In which countries is an apostille not required?

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  1. Concept of an Apostille

An apostille is a simplified document legalization procedure. It is used for countries that have signed the Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents (the Hague Convention) dated October 5, 1961. For Ukraine, the Hague Convention came into force on December 22, 2003, thus Ukrainians can legalize their documents in other states thanks to this convention.

The current list of state participants in the Hague Convention regarding the certification of documents by an apostille can be found on the website of the Hague Conference on Private International Law at hcch.net/en/instruments/conventions/status-table/print/?cid=41

The apostille stamp itself confirms the authenticity of the signatures and seals (stamps) on the document. A document that has undergone the formal procedure of affixing an apostille is considered valid and must be accepted by the state authorities of the country to which you are traveling or where you are submitting the documents.

2.Cases where document certification by an apostille is not required

Please note that the text of the Hague Convention itself (Part 2 Article 3) specifies that adherence to the mentioned formal procedure of affixing an apostille cannot be required if the laws, rules, or practices in force in the state where the document is presented, or an agreement between two or more contracting states, abolish or simplify this formal procedure or exempt the document itself from legalization. In other words, if there is a bilateral treaty on legal assistance (cooperation) between Ukraine and other contracting states, then the affixing of an apostille is not required.

For example, according to the bilateral treaty between Ukraine and the Republic of Latvia on legal assistance and legal relations in civil, family, labor, and criminal matters dated May 23, 1995, documents that have been drafted or officially certified by an official (notary, official translator, expert, etc.) within the competence and in the established form and certified by a seal, are accepted in the territory of the other Contracting Party without any other certification. That is, official documents that have been drafted in the territory of Ukraine or Latvia can be freely used/accepted in the territory of the contracting states provided they have a certified translation into the language of the contracting state, without the requirements for an apostille or consular legalization.

Particular attention should be given to the Convention on Legal Assistance and Legal Relations in Civil, Family, and Criminal Matters of 1993 and its Protocol of January 22, 1993, executed on behalf of Ukraine in Minsk on January 22, 1993, and ratified by the Law of Ukraine dated November 10, 1994, No. 240/94-VR, and the Protocol to it, executed on behalf of Ukraine in Moscow on March 28, 1997, and ratified by the Law of Ukraine dated March 3, 1998, No. 140/98-VR (hereinafter – the Minsk Convention and the Protocol). The participants of this Convention were: Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Moldova.

The Minsk Convention provided for the submission of documents with their translation into the language of the country to which they are submitted without an apostille, only their notarial certification.

In relations with Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, the Minsk Convention continues to operate until the date of Ukraine’s withdrawal from it, i.e., until May 18, 2024, inclusive. From May 19, 2024, the Convention will be considered terminated for Ukraine in relations with all its participants. An exception to this rule is documents issued in Georgia, Moldova, Uzbekistan, where separate bilateral treaties have been signed between these countries and Ukraine, allowing the use of documents with a notarial translation without an apostille.

3.List of countries for which an apostille is not required

Also, affixing an apostille is not required with other countries besides the aforementioned, with which Ukraine has signed bilateral and/or multilateral treaties on cooperation, which allow the use of documents with a translation, certified by a notary without an apostille.

The list of such countries is provided below:

Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Mongolia, Macedonia, Vietnam, and China.

Note:

Despite the existence of bilateral Agreements concluded between Ukraine and the Republic of Belarus that provide for the use of documents without an apostille, an analysis of these Agreements regarding their termination is currently being conducted, as the operation of the Minsk Convention in relations with the Russian Federation and the Republic ofBelarus has been suspended as of December 27, 2022. This means that documents issued in the territory of Russia and Belarus, when presented in the territory of Ukraine, will require the certification of an apostille according to the Hague Convention, which abolishes the requirement for legalization of foreign official documents, 1961, which is valid in relations between Ukraine and Russia and Belarus.

Official documents issued in Ukraine, for use in Russia and Belarus, are subject to certification by an apostille by the bodies defined by the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine dated January 18, 2003, No. 61 (taking into account changes made by the resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers dated June 24, 2023, No. 629).

4.List of documents that are not subject to apostille at all

It is worth noting that according to the Order of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine dated March 17, 2023, No. 125/209/293/139/999/5 “On Approval of the Rules for Affixing an Apostille on Official Documents Intended for Use in Other States”, a clear list of documents that are NOT subject to apostille is defined, namely:

  • documents issued by foreign diplomatic institutions of Ukraine;
  • administrative documents directly related to commercial or custom operations;
  • originals of passport documents, military IDs, labor books, identity cards, and documents certifying its special status;
  • regulatory legal acts of Ukraine and clarifications regarding their application;
  • permits for carrying weapons;
  • certificate of vehicle registration (technical passport);
  • documents that are of the nature of correspondence.

To avoid misunderstandings in other countries when legalizing your documents, it is recommended to address this issue in advance by consulting with lawyers from the Legal Company “First Legal”, who will quickly and efficiently help resolve all issues related to the legalization of documents.


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