Authentication / Legalization
Legalization / authentications provide legal security and enable international recognition of documents. The authentication of a public official document used internationally solely confirms the genuineness of the signature and the official seal and – if required under international law – the position of the person/official who has executed, issued or certified the document or the capacity in which this person acted. The attestation of a signature on a private document only confirms the genuineness of the signature on the document.
If both the state that issued the document and the “state of destination” in which the document is to be used are parties to the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents (e.g. Austria & Hong Kong) and have not raised objections to the accession of the respective other state, no diplomatic authentication/legalisation of documents for legal relations is required. In such cases, documents from the issuing state must be authenticated by provision of an “apostille” by the designated authorities of the issuing state in order that they may be used in the state of destination.