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Authentication of documents (legalisation)


Legalisation means authentication of a signature(s) and stamp(s) of the document. Legalisation is the process carried out by a consular agent so that documents drawn up in one country would be legally valid in another one. By legalising a document, the legal status and powers of the official who has signed the particular document are certified.

Authentication of documents (legalisation) is not an operation of the notary.

To use a document issued in a foreign country within the Republic of Latvia: 

1. If a document is issued in a country which has joined the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Documents of 1961, its authenticity must be certified with an Apostille by the competent institution of the particular country in accordance with Section 3 of the Convention. Such document is valid for submission to institutions in the Republic of Latvia without any additional certification;

2. If a document is issued in a country which has not joined the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Documents of 1961, it must be legalised by a competent institution of the issuing country or by a diplomatic mission or a consular post of the particular country, and then by the diplomatic mission or the consular post of the Republic of Latvia in the particular country or by the Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia.

To use a document issued in the Republic of Latvia in a foreign country:

1. If a document is intended for use in a country which has joined the Hague Convention of 1961, its authenticity should be certified with an Apostille at the Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The document bearing an Apostille is valid for submission to authorities of the particular foreign country and does not require a confirmation by the diplomatic mission/consular post of the particular foreign country;

2. If a document is intended for use in a foreign country which has not joined the Hague Convention of 1961, it must be first legalised by the Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia or by the diplomatic mission/consular post of the Republic of Latvia, and then by the diplomatic mission or consular post of the particular country.

Procedures for certification of document authenticity at the Consular Department.

A document of a natural person, upon presenting an identity document, can be submitted for legalisation by:  

1. a person to whom the document applies;

2. an authorised person on the basis of an authorisation by the legal person.

If documents are submitted by an authorised person (both natural and legal), authorisations issued in a foreign country must be legalised or certified with an Apostille.  

Documents are certified (legalised) after the confirmation from the respective institution of the Republic of Latvia is received in which the surname and post of the official is specified. Signatures, stamps, and seals must be legible. If a document consists of several pages, they are and stamped and sewn together.

If a copy of a document must be certified (legalised), it must be first certified by a notary. If a copy consists of several pages, they are stamped and sewn together. If a copy is issued by an institution in which the original document had been issued, the copy does not require a notary certification. 

If a translation of a document must be certified (legalised), it must first certified by a notary. If a translation consists of several pages, they are stamped and sewn together.

Copies, duplicates, extracts and/or translations can be certified (legalised) only if the authenticity of the document can be certified.

Prior to submitting documents for authentication, it is highly recommended to consult the diplomatic mission or the consular post of the particular country in order to find out if it is necessary to certify the authenticity of:
  1. only the original of the document / copy of the notarised document;
  2. only the translation of the document;
  3. both original of the document / copy of the notarised document, and the translation of the document.

Documents cannot be legalised if the Consular Department of the Foreign Ministry does not have at its disposal a sample of a signature of the undersigning official and a sample of the stamp of the competent authority.

Legalised and certified documents can be received within 3 business days from the moment of submission; in urgent cases – within one business day.


For more information on legalisation of documents, visit the Consular Department of the Foreign Ministry.

Consular Department of the Foreign Ministry
Address: Elizabetes iela 57, Riga, LV-1050
Telephone: 8000 5905 – toll-free information for travellers;
(+371) 67 015 905 (calls from abroad);
(+371) 67 016 364;
(+371) 29 287 398 (24 h telephone for emergency situations: death, severe medical conditions, catastrophes, etc).
Fax: (+371) 67 828 274
E-mail: mfa.cdep@mfa.gov.lv

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