Apostille and Superlegalization

If an authority requires you to provide an apostille or superlegalization and you not only have little idea what it means, but also find it hard to find any sense in all those laws, regulations, exceptions, etc., just keep calm. We will translate all the information into an intelligible language for you. First of all, you always need to find out what you need. See our previous article here.

Which documents will you probably need to verify using an apostille or superlegalization?

  • Personal identity documents (birth certificate, marriage certificate, death certificate, extract from the criminal register, citizenship certificate, divorce certificate, residence certificate, …)
  • Corporate documents (extract from the companies’ register, tax domicile certificate, …)
  • Documents relating to education (school certificate, diploma, …)


Do we know everything we need? Let’s take a look at the differences between an apostille and superlegalization:


An apostille is a clause issued by the Ministry of Justice or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (depending on the type of document to be verified). This clause confirms that the certified document is valid in the country of issue. The point is that not many people will know, for example, what a Latvian birth certificate should look like and what details it contains. Therefore, apostilles serve as a way of guaranteeing the authenticity of the document.

It is important to know that this validation can only be obtained in the country in which the document was issued. For example, if you have a Bulgarian birth certificate, only a Bulgarian ministry will give you an apostille. If you are not in Bulgaria, the fastest way is to call the Embassy of Bulgaria and seek their assistance.



For documents intended for use in a country which is not a signatory to the 1961 Hague Convention, an apostille is not sufficient. A different verification, the so-called superlegalization, is required instead.

The process of superlegalization is administratively more complex than that of an apostille and consists of the following steps (in this particular order):

  1. Higher verification of the central state administration body overseeing the body that issued the document (e.g. a higher education diploma will require higher verification by the Ministry of Education, as the Ministry is the central administration body overseeing the educational institution that awarded the diploma).
  2. Higher verification of the legalization department of the consular section of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic.
  3. Verification of the embassy of the country in which the document is to be used. And this last step is called “superlegalization”. Be aware that the corresponding embassy does not have to be located in the Czech Republic (e.g. Honduras has an embassy in Berlin catering for the Czech Republic).


One thing may not be clear, though. Why is it that sometimes no apostille is needed, while elsewhere an apostille is not enough and one needs such an extra superlegalization?

The reason lies in international agreements between individual countries. Some countries have bilateral agreements which make it unnecessary to verify public documents. In such cases, a certified translation is often sufficient. Examples of countries who have signed such an agreement with the Czech Republic include Poland, France, Austria, Italy, Spain, Ukraine and many others. Other countries cooperate on the basis of the 1961 Hague Convention, according to which it is often sufficient to provide an apostille using the procedure described above. 

Finally, there are countries having no such agreement with the Czech Republic, and those will most probably require superlegalization.

However, it is essential to keep in mind that the institution to which you need to submit your documents may have specific requirements and you shouldn’t rely on the category to which the country belongs. It is always advisable to contact the end recipient for details to avoid complications. 


If you are required to provide the completed legal translation with superlegalization, please contact us in advance. According to the new Act on Sworn Translators and Interpreters, effective on 1 January 2021, the translator’s signature on the translator’s clause attached to the document must be notarized for the purposes of superlegalization.


Author: Michaela Vorlová



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