Legalisation is a procedure by which the legal qualification of the public official who signed a deed and the authenticity of his / her signature are officially attested.
In order to be valid in Italy, deeds and documents issued by foreign authorities shall be legalised by Italian diplomatic-consular Representations abroad.
These deeds and documents, except for those drafted on multilingual standard forms provided for by international Conventions, shall also be translated into Italian and declared to be in conformity with the original by an official translator or by the consular office.
In the countries that have signed the Hague Convention of October 5, 1961, abolishing the requirement of legalisation for foreign public documents, this is replaced by an “apostille”. The apostille shall be affixed by the national authority designated by each State; the apostilled document is directly recognised in the Member State of destination.
Numerous bilateral or multilateral Conventions have followed the Convention to further simplify the circulation of documents between States.
The most relevant novelty is the entry into force (in Italy, on February 16, 2019) of the EU Regulation 2016/1191, which removes the obligation to legalise – or fulfil similar procedures for – some public, administrative and notarial deeds and documents, as well as judgments issued by a Member State and to be enforced in another Member State.
Main reference legislation: Legislative Decree No. 445/2000, Articles 30-34; EU Regulation 2016/1191