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Legalization of academic documents issued abroad

  • What does this mean?

    Legalization is a process that you have to follow if documents issued in one country are to be recognised and have validity in another.

    In the case of academic documents (certificates of grades, diplomas, etc.), legalization proves to us the existence of the institution and the programme of studies that appear on the certificate.

    Send your legalised and translated documentation via the online pre-registration platform. When you receive confirmation that it meets the requirements, you can send attested copies of the originals by post. 

The procedures for legalizing your documents depend on the agreements that your country has with Spain.

Consult the procedures for each country

Germany, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Rumania, Sweden and Cyprus; Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway; and Switzerland.

Your documents do not need to be legalized.

In these countries, the legalization is done by means of a single stamp known as an ‘apostille’ and a single signature. The competent authorities of the country recognize the signatures of the academics and affix the apostille.

The recognition and the apostille must have been affixed to the original document before you have the photocopy certified.

WARNING: It is important for the certified copy to contain ALL the stamps and signatures that are on the original certificate, even if they are on the back.

To obtain the apostille you must do the following:

  1. Recognition of the signatures by a competent body: You must take the original documents to the competent authority in your country: in the case of qualification certificates, this will probably be the Ministry of Education (although, depending on the country, it may also be the universities).
  2. Apostille: Once you have obtained the stamp recognising the signatures, you must take the same documents to the authority competent for legalizations in your country (the agreement will state which the competent authority of each country is): this authority will affix the apostille to the document.

Competent authority of the signatory countries
See an example of an apostille

Documents issued in other countries must be legalized through diplomatic channels. This sort of legalization consists of a series of stamps and signatures in which each one certifies the previous one.

The legalization must be affixed to the original document before the certified copy is made.

WARNING: It is important for the certified copy to contain ALL the stamps and signatures that are on the original certificate, even if they are on the back.

To legalize documents through diplomatic channels, you have to do the following:

  1. Recognition of the signatures by a competent body: You must take the original documents to the competent authority in your country: in the case of qualification certificates, this will probably be the Ministry of Education (although in some countries such as Japan or Brazil, it may also be the universities).
  2. Legalization by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Once you have obtained the stamp recognising the signatures, you must take the same documents to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the country where the documents were issued: this authority will affix the corresponding legalization to the document.
  3. Legalization by the Spanish consulate/embassy in the country where the documents were issued: Finally, you must take the documents to the Spanish consulate in the country where the certificates were issued so that the signature of the legalization of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs can be recognized.

See example of documents legalized through diplomatic channels