Legalisation of Hungarian public documents for use abroad

As a general rule, Hungarian public documents intended for use abroad must be legalised, unless otherwise stipulated by a treaty.

Kulcsszavak: legalisation, apostille, bilateral treaty on mutual legal assistance, use of Hungarian public documents abroad

Legalisation has been introduced in international practices to allow foreign parties to ascertain the authenticity of a public document issued in another country. The body legalising the document compares the signature and stamp or seal on the original document attached to the application with the one on its own records, and if it finds no difference between the two, it affixes a certificate of legalisation to it. This certifies to a foreign user that the signature and stamp or seal on the public document are genuine.

You can request the legalisation of Hungarian public documents for use abroad by submitting the corresponding application form.  The application form which you can access and fill out online on the Konzinfo Start (Konzinfo Ügysegéd) website: https://konzinfostart.mfa.gov.hu and sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Legalization requests may be submitted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in person or by post:

 a) in person: only after booking an online appointment. You must print and sign the application form to present in person.

b) by post: you must attach the printed and signed application form and the printed official notice of a bank transaction and your original documents and mail it to the address of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The application must include:

a) the name, residence and registered office of the applicant,

b) the name of the body or person that issued the public document you wish to have legalised,

c) the reference number or any other identification data of the public document you wish to have legalised, and

d) the country where the public document you wish to have legalised will be used.

You must attach the original document you wish to have legalised to your application or, if it is in electronic format, a certified hard copy thereof.

There is no statutory sanction.

Applications are processed in accordance with the relevant provisions of Act CL of 2016 on the Code of General Administrative Procedure, pursuant to which complete applications must be processed within 8 days provided that the authority can verify the facts presented based on the data available to it (for full-length procedures, when the facts cannot be verified, the deadline is 60 days).

The legalisation of public documents costs HUF 5 500 per signature to be legalised.

Depending on the country in which they are intended to be used, public documents are grouped into two categories: those to be certified with an apostille certificate, and those that require ‘traditional’ ministerial legalisation. For countries that are party to the Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents signed on 5 October 1961 in the Hague (hereinafter ‘the Apostille Convention’), the Consular and Citizenship Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade attaches an apostille certificate to the documents covered by Decree Law No 11 of 1973 promulgating the Apostille Convention in Hungary.

For countries that are not party to the Apostille Convention, the Consular and Citizenship Department performs the ministerial legalisation of documents. In such cases, the document must thereafter also be legalised by the diplomatic mission accredited to Hungary of the country in which the document will be used.

Under the provisions of Act CL of 2016 on the Code of General Administrative Procedure, parties may take administrative action against the final decision.

Parties may apply to a court with jurisdiction over administrative proceedings if they seek the review of an administrative decision (e.g. if an administrative body fails to meet its procedural obligations). As a general rule, the claim initiating the proceedings must be filed with the administrative body that dealt with the case.

The Consular Protection Act designates the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade as the body responsible for legalising Hungarian public documents for use abroad; the Minister has delegated this power to the Legalisation Service of the Consular and Citizenship Department. Legalisation by the minister responsible for foreign affairs is an act of public authority under the Consular Protection Act.

Certain treaties grant exemption from the mandatory legalisation of Hungarian public documents for use abroad. There are two groups of treaties:

a) The Apostille Convention (promulgated by Decree Law No 11 of 1973). The apostille certificate governed by the Convention certifies the authenticity of the signature and the seal or stamp of the body/authority that issued the document, and the capacity in which the person signing the document was acting. There is no need for legalisation by diplomatic missions in the signatory states; instead, such states authorise one or more usually central bodies (e.g. a ministry) to issue the apostille certificate. In Hungary, Decree Law No 11 of 1973 promulgating the Convention designates three bodies that can issue apostille certificates: the minister responsible for justice, the Hungarian Chamber of Notaries Public and the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade.

For the list of countries party to the Apostille Convention and the contact details of the authorities that can issue apostille certificates, see the website below:

https://www.hcch.net/en/instruments/specialised-sections/apostille.

b) Bilateral treaties on mutual legal assistance. These treaties usually stipulate that even in the absence of legalisation, documents issued by a competent authority of either signatory state have the same probative value in the other state as the original.

Please note that with the entry into force of Regulation (EU) 2016/1191 on 16 February 2019, a number of common public documents (such as those concerning birth, life, death, marriage, registered partnerships, absence of a criminal record) no longer require an apostille certificate, and providing a translation of such documents has been greatly simplified.

Further information:

https://e-justice.europa.eu/content_public_documents-551-hu.do

From 1 January 2017, there is no need for civil status certificates to be legalised by the National Directorate-General for Aliens Policing. Civil status certificates may therefore be submitted as soon as they are issued in any target country.

Description last updated on: 19/11/2020

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