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Authentication of Documents

Were you told that the public document you have needs to be authenticated before you send it to the Czech Republic? Here you can find out how to do it.

Authentication is the official confirmation that a stamp, seal and a signature on a public document are genuine. Authentication is often necessary for official documents to be used and recognized abroad. 

Purpose

 You were told that the public document you have needs to be authenticated before you send it to the Czech Republic and you have little or no idea what that means:

Authentication is a verification process, where the validity of an original public document (e.g. Birth, Marriage and Death Certificates, Criminal Records, University Diplomas) is verified (a proof that the document is not a fake). Basically, if you sign a power of attorney, your lawyer or a notary public verifies your signature, so the recipient of this power of attorney knows that it was really you, who signed it. Authentication of public documents is almost the same, it is a verification of a stamp, seal and a signature of the authority, which issued the document. There are two different procedures how to verify your public documents: Apostille and Superlegalization.

 

A) APOSTILLE

 

Apostille is a stamp given by a foreign authority verifying the origin of public document. Public document without an Apostille stamp is not valid in CR.

However Apostille procedure applies only for states who signed the Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents, better known as the Apostille Convention.

Apostille contains a title “APOSTILLE” and a reference to the Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents.

From the countries within the consular district of the Czech Embassy in Lusaka is a signatory to the Apostille Convention only Malawi. This means that original public documents issued in Malawi do not need to be authenticated and superlegalized, but a single Apostille stamp issued by the competent authority is sufficient.

 

B) SUPERLEGALIZATION

 

Now, you need the document from Zambia or Zimbabwe to be recognized as a valid one in the Czech Republic. Obviously, no authority abroad has a full list of all specimen stamps, seals and signatures from all countries around the world. Here in Zambia, the original document is stamped by the highest authority in the country, which is Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Zambia.

Once the Zambian MFA finishes its authentication process, the document needs to be verified again by the diplomatic or consular representative of the country, where you want to use it. This process is called "s u p e r l e g a l i z a t i o n"

The very same principle applies to documents from Zimbabwe, where the first step (authentication) is concluded by respective Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

We would like to emphasize that superlegalization can only be done on the original public document, not on a copy (certified or plain). Please note that laminated documents cannot be legalised as they cannot be stamped with a legalisation stamp. Please also note that superlegalization can only be done on a document that contains the original legalization stamp, not on a document that contains only a copy of the legalization stamp (in practice, the applicant brings the original public document to the MFA Zambia, which stamps it with the legalization stamp, and the applicant then delivers the stamped document to the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Lusaka, which does the superlegalization and, if necessary, the translation into Czech).

Superlegalization at the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Lusaka is a subject of an administrative fee (payable in cash only in ZMW). Appointment necessary, usually the same day service, personal delivery of the document is required.

In order to use your documents in the Czech Republic, they need to be officially translated to the Czech language.