Authentication (legalisation) of documents
Instructions and information about the procedures of legalisation of documents for its use abroadLegalisation of documents for the purpose of their use abroad is necessary when the beneficiary intends to use documents issued by the competent authorities of one country and valid on the territory thereof (e.g. copies of civil status records, data from registers, records, certificates, powers of attorney, diplomas, certified copies, etc.) before a competent authority on the territory of another country for the purpose of exercising a right or meeting an obligation.
Please note that these instructions and information do not apply to the procedures of recognition of the court decisions and judgements rendered by the courts of the Republic of Croatia on the territories of other countries.
The legalisation procedure for such documents is regulated by special regulations in three different ways:
- under the provisions of the Act on the Legalisation of Documents in International Legal Transactions – “full legalisation”,
- under the provisions of the Hague Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents (the Apostille Convention) – legalisation with an Apostille certificate, and
- under the provisions of Regulation (EU) 2016/1191 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 July 2016 on promoting the free movement of citizens by simplifying the requirements for presenting certain public documents in the European Union and amending Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012 – for the Member States of the European Union.
Furthermore, documents may be exempt from legalisation i.e. from additional authentication of the signature and stamp of the issuing/certifying authority in cases where there is a valid bilateral treaty between the Republic of Croatia and the country concerned providing for such dispensation.
For the list of countries for which legalisation of documents is not required, please refer to paragraph V below.
- Full legalisation of documents is a procedure applied in cases where documents issued in the Republic of Croatia need additional authentication for their use in a country which is not party to the above mentioned 1961 Apostille Convention or a country which is not party to a bilateral treaty with the Republic of Croatia providing for a dispensation from legalisation of documents, and if the document concerned is not covered by the above Regulation.
- Legalisation with an Apostille certificate is a simplified procedure of document authentication, applied in accordance with the provisions of the mentioned 1961 Apostille Convention, and is applicable only for the countries which, like Croatia, are party to said Convention.
- Regulation 2016/1191provides for a complete dispensation from legalisation of the documents listed in the Regulation and issued by the competent authorities of each Member State, and the dispensation is only valid on the territory of the EU and between the authorities of Member States.
For further information about the application of the Regulation, please refer to paragraph III below.
Full text of the Regulation is available here.
I. Legalisation procedure under the Act on the Legalisation of Documents in International Legal Transactions – “full legalisation”;
- Upon notarisation of signature (powers of attorney, copies, etc.), authentication of the issued document by the competent authority of the Republic of Croatia (registry offices, higher education institutions) or translation certified by a court interpreter, such documents must be legalised by the locally competent municipal court in Croatia where the signature of the official/authorised person who authenticated the document with official signature and stamp is deposited;
- upon legalisation of the document by a municipal court in Croatia, the judge's signature and court stamp must be legalised by the Ministry of Justice and Public Administration of the Republic of Croatia at the following address: Ulica grada Vukovara 49, 10 000 ZAGREB;
- the official signature and stamp of the Ministry of Justice and Public Administration must be legalised by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Croatia at the following address: Petretićev trg 2, 10 000 ZAGREB;
- finally, the official signature and stamp of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs must be legalised at a foreign diplomatic mission to Croatia of a country the document is intended to be used in.
Working hours for legalization of documents at the Ministry of Justice and Public Administration are:
Monday through Thursday, 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., and Fridays 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.
The same working hours apply to the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs..
II: Legalisation procedure under the Hague Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents (the Apostille Convention) – legalisation with an Apostille certificate;
- Upon notarisation of signature (powers of attorney, copies, etc.), authentication of the issued document by the competent authority of the Republic of Croatia (registry offices, higher education institutions, etc.) or translation certified by a court interpreter, such documents must be legalised with an Apostille stamp by the locally competent municipal court in Croatia where the signature of the official/authorised person who authenticated the document with official signature and stamp is deposited,
- documents with an affixed Apostille stamp may be used in any country party to the 1961 Hague Convention, without any further authentication requirements.
