FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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Q) How to legalize your documents? What is "apostille" and do you need one?

In order to officially use (and to be recognized by Bulgarian official institutions) a foreign legal documents in Bulgaria, they must be first legalized. The legalization procedure shall be arranged in a way, depending on one of the following 3 options:

1) The respective foreign state (the issuer of the foreign documents) is a party to the Hague Convention. If this is the case, then the documents shall have an apostille from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the respective foreign country. Please scroll down or click here for a list of countries who have signed the Hague convention. Documents with apostille need to be translated subsequently in Bulgarian either by a consular or diplomatic official in the country where the document is issued or by a translation agency authorized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria. The translation of the documents shall be certified by "Legalizations and Certifications" Sector of the "Administrative Service of Bulgarian and foreign citizens" Directorate of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria. In case the applicant prefers, ITAP LLC can arrange the translation in Bulgaria, according to the above procedure, for a standard nominal fee.

2) Between Bulgaria and the foreign state (the issuer of the documents) exist a Legal Aid Agreement. For states with which Bulgaria has bilateral legal aid agreements with provisions for exempting the documents from legalization with apostille, documents issued by the foreign state must bear the stamp of the respective authorized institution as per the bilateral agreement. These documents will additionally require a translation which shall be certified in the same way as the documents with apostille. Please scroll down or click here for a list of countries have bilateral legal aid agreements with Bulgaria.

3) The respective foreign state does not fall in any of the first two groups. If that is the case, then the documents need to be certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the issuing state (the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the foreign country - issuer of the documents). Consequently, the stamp of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the foreign state shall be certified/legalized by the Bulgarian diplomatic or consular mission in that state. The documents will additionally require a translation which shall be certified in the same way as the documents with apostille.

N.B. In extreme cases, where due to political instability or another verifiable reason, the applicant is unable to obtain certification from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in his own country (the issuing state of the document), it may be possible for us to arrange the legalization in Bulgaria. The fee, which includes all state and other fees, for the service is EUR 245 for documents issued by states that have embassies in Bulgaria and EUR 480 if there is no Embassy of the issuing country in Bulgaria. Please note that this service will be applied only in extraordinary cases and there is no guarantee that the legalization process can be successfully administered in all cases.



Signatory states to the Hague convention abolishing the requirement of legalization for foreign public documents:
(requires apostille as per p.1 above)

Albania
Andorra
Antigua and Barbuda
Argentina
Armenia
Australia
Austria
Azerbaijan
Bahamas
Barbados
Belarus
Belgium
Belize
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Botswana
Brunei
Bulgaria
Cape Verde
China (only Hong Kong and Macao)
Colombia
Cook Islands
Croatia
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Denmark
Dominica
Dominican Republic
Ecuador
Estonia
Fiji
Finland
France
Georgia
Germany
Greece
Grenada
Honduras
Hungary
Iceland
India
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Japan
Kazakhstan
Korea
Latvia
Lesotho
Liberia
Liechtenstein
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Malawi
Malta
Marshall Islands
Mauritius
Mexico
Moldova
Monaco
Mongolia
Montenegro
Namibia
New Zealand
Niue Norway
Panama
Poland
Portugal
Romania
Russian Federation
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Lucia
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Salvador
Samoa
San Marino
Sao Tome and Principe
Serbia
Seychelles
Slovakia
Slovenia
South Africa
Spain
Suriname
Swaziland
Sweden
Switzerland
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
The Netherlands
The United States of America
Tonga
Trinidad and Tobago
Turkey
Ukraine
United Kingdom
Vanuatu
Venezuela



List of countries with which Bulgaria has signed bilateral legal assistance treaties (Legal Aid Agreements) providing for exemption of documents from legalization:
(as per p.2 above)

Austria
Algeria
Azerbaijan
Armenia
Belarus
Vietnam
Georgia
Italy
Yemen
Cyprus
People's Democratic Republic of Korea
Cuba
Kuwait
Libya
Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia
Mongolia
Poland
Romania
The Russian Federation
Syrian Arab Republic
Serbia (as well as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia and Croatia)
Uzbekistan
Ukraine
Hungary
France
Czech republic (as well as Slovakia)