Definition and State Members of the Agreement
The documents issued by or to be validated in the countries which took part in the Hague Convention (signed on 5th October 1961) can be affixed with Apostille, which is a special stamp certifying the legal effectiveness of the document and of the Official, who has set his/her own signature on the specific document (certificates, copies etc).
The State Members that have signed the Hague Convention are as follows:
Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brunei, Bulgaria, Cape Verde, Colombia, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, FYR of Macedonia, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyztan, Latvia, Lesotho, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niue, Norway, Oman, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Serbia, Seychelles, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay, USA, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela
Thanks to this agreement, it is not necessary for the citizens of the countries mentioned above, to legalise documents at the Diplomatic or Consular Representations of the same countries abroad.
Every country has a dedicated office appointed to manage the legalisation procedure, here is the complete list for all countries which have signed the Hague Convention.
The Ministry of the Foreign Affairs is responsible for taking care of the legalisation of documents in Italy.
Depending on the office that has issued a specific document, the Ministry delegates to the Public Procecutor’s Office at the Courts and the Prefectures in the legalisation process.
Public Prosecutor’s Office at the Courts: responsible for legalising acts signed by Notaries, Chancellor’s Office Functionaries and Sheriff-Officers.
Prefectures: responsible for legalising documents signed by other Italian Authorities, such as Registry Office Functionaries
Countries which have not signed the Agreement
PLEASE NOTE: The Documents and Acts issued by countries which are not included in the Hague Convention, have to be legalised by the Diplomatic or Consular Representations of the country where it is necessary to submit the legalised document.
For more information about the countries that are members or only parts, please refer to the official Hague Convention’s website