Legalization, apostille and sworn translation of documents

Legalization, apostille and sworn translation of documents

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Legalization, apostille and sworn translation of documents

The documents that must be translated and legalized are: personal certificates, notarial and judicial deeds, educational qualifications or certificates obtained, documents for the circulation of means, testamentary documents.
Anyone who wants to assert an Italian document abroad or a document that comes from abroad for Italy, or a document that comes from a foreign consulate but on Italian territory, must validate the authenticity of the document.
Depending on the need, the language of translation and / or the country of destination, a sworn (or certified) translation, an apostille or legalization of the document may be required.

Sworn translation

Documents made abroad, which must be valid in Italy, must also be translated into Italian. Sworn translation is a procedure that officially certifies the correspondence between an original document and a translated text. It is done to make a document issued in Italy valid abroad or to use a document issued abroad in the original language in Italy.

The translator can be:

  • a native speaker translator (who may be the person who translated the document);
  • a professional figure (translator, interpreter, expert or other) registered in the register of technical consultants at the competent Court (see Attachments);
  • a professional figure (translator, interpreter, expert or other) registered with the Association of Experts and Experts of the competent Chamber of Commerce of Industry and Crafts

The translator, using a specific statement of asseveration (see Attachments), signs his own sworn translation assuming civil and criminal responsibility for the translation.

If the document is intended abroad, the signatures of sworn translators must be legalized by the Italian consular authority, with a separate provision. Some International Conventions make the signing of translators of certain acts, or even of any type of document, unnecessary. Among these:

  • Convention concerning the abolition of the legalization of foreign public documents (The Hague, 05/10/1961);
  • Convention relating to multilingual models of birth, marriage and death extracts (Vienna, 08/09/1976);
  • Convention relating to the certificate of marriage capacity (Monaco, 05/09/1980);
  • Convention concerning the abolition of the legalization of documents in the member states of the European communities (Brussels, 25/05/1987).

The substitutive declarations of the deed of notoriety and the oath minutes of the expert opinions and out-of-court translations are received by the Judicial Officer. The out-of-court deed can be sworn in at any Judicial Office, regardless of the place of residence of the swearing party, registration in the professional register of the expert and the subject of the deed.

See the memo on "Sworn translations and extrajudicial expert reports" in Attachments. For information, contact the Justice of the Peace Office


The translation of documents destined for abroad, legalization is required. Legalizing a document means having the signature validated.

In Italy, the legalization of documents is generally the responsibility of the Prefecture.

For the acts of notaries, judicial officials and clerks, the competence is of the Public Prosecutor of the district in which the notary or judicial office to which the official or clerk belongs is located.

Anyone wishing to legalise a documents has two options:

  • Send the document that requires legalisation to the Prefecture by post together with a stamped addressed envelope (with which the document will be returned);
  • Make an appointment and go to the Prefecture, remember to bring the residence permits of all persons on the document that requires legalisation.

Anyone wishing to legalise a document originating abroad, destined for Italy, should instead go to the diplomatic representative or Italian consulate in the country of origin. 

Documents originating abroad, that need to be valid in Italy, must be translated into Italian. The sworn signatures of the translators must be legalised by the Italian consulate authorities. Some International Conventions render the translator's signature on certain deeds, or also on every type of document, unnecessary: 

Among these: 

  • Convention regarding the abolition of Legalisation of foreign public documents L’Aja, 05/10/1961);
  • Convention regarding the plurilingual models of birth, marriage and death certificates (Vienna, 08/09/1976);
  • Convention regarding the certificate for the legal capacity to marry (Munich, 05/09/1980)
  • Convention regarding the abolition of the Legalisation of documents in EU member states (Brussels 25/05/1987)

To check if your country of origin falls within one of these Conventions, you can consult the ITRA Data Bank, a real electronic archive of the Treaties and International Conventions in force, edited by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Deeds and documents issued by a diplomatic representative or consulate in Italy, that require validity on Italian territory, must be submitted together with a revenue stamp for €16.


Documents that are made or that must be valid in one of the countries of the Convention concerning the abolition of the legalization of foreign public documents (The Hague, 05/10/1961), must have an apostille. The apostille replaces legalization.

The apostille is an annotation, with a specific stamp, placed on the original document.

Those who come from one of the states of the Hague Convention of 5 October 1961, must go to the competent internal authority, chosen by each adhering country, and have the apostille put on

To check which authority, in your country, is in charge of affixing the apostille, you can visit the website of the Hague Conference on Private International Law, an inter-governmental organization based in The Hague, established in 1893 and become, over time, a center for international judicial and administrative cooperation in the field of private international law.


Directly to the Prefecture Offices:

Switchboard: 0574 4301
Office Number: 0574 430245

P.E.C .:
Information and legalization appointments:

At the moment, the reception of the public takes place only after an appointment agreed by telephone, at the times and days indicated on the site, on the page of the Prefecture of Prato.

Last update: venerdì 25 february 2022
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