All of the above authentications must be requested from each competent authority in person. If you are prevented from doing so, you can entrust a relative or a person of trust with the relevant document(s) and have them obtain the legalisation from the court and ministries on your behalf.
III. Legalisation procedure for documents covered by Regulation (EU) 2016/1191 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 July 2016 on promoting the free movement of citizens by simplifying the requirements for presenting certain public documents in the European Union and amending Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012 - for EU Member States only
The Republic of Croatia applies the Regulation on public documents to the following documents:
- birth certificate
- death certificate
- marriage certificate
- single status certificate
- life partnership certificate
- certificate of domicile/residence
- certificate of good conduct (criminal record certificate)
Documents are issued by competent authorities and require no further legalisation by a municipal court in Croatia for the purpose of their use on the territory of the EU, e.g. no need to have a civil registry document authenticated by a municipal court.
NB: The Regulation does not apply to copies (excerpts) from civil registers, which are subject to legalisation (e.g. difference between a copy from the birth register and a birth certificate).
Under the Regulation, you can request from the authority issuing any of the above documents a multilingual standard form in the language of the EU Member State in which you intend to use the document to avoid translation requirements.
The Regulation applies to all EU Member States, and further information is available here.
- Municipal courts charge the following fees for the legalization procedure (full legalisation or Apostille):
- for each original document – 50.00 HRK
- for each translation of the original – 60.00 HRK
- As of 1 September 2021, pursuant to the Administrative Fee Rates Decree, the legalisation procedure at the Ministry of Justice and Public Administration is not subject to a fee.
- The fee of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs for the legalisation procedure is 55.00 HRK for each authentication.
Fees up to HRK 100.00 are paid in government stamps, and fees above HRK 100.00 are to be transferred to the account of the State Budget of the Republic of Croatia:
For the payment of fees to the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, please use the following credit reference number:
5002 - 721 – (OIB of the party)
For additional information on the legalisation procedure at the Ministry of Justice and Public Administration please contact us at +385 (0)1 3714 000 Tuesdays 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
For additional information on the legalisation procedure at the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, please contact the Ministry at +385 (0)1 4599 410 or +385 (0)1 4599 400, or visit here.
V. List of countries requiring no legalisation of documents
Legalisation of documents will not be required for countries party to bilateral treaties with Croatia on international legal assistance, specifically:
- Belgium *
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Czech Republic
- Greece **
- Italy ***
- North Macedonia
- Russian Federation
- Slovak Republic ****
- Turkey *****
* Art. 10 of the Treaty on Legal Assistance in Civil and Commercial Matters between SFRY and the Kingdom of Belgium, Belgrade, 24 September 1971 provides for dispensation for specific documents, as follows:
To be able to use files or documents produced, issued or authenticated by the courts of one of the two countries in judicial affairs on the territory of the other country, they shall require no legalisation or other similar formalities, provided that they bear a court stamp. This shall also apply to files or documents signed by an authorised court official if their signature is sufficient under the law of the country where the court is located."
Furthermore, Article 1 of the Convention of 24 September 1971 on the Issuance of Excerpts from Civil Status Records and Dispensation from Legalisation stipulates that the dispensation from further authentication applies to: excerpt from the register of births, certificate of stillbirth, declaration of acknowledgement of paternity or court decision establishing paternity of a child born out of wedlock, excerpt from the register of marriages, excerpt from the register of deaths, documents or decisions on civil status matters: divorce, adoption, legitimation by adoption, etc.
** Article 29 of the Convention between FPRY and the Kingdom of Greece on Mutual Legal Relations, Athens, 18 June 1959 defines the term of a public document more narrowly, as documents produced and issued by "judicial authorities" and "administrative authorities".
