Apostille is a must for those who plan to use their documents abroad or foreign documents in their own country. Apostille is not just a beautiful word where stress is often misplaced (should be pronounced as apOstille). This is a square seal, the same for all countries that signed the Hague Convention in 1961, confirming the authority of the officials who issued the document on which it is affixed. The participating countries agreed to cancel the requirement of consular legalization for documents circulating between them, and replace them with a special stamp – an apostille. Thus, the procedure is simplified and the time is reduced. Now you only should check whether the country you need has signed the Convention.
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Apostille and legalization have a lot in common. Apostille is a simplified form of legalization, which, what is important, requires significantly less time.
Let us remind you that only official documents are subject to legalization (or apostillization, if the required country has signed the Convention). Legalization and apostille aim to confirm the authenticity of the signatures of the officials who signed or certified the document, as well as the authenticity of the seals and stamps on the document. After the legalization or apostille is affixed to the document, it can be used in the international document circulation.
Apostille is affixed in the relevant ministries without transfer to consulates.
Where can I get my document apostilled?
If your document was issued in Ukraine, then you need to affix an apostille to it either in the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine, or in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or in the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine in order to use it abroad. If the document was issued abroad, then the apostille must be affixed in the country of issue. For its usage in another country, for example in Ukraine, an apostilled document must be translated and notarized.
Usually, foreign documents intended for usage in Ukraine undergo a procedure of apostillization of documents in Kyiv, but there are some exceptions. Keep in mind that apostilles on education documents are affixed exclusively through the Ministry in Kyiv, the same story with most documents subject to apostille through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. But the documents that are apostilled by the Ministry of Justice can be requested not only in Kyiv, but also in your city by reaching the registry office or a notary. From now on notaries also have the right to affix apostilles.
Terms and cost of affixing an apostille
“Apostille Kyiv urgent” is one of the most popular queries on Google on this topic. However, Ukrainian ministries cannot boast the speed of a jet aircraft. For example, in the Ministry of Justice, an apostille is affixed from 2 to 10 working days, and if the document is complex or unusual, then apostillization of the document can take up to 30 days.
In the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, urgent apostillization in Kyiv takes 2-6 working days, and in usual mode –10 working days.
The Ministry of Education even has 4 options: an apostille in 2 business days, 10 business days, 20 and 30 business days. Currently, during the pandemic, the deadlines are lengthened, as employees of the ministry also get sick and go on vacation.
Of course, both in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in the Ministry of Education, the cost of getting an apostille on an urgent and non-urgent basis differs. The apostille price in Kyiv averages from 400 to 1500 UAH per document, depending on the urgency of the document and the issuing ministry.
Why do I need a translation agency to get an apostille in Kyiv?
In general, any person who has some free time, whether an individual or a representative of a company, can go through the procedure of apostillization in Kyiv or other cities on its own. The main difficulty in Ukraine is choosing the right way to apply to each of the authorities as somewhere there is a narrow time “window” of admission, somewhere you need to fill out the application very carefully, otherwise, they will not accept it, somewhere there is no personal submission. With some types of documents, you can go to the registry office, but they are sometimes closed for quarantine, and the deadlines for affixing have become too variable during quarantine and the pandemic. We at Task Force have a special team of managers and 2 delivery men to deal exclusively with apostille in Kyiv, so we can be on duty at the ministries if necessary, deliver the necessary documents, receive them and deliver them to the customer.
Electronic apostille – can we download it ourselves?
Not yet. An electronic apostille is not yet available In Ukraine in the form in which it exists in Europe where you can go to the website and download it yourself. As of the beginning of 2022, the ministries of Ukraine are preparing for the electronic apostille to become available in the future. However, now it is only an exchange of scanned documents between departments of ministries.
What is double apostille?
Some countries that signed the Hague Convention require double apostille on documents. A list of these countries (in red) is available here.
The first apostille certifies the authenticity of the Ukrainian document, and the second confirms that the document was certified by a valid and authorized notary (i.e. the second apostille is an apostille affixed to a notarized translation). In most cases, this requirement applies to all documents intended to be submitted to any of the countries listed above.
An apostille affixed to a notarized translation and a notarized copy
So, as stated above, an apostille on a notarized translation can only exist within the framework of a double apostille. You cannot affix an apostille to the TRANSLATION right away, as you will get a rejection. A double apostille usually takes twice as long as a simple apostille, so the good news is that every year we have fewer countries requiring a second apostille. Woohoo!
But on a notarized copy of a document, an apostille can be affixed – however, only on three types of documents: 1) an internal passport or passport for trips abroad; 2) a birth certificate issued before 1991 on the territory of another country that was part of the USSR; 3) a court decision (a copy of which is issued by the court itself).
What documents can be apostilled?
A list of documents that may be apostilled you will find below:
- certificates issued by the Civil Registration Offices (for example, certificates of marriage, of divorce, of birth, death, etc.);
- documents executed by notaries;
- court decisions with wet seals and signature of a judge;
- certificates (for example, of no criminal conviction or academic certificates);
- registration documents of companies and organizations (for example, charter, verified by a notary);
- diplomas from educational institutions and supplements thereto;
- certificates of conferring academic degrees;
- graduation certificates, various certificates from educational institutions;
And the below listed documents do not require an apostille or legalization:
- military service record books;
- employment history record books;
- licenses to carry weapons;
- certificates of registration of vehicles (vehicle licences);
- regulatory legal acts;
- explanations and legal opinions on their application;
- documents of correspondence nature;
- bank statements and receipts;
- administrative documents having a direct bearing on commercial or customs operations;
The Task Force team will be delighted to help your company with apostilles in Ukrainian ministries, as well as with consular legalization.