In Estonia, it is possible to notarise the translations of public documents from a foreign language into Estonian. A notary does not certify the correctness of the translation, but the authenticity of the translator’s signature. The notary must know and trust the translator.
According to current legislation, a notary can certify the authenticity of a translator’s signature in case of documents translated from a foreign language into Estonian until 31 December 2019.
If you want to use public documents prepared in Estonia abroad or vice versa, you generally have to have them translated, certified, and legalised or certified by an apostille.
When ordering the translation of documents issued on a single occasion (e.g. birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates, diplomas, results reports, etc.), you must also order a true copy of the document to which the translation will be attached. In case of documents that can be reissued, you can decide whether you want to attach the translation to the true copy or the original document.
If you want to order the translation of a document prepared in a foreign state, you must make sure that the document has been legalised or certified by an apostille before ordering the translation.
The price of notarial certification
Notary fees are laid down in subsection 31 of the Notary Fees Act, according to which the certification of a signature costs 12.75 euros, and the rate for the certification of a copy is 3.19 euros per page.
The prices will be added VAT.
Good to know!
Before ordering the translation of a document, you should always ask the institution where you want to submit it, how official the verification should be. Employers and educational institutions may also accept translations verified by a translation agency. If the translation is verified by a translation agency, it is provided with the signature of the person responsible for the translation and the official stamp of the translation agency. At our agency, the verification of translations is free of charge.
In addition, it has become more common in recent years that educational institutions also issue diplomas, results reports, etc. in English. Likewise, you may ask other institutions if they can issue documents (e.g. birth certificates) in English.
These alternatives can help you save quite a significant amount of money.
Translations certified by a notary/a sworn translator
If you want to use documents prepared in Estonia abroad or vice versa, you must have them translated, certified, and legalised or certified by an apostille.
In Estonia, notaries can certify the translations of public documents.
The following must be kept in mind when having a document certified by a notary:
• the original document must be provided with signature(s) and stamp(s);
• a copy/true copy certified by a notary or bearing the stamp of a relevant authority is also considered an original document;
• if the original document consists of more than one page and these pages are separate (i.e. not bound together), there must be the stamp of the authority that issued the document and/or the signature of the authorised person (articles of association) or the signatures of both parties (contract) on every page;
• there may be no corrections in the original document. If there are any corrections, these must be confirmed with a signature/stamp.
Legalisation or certification by an apostille
If documents issued by institutions in one state are used in another state, their authenticity needs to be certified. For that, the document must be either legalised or certified by an apostille. Whether the document needs to be legalised or certified by an apostille depends on the foreign state where the document is intended to be used.
• A document needs to be certified by an apostille if it is used in a state that has acceded to the Convention.
• A document needs to be legalised if it is used in a state that has not acceded to the Convention and with which Estonia has not concluded a legal aid agreement.
• A document need not be certified by an apostille or legalised if it is used in a state with which Estonia has concluded a legal aid agreement (Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Ukraine and Russia).
Only public, i.e. official documents must be legalised or certified by an apostille.
A public document of Estonia intended to be used in a state which has not acceded to the Convention abolishing the requirement of legalisation for foreign public documents and also in a state that Estonia has not concluded a legal aid agreement with should be legalised in the consular department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or in a Foreign Mission of the Republic of Estonia, and thereafter in the Foreign Mission or the Foreign Ministry of the foreign state where the document is intended to be used.
A public document of a foreign state intended to be used in Estonia should be first legalised in the Foreign Ministry or Foreign Mission of the foreign state where the document has been issued, and thereafter in a Foreign Mission of the Republic of Estonia or in the consular department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Estonia.
There may also be additional conditions that must be taken into account when using a document in another state.
In case of various important acts, only documents issued by national institutions and officials may be accepted.
You should also keep in mind that, even if the copy and translation of the document have been certified by an apostille, institutions of foreign states usually also request the submission of the original document. This particularly applies to certificates and extracts issued on a single occasion, and to authorisation documents.