FAQ: Legalisation of documents
What is legalisation? What is an apostille? What do I do and how much does it cost?
- What is legalisation?
- What is an apostille?
- Can a document be legalised with both an apostille and a legalisation certificate?
- My document must be translated before it is legalised. Can the Judicial Office do the translation?
- Which documents can the Ministry for Foreign Affairs legalise immediately?
- Which documents must be certified by a Notary Public before they are legalised?
- What do I do and how much does it cost?
- What should I keep in mind when I send documents to the Judicial Office?
- Can the Judicial Office determine which of my documents need to be legalised?
- Can I have my document legalised at a Swedish embassy?
- How long will it take before I receive my document?
What is legalisation?
Legalisation means that the Ministry for Foreign Affairs confirms that a signature and seal/stamp on a Swedish document are genuine and verifies the capacity in which the signatory signed it. Accordingly, legalisation has no bearing on the content of the document.
Legalisation certificates are issued by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs or, in exceptional cases, by a Swedish embassy. In most cases, legalisation must also be confirmed by the foreign embassy in Stockholm representing the country in which the document is to be used.
What is an apostille?
By international agreement, an apostille can be issued for documents that are to be used in another country that is party to the Convention. When an apostille stamp is attached to a document, it is exempted from legalisation by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and all forms of authentication, i.e. no further validation from a foreign embassy is normally required.
A complete list of countries that are party to the Convention is available on the Hague Conference website.
As of 1 January 2005, only notaries public have the authority to issue an apostille in Sweden. Notaries public are appointed by the county administrative board in each county.
Can a document be legalised with both an apostille and a legalisation certificate?
My document must be translated before it is legalised. Can the Judicial Office do the translation?
No, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs cannot provide help when it comes to translation. However, legalisations can de done in the following languages: English, French, Spanish and Swedish.
For a translation to be legalised, the translator must be authorised by the Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency as a translator (N.B. not an interpreter). For a full list of authorised public translators and their contact details, go to the Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency website, www.kammarkollegiet.se
Which documents can the Ministry for Foreign Affairs legalise immediately?
N.B. All documents must bear an official´s original signature and name printed in block letters.
- Public documents from a Swedish government agency, such as documents issued by the Swedish Patent and Registration Office, the Medical Products Agency, the Swedish Migration Board, the National Board of Health and Welfare or the Swedish Tax Agency
- Extracts from registers and other police documents
- Judicial documents, such as decisions on divorce from district courts (the documents must be stamped to prove that the judgment is final and non-appealable)
- Extracts from christening, birth and marriage records from the National Archives and the Regional Archives
- Marriage certificates from civil marriage officiants
- Grades/certificates from higher education institutions
- Documents signed by a notary public
- Documents signed by a Swedish chamber of commerce
- Translations done by an authorised public translator (certified by the Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency)
- Documents not issued in Sweden that have been certified by the issuing country´s embassy/consulate in Sweden
This is not a complete list, so please contact the Judicial Office if you have any questions.
Which documents must be certified by a Notary Public before they are legalised?
A Notary Public certifies the document. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs legalises the notary public´s signature.
- Copies (lacking an original signature)
- Documents issued by private individuals (if that person is not included in Sweden´s Official Directory)
- Marriage certificates from non-civil marriage officiants
- School grades; but we do legalise grades from state universities and higher education institutions
- Invoices, VAT reports, certificates of origin, registration of trademarks and other import and export documents must be certified by a chamber of commerce or a notary public before the Ministry can legalise them.
Please contact the Judicial Office in advance if you are uncertain as to what rules apply for your document.
What do I do and how much does it cost?
Documents that are to be legalised can be handed in to the Judicial Office. Payment in such cases should preferably be made by credit card. Documents can also be sent by post. Payment should be made to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs bank giro 277-8082 (Swedbank).
N.B. Remember to enclose proof of payment.
When sending documents by post, you must indicate the country where the document will be used as well as your name, address and telephone number. Also indicate whether you wish the legalisation to be done in Swedish, English, French or Spanish.
If payment has not been made to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs bank giro or in person, the document will be returned cash-on-delivery at a cost of SEK 60. An additional cash-on-delivery fee of SEK 60 will be charged if a letter or package that has not been collected as agreed has to be returned a second time.
If you wish the Ministry for Foreign Affairs to forward the document to an embassy in Stockholm, you must enclose a stamped, addressed envelope (with the embassy´s address). This is on the condition that payment has been made in advance.
Cost: SEK 180 per legalisation
Payment can be made from abroad by means of a cheque that is cashable at a Swedish bank or by payment to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs´ bank account, Swedbank 8901-1 903.839.855-9; give SWIFT code SWEDSESS and IBAN SE61 8000 0890 1190 3839 8559. Also send a copy of the deposit slip to the Judicial Office.
What should I keep in mind when I send documents to the Judicial Office?
The document must always bear an original signature (with the name printed in block letters), which means that you cannot fax it to us. It is also important to determine who issued it. Your document may first need to be certified by a notary public, a chamber of commerce or another party.
In addition to your own name and address, you must also specify which country the document is to be used in.
Unless otherwise agreed with the Judicial Office, the document will be returned cash-on-delivery.
Can the Judicial Office determine which of my documents need to be legalised?
No. It is up to you to find out which documents the foreign authority requires of you. This varies from country to country.Up
Can I have my document legalised at a Swedish embassy?
In certain cases, embassies can legalise a document. (For contact details, go to www.swedenabroad.com).Up
How long will it take before I receive my document?
Documents that are submitted in person can be picked up after two working days (they can also be returned by post).
Documents sent by post: 2-5 days. In some cases more time is needed due to a heavy workload.