INFORMATION ABOUT THE LEGALIZATION OF DOCUMENTS FROM AND FOR ABROAD
Legalization of documents for abroad
In order to be valid abroad and to serve before the foreign institutions, the documents issued by the Republic of Bulgaria intended to be used abroad should be additionally arranged in a specific way which depends on whether the respective country is party to the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents, whether between this country and the Republic of Bulgaria there is a bilateral legal aid agreement which has entered into force and is still effective or whether this country does not fall into any of these two groups of countries.
Certification with “Apostille”
On 30th April 2001, the Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents signed in the Hague on 5th October 1961 entered into force in Bulgaria. The Convention provides a unified method of formalizing a certain category of public documents by applying a special certificate “Apostille” on the document itself or on an attachment to it. In its content and nature, the certification with this seal represents legalization of the document by the competent authority of the country where it was issued. The thus certified foreign documents are not subject to any further legalization and certification. Detailed information about the authorities issuing “Apostille” in each country you can find on the following Internet address: www.hcch.net.
The certification of documents in Bulgaria in the order listed in the Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents is done by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Education and Science in their capacity of authorities authorized by the Republic of Bulgaria to issue the certificate. Since 1st January 2017, the issuing of “Apostille” certificate for educational documents has been transferred to the National Centre for Information and Documentation (NACID).
CONVENTION ABOLISHING THE REQUIREMENT OF LEGALIZATION FOR FOREIGN PUBLIC DOCUMENTS
The provisions of the Convention do not change the regime of exempting documents from legalization established in the bilateral legal aid agreements signed by Bulgaria. For the countries with which the Republic of Bulgaria has signed bilateral legal aid agreements, the documents issued by the Republic of Bulgaria should bear the respective requisites in compliance with the bilateral agreements. The thus issued document is recognized by the foreign institutions and it only needs to be translated into the foreign language and the translation to be certified.
List of the countries with which the Republic of Bulgaria has signed bilateral legal aid agreements stipulating the documents to be exempted from legalization
The documents and other acts issued by any foreign country which is not party to the Hague Convention and with which the Republic of Bulgaria does not have any effective legal aid agreement shall be subject to legalization in the order determined by the Rules for legalization, certification and translation of documents and other acts. The foreign documents should be certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the issuing country and then legalized by the Bulgarian diplomatic and consular missions in this country or by the one accredited for it. The foreign documents legalized by the diplomatic or consular missions of the Republic of Bulgaria do not need any further certification and are valid on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria.
In the Republic of Bulgaria, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs legalizes documents and other acts coming from another country only if they have been certified by the situated in the Republic of Bulgaria diplomatic or consular mission of this country or by a diplomatic or consular mission which has assumed the defense of its interests in our country.
Legalization of documents and other acts coming from a country with which the Republic of Bulgaria does not have any diplomatic relations shall be performed by the diplomatic or consular missions of the Republic of Bulgaria in a third country where there is a consular representation and of the country the document comes from. In such cases, the document is legalized only if it has been certified by the foreign mission of the country where it was issued and by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the third country in which the foreign and the Bulgarian missions are located. In some cases, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs legalizes directly such documents and acts but only if they have been certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the country where they were issued. If the country has assigned the defense of its interests to another country, the document is legalized by the diplomatic or consular mission of this country.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs legalizes documents and other acts issued by the central authorities of the executive power of the Republic of Bulgaria and by institutions subordinate to a separate Ministry or directly to the Council of Ministers, only if they have been certified by the latter.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs legalizes copies of official documents and other acts if they have been duly certified by a Notary Public and by the Ministry of Justice. Documents and other acts signed by private persons are legalized only if the signatures of these persons have been notarized and the signature of the Notary Public has been certified by the Ministry of Justice.
Legalization of documents coming from abroad
On 28th November 2017, the Rules for legalization, certification and translation of documents and other acts , was amended, with effect from 01st March 2018. The foreign documents intended to be used in the Republic of Bulgaria should be translated into Bulgarian in one of the two ways specified below:
1. By an official appointed by order of the Head of the diplomatic or consular service of the Republic of Bulgaria abroad.
2. By natural persons working individually as translators /or in translation agencies/ included in a list maintained by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who translate documents and other acts. For any foreign document translated into Bulgarian intended to be used on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria, it is necessary the signature of the translator affixed on the translation done by them to be notarized by a Bulgarian Notary Public.
“Consular Relations” Directorate, Ministry of Foreign Affairs