Legalisation of a public document is a service pursuant to § 43 of the Consular Act and Regulation No 15 of the Minister of Foreign Affairs "Order of the legalisation of a public document and the application form", dated 17 June 2009.
A public document destined for use in another country should have its authenticity certified in a way that is acknowledged internationally. For this the document needs to be legalised or certified with an apostille certificate, if an international agreement does not foresee otherwise.
A public document should be legalised if it is intended to be used in a country that has not acceded to the Convention abolishing the requirement of legalisation for foreign public documents and also in a country that Estonia has not concluded a legal aid agreement with.
The list of countries having acceded to the Convention is available at http:/hcch.e-vision.nl/index_en.php?act=conventions.authorities&cid=41.
Estonia has concluded legal aid agreements with the Republic of Lithuania, the Republic of Latvia (State Gazette II, 1993, 5), the Republic of Poland (State Gazette II 1999, 4, 22), Ukraine (State Gazette (RT II 1995,13/14, 63) and with the Russian Federation (State Gazette II, 1993, 16, 27). Pursuant to the legal aid agreements Estonia recognises without any additional certification a public document that has been prepared or certified in any of the above-mentioned countries. A document issued or certified in Estonia is recognised in the above-mentioned countries without additional certification, i.e. a document to be used in these countries need not be additionally legalised or certified with an apostille certification.
A public document of Estonia destined for use in a country which has not acceded to the Convention abolishing the requirement of legalisation for foreign public documents and also in a country that Estonia has not concluded a legal aid agreement with should be legalised in the consular department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or in a Foreign Mission of the Republic of Estonia and thereafter in the Foreign Mission or the Foreign Ministry of the foreign country where the document is destined for use.
A public document of a foreign country destined for use in Estonia should be first legalised in the Foreign Ministry or Foreign Mission of the foreign country where the document has been issued, and thereafter in a Foreign Mission of the Republic of Estonia or in the consular department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Estonia.
Legalisation can be performed only in case of an original document, a notarised copy or a certified copy of an original, a print out or an extract of original document, which contains the signature, first name and surname as well as the position of the person who signed it, and also the original seal of the authority that has issued the document.
Legalisation is a formality with which a competent authority certifies the signature on the document and the authenticity of the impression of a seal or stamp or the competence of the undersigned person. A document shall be legalised by comparing the signature of the undersigned person with the specimen signature and also by comparing the impression of a seal or a stamp with the specimen impression of the seal or stamp.
A public document is:
- a document, issued by a court or by an authority or person connected to court, e.g. public prosecutor, court official or bailiff (e.g. a copy of court judgment, extract from a registry);
- administrative document (diploma, certificate, documentation, certified statement, acknowledgement);
- a document of a notary or sworn translator.
Submission of Applications
An application can be submitted to the consular department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs together with the document to be legalised:
- personally (reception room of the consular department in B division, Lauteri 2, Tallinn) on Tuesday and Friday from 10.00-12.00. Prior appointments are required by phone number 6377 440 or via Internet.
- by post on the following address: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Consular Department, Islandi väljak 1, 15049 Tallinn.
Document legalisation requires the payment of the state fee. State fee is paid for the review of the application of legalising a document. State fee can be paid by bank transfer or in the Ministry by bank card. The amount of state fee per each document is 30 EUR.
Requisite information of the payment of state fee is as follows:
Receiver: Ministry of Finances
Bank account number:
- SEB Pank р/с EE891010220034796011
- Swedbank р/с EE932200221023778606
Reference number: 2900073643
If it is not possible to enter the reference number on the payment order of a foreign country, the reference number must be entered in the clarification field.
Clarification of the payment: document legalisation.
Delivery of a document
A document is legalised within five working days from the date of acceptance of the document or from the date of receipt of the signature specimen.
The precondition for processing the legalisation application is the receipt of the state fee on the abovementioned Ministry of Finances’ account.
A document can be received in the reception room of the consular department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday and Friday from 15.00-16.00.
A document sent in via post shall be delivered to the applicant by registered mail at the address noted in the application.
Refusal of the legislation of a document
A public document cannot be legalised if:
- an original document issued in a foreign country is not legalised according to the international good practice;
- content of a public document is not true;
- according to an international agreement the public document is valid without further certification;
- circumstances refer to the incompetent change of the original content of the public document;
- public document has been damaged;
- fixed term public document has expired;
- there are grounds to believe that the person who certified the public document lacked the authority to do so;
- public document is legalised for use in another country;
- public document has been legalised by another Estonian consular officer.
Response to inquiries
Inquiries may be sent in written form to the following address: Islandi väljak 1, 15049 Tallinn; via fax: 6 377 454 or via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Proposals and opinions
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is interested in improving the quality of this service. All proposals and opinions on the service are welcome in written form at: Islandi väljak 1, 15049 Tallinn or by e-mail: email@example.com.
Complaints regarding the service are kindly asked to be sent in written form at: Islandi väljak 1, 15049 Tallinn or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information concerning the service can be obtained as follows:
- by turning to the consular department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (reception room of B division, Lauteri 2, Tallinn) on Monday and Friday from 10.00-12.00, please carry an identity document.
- in written form (address: Islandi väljak 1, 15049 Tallinn; e-mail: email@example.com; fax: 637 7454.
- by phoning the consular department, phone number 637 7440 or 637 7478 (the last number is responding on Monday and Friday from 10.00-12.00).