Legalisation of documents for use abroad

When a document issued in Finland must be presented for authorities abroad, you can ask the Ministry for Foreign Affairs to legalise the document. The purpose of legalisation is to authenticate the signature and certify the position of the authority that has issued the document. This is done in English.

Each document must be signed by a public official and include the signatory's name in block letters. Having legalised your document at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, you must submit it for confirmation at the diplomatic mission of the country in Helsinki in which you will use the documents.

The street address and office hours are given on the Contact information page.

Documents legalised at the Foreign Ministry

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs legalises

  • documents issued by the Finnish authorities
  • the position and signature of a Notary Public
  • extracts from registers and, for example, documents granted by the police
  • certificates of non-impediment and marriage certificates
  • university, high school and university of applied sciences diplomas
  • documents granted and signed by a chamber of commerce
  • translations made by authorised translators. A list of authorised translators is available on the website of the Finnish National Agency for Education.

Documents that are not legalised at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs does no legalise documents that will be presented to the authorities of countries that have ratified the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents of 5 October 1961 (The Hague Apostille Convention). In this case, a so-called Apostille is needed, granted by a Notary Public at a local register office. Read more on the website of Local Register Offices.

Documents with an Apostille stamp are valid for legal purposes in the countries that have signed The Hague Apostille Convention and do not need to be presented for legalisation at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs does not legalise foreign documents.

Documents that must be certified by a Notery Public before thet can be legalised at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs

  • copies of documents
  • documents issued by private persons
  • powers of attorney
  • documents issued by banks, attorneys, and private companies
  • diplomas granted by educational institutions except those granted by universities, high schools and universities of applied sciences
  • documents translated by persons who are not authorised translators.

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

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs cannot decide which documents must be legalised. The decision can only be made by an official or diplomatic mission of the foreign country (country of destination).

Getting your document legalised

You can get your document legalised at the Customer Service of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Helsinki or send it for legalisation by post. If you are unable to handle the matter in Finland yourself, you can ask a contact person, relative or friend to do it for you.

Getting your document legalised at the Foreign Ministry's Customer Service

Bring the documents for legalisation to the Customer Service of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. You do not need to make an appointment. A maximum of six documents can be authenticated while waiting.

A fee of EUR 20 per one document is charged at the Customer Service. You can use a debit or credit card.

Getting your document legalised by post

Send your documents to the Customer Service of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs together with your contact details: name, address, phone number and email address.

The fee is EUR 20 per one document. The documents will be returned to you by cash on delivery (C.O.D.), that is, you will pay the fee when collecting the letter from your post office. NOTE We send documents only to addresses in Finland. You will receive your documents back approximately in a week.