CONSULAR LEGALIZATION OF DOCUMENTS: LEGAL ASPECTS AND PROCEDURE

When it comes to planned migration to Ukraine, starting a business in our country, studying or simply implementing certain legal actions on the territory of the Ukrainian state, the question of legalizing foreign documents here arises. Despite the modern level of technology development, the ease of access to any information, including private legal, certain difficulties often arise in the procedure for the legalization of foreign documents, requiring effort, time and money.
In this article, we will explain how to properly legalize foreign documents in Ukraine, reveal all the nuances and tell you some life hacks.

The procedure for legalizing foreign documents for legal use in Ukraine usually follows one of two scenarios:

1) Documents can be certified between member states of the Hague Convention using a simplified process known as document apostilization.
In the past, authenticating documents for use in foreign countries was much more difficult than it is today. The provisions of the 1961 Hague Convention No. 12 on the “Abolition of the Requirement for Legalization of Foreign Public Documents” have successfully eliminated most of these difficulties, at least in the countries where it is applied.
There is a special process for affixing an apostille to a document: the competent authority in the country of origin affixes its seal to the document (or its certified copy) or affixes it on a separate sheet (called allonge). After the document is apostilled, it can be used in a foreign jurisdiction.
Note that it will be necessary to translate the apostilled document into Ukrainian and notarize it.
However, it is worth noting that in order to accept the apostille, a document must be issued in one member state of the Hague Convention for use in another member state of the Hague Convention.

To affix an apostille to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, the applicant must submit:
• applicant’s passport;
• original document, which is subject to apostille certification;
• a document of a banking institution confirming payment for services for affixing an apostille.

The Apostille, Legalization and Request for Documents Department of the Consular Service Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine accepts the following documents for apostille affixing:

• certificates issued by archival institutions of Ukraine;
• health certificates;
• certificates issued by the bodies of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine;
• other official documents.

2) In countries that are not parties to the Hague Convention, documents must go through a more complex and lengthy process known as consular legalization of documents.
The procedure for consular legalization of a document is much more complicated and consists of several stages. This type of legalization is handled by the Consular Service Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.
However, before submitting documents for their legalization at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, it is necessary to put signatures and seals at the consular mission of the country of origin of the document on the territory of Ukraine. With these seals and signatures, the ambassador or consul confirms that these documents were actually issued in the country of origin. And only after that, you can submit documents to the Consular Service Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, where authorized employees will check the compliance of the signatures and seals of the ambassador or consul on the documents.
When submitting official documents for consular legalization:
• individuals submit an identity document and an application for consular legalization;
• legal entities submit a letter of appeal for consular legalization.
If an application is submitted by a representative of an individual or legal entity, a power of attorney or other document confirming the authority to act on behalf of these persons is submitted.
In both cases, government agencies must check and confirm notarial confirmations, signatures, seals, stamps on the documents in question.
It should be noted that the official certifying such documents is not responsible for their content.
Also, unlike a document with an “apostille”, a document subject to consular legalization remains valid exclusively for the state for which such legalization was carried out.

Not subject to consular legalization:
• documents and acts that contradict the legislation of Ukraine or may in their content harm the interests of Ukraine, or contain information discrediting the honor and dignity of citizens;
• originals, copies and photocopies of passports, military cards, work books, documents of the nature of correspondence, permits to carry weapons, certificates of registration of vehicles (technical passports), driver’s license, identity card, regulatory legal acts and explanations on their use ;
• documents issued by bodies and officials in excess of their powers.

We add that there is a list of countries that do not require a document legalization procedure at all. And there are several reasons for this:

Countries-signatories to the Minsk Convention: Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Georgia;

2) Countries that have entered into a bilateral agreement with Ukraine on legal assistance in civil matters (Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Czech Republic, Serbia).

For citizens of these states who want to legally use documents on the territory of Ukraine, you just need to translate this document into Ukrainian and make a notarization.

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