Apostille, superlegalization and verification of documents in Czechia
Transferring an official document between countries often requires some sort of authentication of its legitimacy and validity. The specific type of authentication needed depends on its purpose, issuing authority, document destination and bi-lateral agreements between concerned countries.
Apostille is a higher level of authentication of documents which is necessary in the case when a certified document is submitted on the territory of a foreign state which is a party to the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement for Legalization for Foreign Public Documents adopted on 05.10.1961.
An Apostille is needed when using a document in other country, e.g. diplomas, birth certificates, deeds, extracts from registers, powers of attorney, marriage certificates, birth certificates, extracts from the Commercial Register, extracts from the Penal Register, sentences, certificates etc. Apostille is affixed in the official language of the state where the documents were issued; sometimes it is bilingual (the most often second language is English). Therefore certified translation is necessary for submission of the documents in the country of destination; the translation must meet the requirements of equivalent transfer of the content from the source language to the language of the recipient country.
Each country designated its competent authorities which issue an Apostille. The list of the authorities can be found at the web page of the Apostille Convention including the list of countries which are party of the Apostille convention: http://www.hcch.net. It can be a ministry, a court or other state authority. The Apostille on Czech documents can be obtained at the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs or at the Czech Ministry of Justice depending of the document.
If you want to get a Czech Apostille on your diploma, you must first legalize your Diploma at the Czech Ministry of Education, which consists of getting of a stamp certifying the authenticity of your diploma. Once you have had your diploma legalized at the Ministry of Education, take it to the Legalization Office at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which will issue the Apostille.
Documents from countries which are not party to the Apostille convention have to be superlegalized, i.e. they need diplomatic or consular legalization so that they can be used abroad (e.g. in the Czech Republic documents from Canada, Pakistan, Vietnam, etc.). In addition, you might need Czech documents to be superlegalized for the use in foreign countries which are not party to the Apostille convention.
Superlegalization/legalization is a higher verification of a document legalized and authentified in the country of origin. The first step to get a document superlegalized is notarization (by a notary public), second is the authentication (by the state organ/agency that holds records of registered notaries public) and third is superlegalization. The superlegalization is done at the Embassy of the Czech Republic, which by means of a stamp, verifies that the foreign document was issued by a relevant authorized organ.
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Superlegalization of Czech documents is carried out by a state administrative body which is superior to the body that issued the document. It is followed by further authentication of the signature and the official stamp of this superior state administrative body by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic.