Universitat Rovira i Virgili

Access and Enrolment - Legalization of academic documents issued abroad

Document legalisation allows documents issued in one country to be recognised and valid in other countries.

In the case of academic documents (transcripts, degree certificates, etc.), legalisation verifies the existence of the institution and the courses or academic programmes that appear on the certificate.

The procedures for legalising your documents depend on your country's agreements with Spain.

A. Member States of the European Union and signatories of the Agreement on the European Economic Area or of a bilateral agreement with the European Union:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom; Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway; and Switzerland.

You do not need to legalise your documents.

B. Countries that have signed the Hague Convention of 05/10/1961: check whether your country is a signatory.

In these countries, the legalisation is performed by a single stamp called the Apostille and a single signature. The competent authorities of the country recognise the signatures of the academic authorities and grant the Apostille.

The recognition and the Apostille must appear on the original document before the certified copy is made.

PLEASE NOTE: The certified copy must show all the stamps and signatures that appear on the original certificate, even if they are on the back of the document.

The steps required to obtain the Apostille are the following:

  1. Recognition of signatures by the competent body: You must take the original documents to the competent authority in your country. For documents proving academic qualifications, it will probably be the Ministry of Education (but it may also be the universities, depending on the country)

  2. The Apostille: When you have obtained the formal recognition of the signatures, you must take the documents to the competent authority for legalisation in your country (The Hague Agreement states the competent authority of each country). This authority will stamp the document with the Apostille.

  3. The competent authority of the signatory countries.

  4. See a sample Apostille 

C. Other countries

Documents issued in other countries must be legalised through diplomatic channels. This type of legalisation is a chain of stamps and signatures, each of which certifies the previous stamp and signature.

The legalisation must appear on the original document before a certified copy is made.

PLEASE NOTE: The certified copy must show all the stamps and signatures that appear on the original certificate, even if they are on the back of the document.

To legalise documents through diplomatic channels, you must take the following three steps:

  1. Formal recognition of signatures: You must take the original documents to the competent authority in your country. For documents proving academic qualifications, it will probably be the Ministry of Education (but it may also be the universities, as in Japan and Brazil, for example).
  2. Legalisation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Once you have obtained the formal recognition of the signatures, you must take the documents to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the country that issued the documents. This ministry will place the stamp of legalisation on the document.
  3. Legalisation at the Spanish consulate or embassy in the country where the documents were issued: Finally, you must go to the Spanish consulate in the country where you obtained the qualification to obtain recognition of the signature of the legalisation by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

See a sample document legalised through diplomatic channels