Legalisation of documents for use abroad

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs legalises documents issued in Finland which are to be presented to the authorities in another country. Documents are legalised with a stamp confirming that the signature on the document is authentic. Legalisation is carried out in English.

See visiting address: Contact information.

Visiting hours: Monday – Thursday 9.00 – 11.00
Hours of telephone service: Monday – Thursday 12.30 – 14.00
Customer service is closed on Fridays.

Switchboard: + 358 295 16001

What does legalisation mean?

Legalisation means that the Ministry for Foreign Affairs authenticates the signature and stamp on the Finnish document, as well as the position of the signatory. Legalisation does not take a stand on the contents of the document. After the document has been legalised by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, it is usually certified by the diplomatic mission in Helsinki of the country in which the document will be used.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs does not issue Apostille certificates. These should be sought from the notary public at the local register office.

What must I do and how much does it cost?

The cost for legalisation, including the signature and stamp, is EUR 20 per document.

At the most six documents may be certified while waiting.

You can pay the fee using a bankcard or credit card (not in cash) or pay it in advance to the ministry's bank account.

Include your name, address and phone number so you can be contacted, if needed.

Please do not send cash. The documents will be returned cash on delivery, meaning that you pay for them when collecting the letter from your post office.

If you send documents by post they will be returned to you cash on delivery or registered only to an address in Finland. A separate postal fee is not collected for the return mail.

If you pay for legalisation using bank transfer, write “Legalisation” in the message field shown to the recipient and include a receipt of the payment in your letter.

If you are unable to personally take care of the legalisation matter, you can ask your contact person, relative or acquaintance to handle it for you.

Bank transfer details:

Pohjola IBAN FI20 5000 0120 2508 64 BIC:OKOYFIHH
Nordea IBAN FI36 1660 3000 1069 74 BIC:NDEAFIHH
Danske Bank IBAN FI59 8919 9710 0004 76 BIC:DABAFIHH

Account holder:
Ministry for Foreign Affairs
PO Box 176

What documents does the Ministry for Foreign Affairs legalise?

  • Documents issued by the Finnish authorities
  • Extracts from registers and documents issued, for example, by the police
  • Marriage certificates and certificates of non-impediment
  • Diplomas from higher education institutions
  • Documents signed by a notary public
  • Documents signed by a chamber of commerce
  • Documents issued by an employment office or the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela)
  • Translations by authorised translators (a list of authorised translators is available from the Finnish National Agency for Education)

Each document for which legalisation is sought must have a stamp and the official’s signature and print name.

How long does it take for documents to be legalised?

Documents submitted by mail arrive in approximately one week.

What documents must the notary public verify before they can be legalised by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs?

  • Copies
  • Documents issued by private persons
  • Powers of attorney
  • Documents issued by banks, lawyers and private companies
  • Diplomas issued by institutions other than universities and universities of applied sciences
  • Documents translated by persons other than authorised translators

Can the Ministry for Foreign Affairs decide which documents must be legalised?

No, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs has no say in this matter. The decision can only be made by an official or diplomatic mission of the foreign (destination) country.

My document needs to be translated before it can be legalised. Can the Ministry for Foreign Affairs take care of this?

No, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs does not translate documents.

Documents must be translated by an authorised translator and certified by the translator’s signature and stamp. Translations by authorised translators can be confirmed by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

The Finnish National Agency for Education: Register of authorised translators

Who issues Apostille certificates?

Apostille certificates are issued by the notary public at the local register office.

A document certified by an Apostille does not require other legalisation measures. A list of the countries that have acceded to the Hague Convention is available on the website of the local register offices.