Company formation and accounting in Latvia
Last updated: 2015-11-12
Legalization of documents is a process to ensure the authenticity of public documents (to confirm that the signature and stamp is authentic). With legalization a governmental official certifies signature and seal of another official (for example, notary, judge) and also certify legal status of the another official. Aim of legalization is ensure that public documents written (prepared) in one country have legal force in another country.

The authenticity of the documents is important, for example, if you want to register a company in Latvia and you do not want to arrive to Latvia. If you need to submit to the Register of Enterprises a public document that is issued in a foreign country, then the Register of Enterprises must be sure about the authenticity of the document. For example, to register company, the founder of the company must certify the signature before a sworn notary in another country. In this case, the Register of Enterprises need to be sure that the document is issued by a public notary of a particular country. Register of Enterprises checks (examines) the authenticity of documents in accordance with legislation.

Legalization of documents in Latvia regulates the law "On Legalization of documents" and rules of the Cabinet of Ministers "The rules on the legalization of public documents". Legalization and Apostille is not required if a public document is issued in a country, - member of the European Union, the European Economic Area or Swiss Confederation. Also, legalization and Apostille is not required if the document is issued in a country with which the Republic of Latvia signed an agreement on the recognition of public documents.

Public document under the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents is:
  • Document issued by the authority or official who is related to the state courts or tribunals, including documents that are issued by the prosecutor, court clerk or the bailiff.
  • Administrative document.
  • Notarial Act (document, certified by sworn notary).
  • Official certification on documents signed by a private person. For example, official confirmation of registration of a document or the fact that certain document existed at a certain date, or official and notarial confirmation of the authenticity of a signature.

If a public document issued in the country - party of the Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents, then Apostille is required for the document.

If a public document issued by a country that is not a party to the Hague Convention and country is not a member of the EU and country has not concluded special agreement with the Republic of Latvia, then legalization of the document is necessary.

Legalization of public documents issued in a foreign country and intended for use in the Republic of Latvia is made by the authorized officials of the diplomatic and consular service. These officials are the officials of the Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as officials of the diplomatic and consular representations of Latvia.

To legalize a document issued in a foreign country need to submit it to the diplomatic or consular representation of Latvia in a foreign country. Consular officer within two working days makes the inscription of legalization and confirms it by the seal and signature and returns the document to the applicant.

How to legalize (Apostille) documents issued in the Republic of Latvia?

  • Take your passport and the document itself and go to the the Consular department of ministry of Foreign affairs of the Republic of Latvia. In Riga, the address is Elizabetes street 57.
  • Fill special application.
  • Pay state fee (you can pay it before the visit by bank transfer or during the visit using your bank card).
  • Submit application and the document to the governmental officer. Show your passport or other identification document.
All submitted documents must comply with legislation requirements.

Usually you can get legalized document (or Apostille) after 2 working days.

Application of the "Convention Abolishing the Legalization of Documents Between the Member States of the European Communities" in Latvia

Since 31 October, 2010 Latvia applies the convention for Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, France, Ireland, Italy. It means that public documents issued in Latvia have legal force in before mentioned countries without legalization and "Apostille".

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