Legalisation of foreign documents
A foreign document submitted to us must be legalised unless it is a public document issued by an EU Member State or a certificate issued by a Nordic country. The purpose of the legalisation is to ensure that the party issuing the document has the right to issue the document in question. Legalisation usually takes place in the country that issued the document.
You can submit us the original document or a reliably certified copy of the original. Please note that we can only accept documents in Finnish, Swedish or English. Documents in other languages must be translated first.
Why is it necessary to legalise a document?
Legalising a document is a matter of legal protection. Legalisation ensures that the party issuing the document has the right to issue the document in question under the laws of the country in question. It also helps to ensure that the information that we enter in the Population Information System is reliable. For example, as regards marriage certificates, it is important that the officiator in question has the right to officiate at weddings under the laws of their country.
What does legalisation mean in practice?
In practice, legalisation can be a stamp on a document or a separate page attached to a document.
What is meant by a reliably certified copy and where can I get one?
We only accept original documents or reliably certified copies of the originals. A reliably certified copy is a copy that has been certified by the authority that issued the original document. A notary public in the same country may also certify the authenticity of the copy of a legalised document.
If you do not provide us with the original document, you can obtain a copy of the original as follows:
- Legalise the original document.
- Obtain a certified copy of the legalised original document.
- Also legalise the copy. If the copy has been certified by a Finnish diplomatic mission, it does not need to be separately legalised.
How can I get a translation of the document?
We accept documents in Finnish, Swedish and English. Documents in other languages must be translated into any of the above languages.
There are different ways to obtain the translation:
- You can order the translation from an authorised translator in Finland. For more information about them, go to the website of the Finnish National Agency for Education (the information is in Finnish). You do not need to legalise the translation.
- You can order the translation from an official translator in another EU Member State. You do not need to legalise the translation.
- A standard form, which you can use as a translation aid, can be attached to a public document issued by an EU Member State. You can request more information on the standard forms from the authorities of the country from which you obtain the certificate. You do not need to legalise the standard form.
- You can also order the translation from a translator that is not authorised or does not have any official status. In such cases, the translation must be legalised.
If I am unable to legalise the document?
You do not necessarily need to present a legalised document if you have refugee status in Finland or your document has been issued in Somalia, Yemen, Libya, Pakistan or Afghanistan.