foreign authority. The function of the legalisation is to certify the signature of the authority issuing the document and the capacity in which the person signing the document acted. The legalisation is made in English.

More information:

Legalisation of documents for use abroad