Legalising documents abroad

The Finnish authorities may ask you to legalise a foreign document. This should be done in the country where the document was issued.

In order for a document issued abroad by a foreign authority (except in the Nordic countries) to have the intended legal effect in Finland, the document must be legalised. In principle, the Finnish diplomatic or consular mission in the country in question can legalise a document or certificate issued by the Foreign Ministry of the district of the mission

The legalisation of the document confirms that the authority of the issuing country has had the power to issue the certificate in the country in question.


If the country in question has signed the Hague Convention of 1961, the document can be legalised using an Apostille. For more information about Apostille certificates and the authorities that issue them, visit to another website.) (Opens New Window).

Certain public documents in the European Union are accepted without an Apostille according to a EU Regulation.

If the document was issued in a country that is not a party to the Apostille Convention, the legalisation process is as follows:

  1. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the issuing country certifies that the document is genuine and has been issued by its authority
  2. The competent Finnish mission in the country legalises the document by appending to it a certificate proving the right of the official at the country’s ministry for foreign affairs to issue such certificates.