A foreign document is not immediately acceptable by Italian authorities as a legal instrument. Therefore, it is necessary to prove that the document was issued, certified, or executed by a public authority.

When the legal instrument originates with a foreign public authority, additional steps may be needed to have such an authority recognized, depending on the international agreements in force between Italy and that authority’s state. Also, for use in Italy, any foreign legal document is required to have an Italian legal translation.

Likewise, to use an Italian legal instrument overseas, it must comply with the international formalization rules and procedures in force in the country where the document is to be used.


The Apostille is a certificate issued by the competent authority in each of the countries that were part of the international Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents, which concluded on October 5, 1961. Drafted by the Hague Conference on Private International Law, the Apostille abolished the legalization requirement for foreign public documents.

This certificate authenticates the seal and signature of the country’s authority for issuing a legal instrument, in order for it to be validly used in other countries that participated in the international convention.

Check here if both countries involved in the process are Hague Conference members.


Documents originating in countries that were not part of the 1961 Hague Conference must be authenticated by the diplomatic or consular authority of the target country in order for the document to be validly used in another country, whether it was a convention member or not.

The legalization certifies that the authority issuing a document has legal quality and that its signature and/or stamp are verified. However, some bilateral or multilateral conventions may be exempt from any international authentication process.

At Studio Legale Stornelli, we assist our Italian and international clients with all international formalization procedures for any legal instrument (e.g., certificates, wills, notarial acts, court orders, etc.) originating abroad to be used in Italy and vice versa.

Contact us to discuss your individual case and get a free quote for our services.

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