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Legalising documents in Bulgaria


Legalisation of official documents issued from abroad


In order to be considered official documents on the territory of Bulgaria, official documents issued by a foreign country should be "legalized" using some of the methods described below. Here we will look at what action should be taken to recognise the official validity of birth certificates and marriage certificates that originate in another country.



Birth certificate

If the birth document originates from a country with which the Republic of Bulgaria:

- has concluded a legal assistance treaty which explicitly provides for exemption from legalisation of civil status documents, then the foreign birth document may be used directly without any other certification.


- if the birth certificate originates from a country with which there is no legal assistance treaty, but which is a party to the Hague Convention on the Abolition of the Requirement of Legalisation of Foreign Public Acts, to which Convention the Republic of Bulgaria is also a party, then in such cases the foreign birth certificate should be endorsed with an "apostille". Detailed information on the States Parties to the Convention, as well as on the apostille-issuing authorities of each State, can be obtained at the following Internet address: www.hcch.net. Once the apostille has been affixed to the document, it will have to be translated by a translator whose signature is then authenticated.


- In cases where there is no legal aid treaty providing for exemption from legalisation of civil status documents, or the foreign State is not a party to the Hague Convention, then the birth certificate should bear the certification of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the foreign State. The said certification should be certified by the Bulgarian diplomatic/consular representation in that country or, in the absence of a Bulgarian representation, by that Bulgarian representation in another country which is accredited for the foreign country which issued the birth certificate. If there are no diplomatic relations in the country concerned, the legalisation of the birth certificate shall be carried out by the Bulgarian diplomatic/consular representation in the third country where there is also a representation of the country from which the birth certificate originated. In this case, the birth certificate must be certified by the representation of the country from which the birth certificate originates as well as by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the third country where the foreign and Bulgarian representation is located.

In each of the above cases, in order for the foreign document to be presented and used on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria, a translation of the document must also be made by an interpreter, whose signature must then be authenticated.



Marriage certificate


In case of marriage outside the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria, we should notify the relevant embassy/consulate where we live or directly our municipality of residence by submitting a marriage certificate.


If the marriage document originates from a country with which the Republic of Bulgaria:

- has concluded a legal assistance treaty which explicitly provides for exemption from legalisation of civil status documents, then the foreign marriage document does not need to be legalised;


- if the marriage document originates from a country with which there is no legal assistance treaty, but which is a party to the Hague Convention on the Abolition of the Requirement of Legalisation of Foreign Public Acts, to which Convention the Republic of Bulgaria is also a party, then in these cases the foreign marriage certificate should be endorsed with an apostille. Detailed information on the States Parties to the Convention, as well as on the apostille-issuing authorities of each State, can be obtained at the following Internet address: www.hcch.net. Once the apostille has been affixed to the document, it will have to be translated by a translator whose signature is then authenticated.


- If there is no legal aid treaty providing for exemption from legalisation of civil status documents, or the foreign State is not a party to the Hague Convention, then the marriage certificate should bear the certification of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the foreign State. The said certification shall be attested by the Bulgarian diplomatic/consular representation in that State or, in the absence of a Bulgarian representation, by that Bulgarian representation in another State which is accredited for the foreign State which issued the marriage certificate. In cases where there are no diplomatic relations, the legalisation of the marriage certificate shall be carried out by the Bulgarian diplomatic/consular representation in the third country where there is also a representation of the country from which the marriage certificate originated. In this case, the marriage certificate must be certified by the representation of the country from which the marriage certificate originates and by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the third country where the foreign and Bulgarian representation is located.


Birth and marriage certificates issued in EU member states


For documents issued on the territory of a Member State of the European Union, a specific Regulation has the force of law in all Member States. This is Regulation (EU) 2016/1191 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 July 2016 promoting the free movement of citizens by simplifying the requirements for the production of certain official documents in the European Union and amending Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012). According to the Regulation, birth certificates are exempted from any other legalisation procedures as well as from translation if they are accompanied by a so-called standard multilingual certificate.


The procedures described above relate solely to establishing the official validity of birth and marriage documents. Compliance with these procedures does not automatically entail recognition of the legal effects of the documents. To obtain information about the legal consequences of the birth certificates issued to your children or your marriage abroad, you may contact the LGBT Youth Action Legal Program for a consultation.

The LGBT Youth Action Legal Programme provides free legal assistance and advice to LGBTI people. We can be contacted easily through the online legal platform.



From May 2021, the work of the Law Programme is also supported by the Equal Rights in Action Fund.






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