In accordance with Russian law documents issued in foreign countries can be accepted by national authorities and institutions only if duly legalized.
Consular legalization is carried out in two stages:
- Certification of the document (depending on the legal requirements of the issuing country it may be the original document or its copy) by competent authorities dealing with foreign affairs in the issuing country;
- Consular certification by the Russian Federation (certification at a Russian consulate or mission in the issuing country).
Apostilization is a simplified type of legalization consisting in attaching the apostille stamp to official documents issued by institutions and organizations located in countries participating in the Hague Convention abolishing the requirement for consular legalization of outbound documents:
- Apostille is put onto the original document or onto a separate sheet attached to the document and can be executed in the official language of the issuing authority;
- Apostille is placed by the competent authorities of the country where the documents were originally issued (secretary of state, education authorities, educational institutions, etc.).
Legalization must not be confused with certification of copies of documents!
According to Russian civil law, certification of copies and translations of documents in the Russian Federation is carried out via notarization. Notarized translations should be accompanied by copies of the source documents.
Exemptions from legalization requirement
Documents issued in countries participating in multilateral and bilateral agreements abolishing the requirement of legalization are accepted without legalization.
1. Albania (Republic of Albania);
2. Algeria (People's Democratic Republic of Algeria);
3. Argentina (Argentine Republic);
4. Bulgaria (Republic of Bulgaria);
5. Bosnia and Herzegovina;
6. Hungary (Hungarian Republic);
7. Vietnam (Socialist Republic of Vietnam);
8. Greece (Hellenic Republic);
9. Egypt (Arab Republic of Egypt);
10. Spain (Kingdom of Spain);
11. India (Republic of India);
12. Iraq (Republic of Iraq);
13. Iran (Islamic Republic of Iran);
14. Italy (Italian Republic);
15. Yemen (Republic of Yemen);
16. Cyprus (Republic of Cyprus);
17. China (People's Republic of China);
18. North Korea (Democratic People's Republic of Korea);
19. Cuba (Republic of Cuba);
20. Latvia (Republic of Latvia);
21. Lithuania (Republic of Lithuania);
22. Macedonia (Republic of Macedonia);
24. Poland (Republic of Poland);
26. Serbia (Republic of Serbia);
27. Slovakia (Slovak Republic);
28. Slovenia (Republic of Slovenia);
29. Tunisia (Republic of Tunisia);
30. Finland (Republic of Finland);
31. Croatia (Republic of Croatia);
33. Czech Republic;
34. Estonia (Republic of Estonia).