Legalization of the U.S. documents Legalization of the U.S. documents

In accordance with the Hague Convention of October 5, 1961, in which both the Russian Federation and the United States of America are participants, documents authenticated by an Apostille of a participant country are exempted from validation (i.e., from verification of the authenticity of the signatures, the authority of the persons signing, and the authenticity of the seals and stamps) by the consular establishments of other participant countries.

Documents with Apostille do not require any further legalization.

The Apostille is a stamp established by the Hague Convention, placed in documents by a competent authority of the country in which the document was issued. In the USA, the Apostille is placed by a Secretary of State.

The Secretary of State contact information and fees information are available at:
http://travel.state.gov/law/hague_foreign_docs.html (State Authentication Authorities Section).

The following documents are considered official documents in accordance with the Hague Convention (documents for public use), and an Apostille may be placed in them:

  • Documents issued by organizations or officials associated; with courts or state tribunals, including documents issued
    by a public prosecutor, court secretary, or bailiff;
  • Documents of administrative (executive) authorities;
  • Documents certified by a notary public;
  • Official validating endorsements, placed on documents signed by individuals acting in a personal capacity, such as official certificates of the registration of a document or of its existence on the date indicated, as well as official and notarial verifications of signatures.

The Hague Convention does not cover the following documents:

  • Documents issued by officials of diplomatic missions or consular establishments;
  • Documents of administrative authorities that have direct bearing on commercial transactions or customs operations;
  • IDs.

Please be advised that according to the established common practice, official organizations in the Russian Federation may not accept foreign corporate documents if they are not legalized by consular offices of the Russian Federation in the countries where the documents originated. Furthermore, due to the different forms of execution of Apostille in Russia (seal) and in the United States (certificate), receiving organizations in Russia may ask for additional proof of proper legalization.

In view of the above, it is advised that the corporate documents intended for use in Russia must be certified as to proper legalization at the consular offices of the Russian Federation.