Often you may hear from your lawyer to say that a document needs an Apostille stamp.

The apostille proves that public document is authentic. The apostille certificate confirms the signature, seal or stamp on a public document to be genuine so that it will be accepted when presented in another country. 

Only documents issued by public authorities or public officials can obtain an apostille. For example, birth, marriage and death certificates, notarial deeds, notarial attestations of signatures, powers of attorney, academic diplomas, certifications of business registers, court orders and judgments, etc.

The Apostille Stamp is regulated by the Hague Convention for Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents from 1961 also known as the Apostille Convention. The countries that participate in the Apostille Convention recognize the validity of the public document to which the Apostille is affixed. The stamp or sticker of the Apostille may have different design, size or color in every country.  

Bear in mind that not every country provides an apostille. More than 100 countries applies an Apostille stamp. All other countries do not issue and accept apostilles. So, firstly you have to check whether the country is a member of the Apostille convention or not.

A person who wants to use a public document outside of his/her home country which hasn’t signed the Apostille Convention must undergo an authentication process. First of all, the document needs to be certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the issuing state. Secondly, the document shall be presented to the consulate or embassy of the country where you intend to use the document. The consulate or embassy certifies its recognition of the fact that the document is an authentic by providing a stamp and signature on it.

Bulgaria is a member of the Apostille Convention. The Bulgarian authorities issue and accept apostilles. The foreign document shall be translated in Bulgarian. The authenticity of the signature of the translator shall be notary certified. The certified translation can be made only in Bulgaria.

In case where two countries has signed a bilateral Legal Assistance Agreement you may not need an apostille stamp. The translation of the document will be completely enough. Bulgaria has such treaties with Austria, France, Russia, Ukraine, Serbia, Romania, Croatia, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic, etc.

It is important also to note that according to the EU Regulation on Public Documents (Regulation 2016/1191), which applies from 16 February 2019, public documents as a birth certificate, a certificate on the absence of a criminal record, a marital status certificate, etc. and their certified copies issued by the authorities of an EU country must be accepted as authentic by the authorities of another EU country without the need of an apostille. As well, EU citizens are not obliged to provide a translation of their public document. They can ask for a multilingual standard form, available in all EU languages, from the authorities of the EU country which issued the public document. In order to avoid translation requirements this form shall be attached to the public document. In addition, the certified translation of the public document can be made in any EU country.

Our team provides certification, legalisation and translation services of all documents issued by Bulgarian or foreign authorities. For more detailed information call us on: +359 2 851 72 59 or contact us by e-mail: office@kgmp-legal.com

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