Legalisation and Translation of documents

As a rule, foreign documents submitted in Estonia as proof of a family event must be either legalised or apostilled, depending on the country. The legalisation requirement applies to documents from countries that have not acceded to the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents.

Estonia has also concluded other international agreements that further simplify the requirements of foreign documents. Estonia has concluded agreements of legal assistance with Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine. The family event certificates of these countries do not need to be legalised or apostilled.

The CIEC certificate

Estonia has acceded to the CIEC (International Commission on Civil Status Conventions) Convention on the Issue of Multilingual Extracts from Civil Status Records, signed in 1976 in Vienna. Under the Convention, countries including Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cabo Verde, Spain, the Netherlands, Croatia, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Portugal, France, Romania, Germany, Serbia, Slovenia, Switzerland and Turkey accept a specific certificate format (for births, deaths and marriages) that is multilingual and does not therefore require further translation or apostille authentication.

The Estonian authorities that can issue the certificates under the Convention include local governments of the county center and the Tallinn Vital Statistics Office. The state fee for issuing the certificate is 10 euros.  Estonian authorities recognise the Convention format certificates issued by the above mentioned parties to the Convention without the need for translations, legalization or apostilles.

When do you need to contact a sworn translator?

You need to contact a sworn translator when you have to submit an official or certified translation of an educational document, registry statement or certificate, court decision, notarial instrument or any other documents to foreign or Estonian authorities. As of 1 January 2015, only sworn translators make official translations from the Estonian language into foreign languages in Estonia. Until 2020, notaries also issue translations from foreign languages into Estonian alongside sworn translators but as of 1 January 2020 the exclusive competence to make all official translations transfers to sworn translators exclusively.

Sworn translators are competent to:

  • Translate documents
  • Make certified copies or printouts of documents they translate
  • Advise clients and arrange the authentication of documents to be translated or translations with an apostille
  • Translate laws and international agreements

Sworn translator’s fee is subject to agreement.

Find licensed sworn translators contacts on the website of Ministry of Justice of Estonia.