CERTIFIED TRANSLATIONS OF DOCUMENTS
If a document issued by one of the national authorities needs to be used in another country, a translation must be made from the document, which must be certified by a sworn translator or notary.
Whether to use a sworn translation or notarized translation?
Until the year 2015, document translators could only be certified at the notary’s office. From 01.01.2015, translations from Estonian to a foreign language can only be certified by sworn translators. A sworn translator is a translator to whom the Estonian state has given the right to perform official verified translations through a sworn translator examination. More information can be found on the website of the Ministry of Justice. Notaries have the right to confirm the translator’s signature in the translations translated into Estonian until 2020. In 2020, this right will also be transferred to sworn translators.
Whether to prefer a digitally signed or hard copy sworn translation?
Sworn translations can be provided from both hard copies and digitally signed documents (for example, digitally signed state examination certificates). According to the customer’s request, sworn translators can provide their translation both on paper and in a digitally signed form. However, in case of sworn translations into foreign languages, be sure to make sure in advance that there is a possibility to open .bdoc files in the country of destination. Sworn translators have the right to make certified transcripts of original documents that are to be translated. In this case, the original document remains with the customer.
What are the deadlines for sworn translations?
We ask you to provide 2-3 working days for a sworn translation of minor documents (vital statistics office certificates, school certificates, diplomas). For longer documents, we will make you a separate offer. To agree on an exact deadline, contact us at or call 640 8544.
What is an apostil and what does legalization mean?
If documents issued by an agency of one state are used in another country, it is necessary to prove their authenticity. For this, the document must either be legalized or apostilled. The legalization is carried out by the respective authorities of both countries (in Estonia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs).
To speed up the recognition of documents, in 1961 the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents,(the Apostille Convention) was concluded in the Hague. According to this, a more straightforward procedure was introduced -certification of a document with an apostil. The Convention provides for a form with definite data (apostil) which confirms the authenticity of the document. If the document is apostilled, its authenticity will be recognized in all other Convention states without any further formalities. Since January 1, 2010, in Estonia, all notaries public certify public documents with an apostil.
Apostillation of documents is not necessary for the following issuing countries with which Estonia has a legal assistance agreement. These are Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Poland, and Russia.
For further information on apostillation, visit Chamber of Notaries