Legalisation of documents
In order for a public document issued in a foreign state to have the force of a public document in Latvia, this shall be legalised. In implementing State public administration, State administration, judicial and legislative institutions, other institutions and persons may accept only a legalised public document issued in a foreign state. Education documents issued in EU, EEA countries or Switzerland are exempt from the legalization procedure.
Legalisation – the process of ensuring the authenticity of public documents.
(NB! Legalisation is not a notarial act. It means the verification of the signature and seal of a document.)
Certificate (apostille) – corresponds to the interpretation of the relevant term used in the Hague Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents.
Public document – corresponds to the interpretation of the relevant term used in the Hague Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents:
a) documents emanating from an authority or an official connected with the courts or tribunals of the State, including those emanating from a public prosecutor, a clerk of a court or a process-server ("huissier de justice");
b) administrative documents;
c) notarial acts;
d) official certificates which are placed on documents signed by persons in their private capacity, such as official certificates recording the registration of a document or the fact that it was in existence on a certain date and official and notarial authentications of signatures.
However, the present Convention shall not apply:
a) to documents executed by diplomatic or consular agents;
b) to administrative documents dealing directly with commercial or customs operations.
If education documents are issued in a country which has joined the Hague Convention 1961 (e.g. USA, Georgia, India etc.), they should be certified with an Apostille. The Apostille is issued by a competent institution (usually the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) in the country of origin.
If education documents are issued in a country that has not joined the Hague Convention 1961 (e.g. Lebanon, Syria, Pakistan, Sri-Lanka etc.), applicants should get a double legalization of their educational documents.
The documents need to be legalized:
1. By a competent institution (usually the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) in the country of origin or by the diplomatic/consular mission of the country of origin;
2. By any Latvian diplomatic/consular mission or by the Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia.
Requirements for Documents to be legalised:
1) The document to be legalised shall have been signed by an official or it shall have been legalised and confirmed by the stamp or seal of a competent authority. The surname and position of the official shall be indicated on the document. The signature and imprint of the stamp or seal shall be clearly visible.
2) If the document to be legalised consists of several pages, it shall be bound together and confirmed by the signature of an official and a stamp or seal.
3) If the document to be legalised is an excerpt, transcript or copy of another document (hereafter – original document), it shall be confirmed in accordance with the procedure as prescribed in regulatory enactments. If the document has been certified by the competent authority which had issued the original document, the notarial certification of the signature of the person whose specimen signature is at the disposal of the Department or representation shall not be necessary.
4) If the document to be legalised is a translation of the original document or an excerpt, transcription or copy thereof, it shall be certified in accordance with the procedure for the certification of translations of documents, as prescribed in regulatory enactments, bound together with the original document, excerpt, transcript or copy of the original document, and certified by the signature of an official and stamp or seal.
Placement of the Apostille or the Legalisation Certificate
The apostille and legalisation certificate shall be placed on the document. If there is no space on the document which is to be legalised, the apostille or legalisation certificate may be placed on a separate sheet of paper, bound to the document and certified by the signature and seal or stamp of the person who has legalised the document. The apostille and legalisation certificate shall show the confirmation or certification registration number.