Written by: Halka Jaklová
Photo by: René Jakl
In order to recognize the validity of a foreign-issued document, Czech authorities often require, in accordance with international private law and procedure, verification by the relative authority of the foreign country – so-called superlegalization.
In this process, the authenticity of signatures, official stamps, and seals on documents are verified. After that the document is stamped with a legalization clause that confirms it was issued or verified by an authorized person or office. This confirmation can be acquired directly through a request at the relevant authorities in the foreign country and then by a Czech Republic representative abroad. If you’re a Czech citizen and can’t make the request directly, the matter can be arranged through the document legalization department of the Czech Republic Ministry of Foreign Affairs consular section. But in this case you have to pay the costs incurred by the representation authority in connection with arranging higher verifications (administrative fees charged by foreign authorities, postage, etc.) plus a superlegalization fee by the Czech Republic representation authority. This fee is set in accord with the administrative fee rate list, while the legalization is governed solely by your request in terms of the number and types of documents you wish to have verified.
Before starting the entire process you should check whether the document was issued in a country with which the Czech Republic has closed an international agreement. This could involve international treaties like the “Treaty on the Cancellation of Requests for Verification of Foreign Public Documents”, dated 5 October 1961, which has been valid in the Czech Republic since 1999. This treaty superseded superlegalization for the participating countries through a special clause called an apostil. In this case, confirmation by the Czech representation authority is not required. Another key treaty for the Czech Republic in connection with this issue is the “European Treaty on the Cancellation of the Verification of Documents Prepared by Diplomatic Representatives or Consular Officers”, which can be found in Czech Law No. 287/98 Coll.
Sometimes it is not necessary to verify a document at all. This happens in cases when the Czech Republic has closed a bilateral international treaty with another country on legal assistance, which governs verification waiver. A list of these treaties can be found on the Ministry of Justice web site: www.justice.cz.