Apostille or legalization - what do I need?

Apostille

Apostille is a type of simplified document authentication procedure, for those documents which are to be used abroad. The legal basis providing for the use of Apostilles is laid down in Article 3 and Article 4 of the Hague Convention of 1961 (the Convention abolishing the requirement to legalize foreign official documents, developed at The Hague on October 5, 1961 (Journal of Laws of 2005 No. 112, item 938). In practice, it consists in obtaining a special stamp on public documents or in attaching the clause to the document on a slip of paper. When the procedure has been completed, the document may be freely and, most importantly, lawfully used in another state.

  • An up-to-date list of states parties to the Hague Convention of 1961 is available on the HCCH website.

How to apostille a foreign document?

Each state which is a party to the Hague Convention designates its own authorities, which are competent to issue Apostilles. The list of state institutions which issue Apostilles is available on the HCCH website. 

Legalization

Legalisation is done in case of documents issued in state that is not a party to the above mentioned Hague Convention. 

The legalization can be done by:

  1. The consul of the Republic of Poland for the state within whose education system or on whose territory the certificate was issued;
  2. Education authorities of the state on whose territory or within whose education system the certificate was issued;
  3. Diplomatic representation or consular post of the state on whose territory or within whose education system the certificate was issued, accredited in the Republic of Poland or a Member State of the European Union or the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) – a party to the European Economic Area agreement or a Member State of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

List of Poland's missions abroad