Legalisation of official documents (apostilles)

For a Norwegian document to be considered valid abroad, it must be issued with an apostille stamp. This apostille stamp does not confirm the accuracy of the contents of a document; however, it does confirm that the signature of the notary public is real. This is known as legalisation. The County Governor is responsible for legalising documents for use abroad – that is to say, documents to be used in countries that have ratified the Hague Convention.

Before a document can be legalised, it must first be notarised (i.e. signed by a notary public – a senior state official who is responsible for certain official and legal functions) and stamped with the official stamp of the institution (often a lion). It is important that the name and title are written clearly, with either printed letters or block capitals under the signature. 

Documents issued or confirmed by certified translators must be notarised. The same applies to documents that are issued by other private professionals with authorisation from the public sector, for example lawyers, medical professionals and accountants. 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (UD) holds an up-to-date list of all of the countries that have ratified the Hague Convention. In addition, UD has information on which documents must be used in countries that have not ratified the Hague Convention. Documents that are to be used in the Nordic countries do not require an apostille stamp. In these situations, notarisation is sufficient.

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