The use of foreign public documents (e.g. birth certificate, marriage certificate, high school diploma, university diploma et al) in international legal transactions requires that they be legalized, unless bilateral or multilateral treaties stipulate otherwise. Also subject to legalization are private documents that, once certified by the competent body of the country they were issued in, acquire the status of public documents. It is important to point out that legalization confirms the authenticity of the stamp and signature of the official person, not the content of the document.
The Hague Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents simplified the legalization procedure so public documents are subject to single authentication by the competent body of the country they were issued in. Information about said convention and its parties can be found at www.hcch.net
Every municipal court in Croatia will issue an Apostille only for documents issued by the bodies seated within that court’s jurisdiction, while the Ministry of Justice will issue an Apostille for documents issued by bodies within any municipal court’s jurisdiction. In practice, documents are usually authenticated by municipal courts.
However, if there is no bilateral or multilateral treaty between Croatia and the other country abolishing or simplifying the legalization, documents are subject to full legalization in which the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs is also taking part.
The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs as well as Croatian diplomatic missions/consular posts abroad are authorized to legalize documents in international legal transactions (i.e. documents issued abroad to be used in Croatia and documents issued in Croatia to be used abroad) pursuant to the Act on Legalization of Documents in International Legal Transactions (Official Gazette 53/91).
LEGALIZATION OF PUBLIC DOCUMENTS ISSUED IN CROATIA FOR USE ABROAD
Public documents issued in Croatia that a person plans to use in a foreign country have to be legalized if said country’s laws require it or if there is no bilateral or multilateral treaty between Croatia and said country abolishing or simplifying the legalization.
The stamp and signature of the body or institution that issued the documents has to be legalized in the following order:
Working hours for legalization of documents at MFEA are Monday to Thursday 9.00-11.00 and 13.00-15.00, and Fridays 9.00-12.00.
The applicant should bring the originals of the documents that are to be legalized, their unauthenticated copies and an identification document.
Pursuant to Section 56 of the Schedule to the Ordinance on Administrative Fees (Official Gazette of the Republic of Croatia 8/2017) HRK 55,00 administrative fee per one legalisation is charged in the procedure of legalization of documents at the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Croatia.
Amounts under 100 kunas (single legalization) are to be paid in revenue stamps, while amounts over HRK 100,00 are to be paid to the account of the State Budget of the Republic of Croatia, IBAN: 1210010051863000160;
For legal persons:
For physical persons:
If the country in which the applicant intends to use the document does not have a diplomatic representation to Croatia, the document (after legalization at the MFEA) is to be legalized by Croatia’s diplomatic mission to the country in which the country of destination does have a diplomatic representation, then the foreign ministry of the country in which both countries have a diplomatic representation, and then finally the diplomatic representation of the country in which the document is to be used.
LEGALIZATION OF FOREIGN PUBLIC DOCUMENTS FOR USE IN CROATIA
Public documents issued abroad can be used in Croatia (unless stipulated otherwise by bilateral or multilateral treaties) if they have been authenticated in accordance with the regulations of the country of origin and legalized by the diplomatic mission of Croatia in that country.
Or, after authentication in accordance with the regulations of the country of origin, the documents can be legalized by the diplomatic mission of that country to Croatia and certified by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs. If there is no Croatian diplomatic mission to that country, and it has no diplomatic mission to Croatia, legalization can be performed in a third country in which both countries have diplomatic missions, in the following manner: after authentication by the competent bodies of the country of origin, the document is legalized by its diplomatic mission in the third country, then the ministry of foreign affairs of the third country, and finally the diplomatic mission of Croatia to the third country.