*** *** under Article 19, 20 and 21 of the Convention of 3 December 1960 between FPRY and the Italian Republic on mutual legal assistance in civil and administrative matters, only specified documents are exempt from legalisation;
"A civil status document within the meaning of Articles 17 and 18 shall mean:
1) document from the birth record;
2) declaration about stillbirth;
3) certificate of adoption of out-of-wedlock children, composed by registrars;
4) document from the marriage record;
5) document from the death record;
6) registration of judgements or decisions on divorce, separation, nullity or annulment of marriage in civil status records;
7) registration of orders, judgements or decisions on civil status in civil status records;
8) single status certificate;
9) declaration made by the competent authorities of a Contracting Party that there are no obstacles to the marriage of a citizen of that Party on the territory of the other Party.
The documents listed below, composed by the authorities of the two Contracting Parties, shall be recognised as evidence without legalisation, until proven otherwise, on the respective territories of the parties:
1) formal copies of civil status documents listed in Article 19 above;
2) formal copies of decisions, orders, judgements, and other court documents issued by the competent authorities of the two countries;
3) written statements and court documents registered or deposited with those authorities;
4) notarial deeds;
5) life certificates for beneficiaries of lifetime pensions;
6) copies and translations of documents 1-5 above, if certified by competent authorities.
Documents listed in Article 20 above should bear the signature and official stamp of the authority competent for their issuance, and formal copies should be certified by the authority concerned. In any case, their contents shall make their authenticity evident.”
**** By a Note issued on 29 April 2013, the Ministry of Justice of the Slovak Republic limited the application of Article 15 of the Treaty of 20 January 1964 between SFRY and Czechoslovakia Regulating Legal Relations in Civil, Family and Criminal Matters, which reads:
(1) Documents issued or certified by a competent authority of a Contracting Party, bearing the official stamp and signature, can be used on the territory of the other Contracting Party without further authentication. This shall also apply to the copies of translations of documents which are certified by the competent authority.
(2) Documents which are considered public documents on the territory of one Contracting Party shall also have the probative force of a public document on the territory of the other Contracting Party. “,
by stating that the above Article provides for a dispensation from legalisation only if the documents are issued by the authorities which handle matters covered by the bilateral treaty, i.e. authorities handling civil, family and criminal matters (judicial authorities).
Under the same note, for documents produced by authorities other than the judicial ones, e.g. documents submitted in administrative matters for application in administrative procedure before the competent authorities of the Slovak Republic, and for private documents (e.g. notarised power of attorney), an Apostille certificate is required.
***** According to reports by parties in several procedures related to dispensation from legalisation under the Treaty between the Republic of Croatia and the Republic of Turkey on Legal Assistance in Civil and Commercial Matters, signed in Ankara on 10 February 1999, they have experienced some difficulties with the competent Turkish authorities; therefore, when invoking this Treaty, please take the precaution of seeking information from the competent Turkish authority in advance about the application of the Treaty for the specific purpose, and for additional safety, we recommend that you obtain an Apostille certificate.
VI. List of countries requiring the Apostille formality:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- The Bahamas
- Brunei Darussalam
- Cabo Verde
- Costa Rica
- Cook Islands
- Dominican Republic
- El Salvador
- Hong Kong
- Marshall Islands
- The Netherlands
- New Zealand
- The Philippines
- Saint Christopher and Nevis
- Saint Lucia
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- San Marino
- São Tomé and Príncipe
- Saudi Arabia - as of 7 December 2022
- Slovak Republic
- South Africa
- The Seychelles
- Trinidad and Tobago
- United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
- United States of America
VII. Additional information:
Parties have contacted us to report that specific countries i.e. their competent authorities refuse to issue the Apostille certificate on request if the country concerned is party to a bilateral treaty with the Republic of Croatia which provides for dispensation from legalisation of documents. However, Article 5 of the Hague Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents stipulates that the certificate shall be issued at the request of the party, so the competent authority of the issuing country must not refuse to affix the Apostille certificate to the document if all the requirements for such authentication as stipulated by the Convention have been met.