Legalisation is required for different kinds of documents and is done to cerrify the authenticity of the document and/or its translation. For a document issued by a foreign country to be recognised in Bulgaria and for a Bulgarian document to be recognised in another country, it must be translated and “legalised”. The translation must be performed by an agency that has a contract for official translations with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Since various terms circulate in the public domain, such as “official translation”, “legalised translation”, “licensed translation”, “certified translation”, etc., we will explain the main differences, so that you get informed in advance regarding the requirements of the receiving party.
The official translation is a translation by a sworn translator, formatted in a particular way on letterheaded paper of the translation agency, certified by the signature of the translator and the seal of the agency.
A sworn translator is a person who complies with the requirements of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for inclusion in the list of natural persons performing translation of documents and other papers from Bulgarian into a foreign language and from a foreign language into Bulgarian on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria.
The official translation is attached to the original document or its copy and the seal of the agency is affixed.
This type of translation is usually applied to certificates, declarations and other types of documents for which the receiving party does not require additional certification. For example, official translation is used for student enrolment certificates presented to the National Social Security Institute, for declarations of compliance, safety data sheets and many other different documents.
An official translation certified by the signature of the translator and the seal of the agency is the fastest and most cost-effective service and is often completely sufficient for the receiving party. It may be performed both from Bulgarian into the foreign language and from the foreign language into Bulgarian. If after all it turns out that you need a certification of the translator’s signature, we move on to legalised translations, which we will divide into two types, depending on whether the documents are Bulgarian intended for use abroad or foreign documents intended for use in Bulgaria.
Legalised translation of foreign documents
This procedure is applied in case of documents from a foreign country, whose official translations must be presented to Bulgarian institutions.
An example of such a document is a certificate of good standing of a company registered abroad, which must be submitted to the Trade Register. Please, keep in mind that the certificate of good standing must be an original and must have all the certifications of the issuing country – an “Apostille” certification, if the country has signed the Hague Convention, or another type of certification, if there’s an effective legal aid agreement between the country and the Republic of Bulgaria. You can find a list of the countries which signed the Hague Convention and of the countries with which Bulgaria has an effective legal aid agreement here.
The translation of foreign documents is performed by a sworn translator, it’s printed on the company’s letterheaded paper and bears its seal just like an official translation. The additional step is the notarial certification of the translator’s signature, who certifies before the notary public his/her right to sign official translations through his/her certificate issued by the Consular Relations Directorate of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Legalised translation of Bulgarian documents intended for abroad
The full translation and legalisation procedure requires an Apostille certification, translation by a sworn translator and a certification of the translator’s signature in the Consular Relations Directorate of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Some countries also require an additional certification from the respective embassy. Also, documents issued by Bulgarian institutions usually require special seals “for abroad” in order for the translation and legalisation procedure to be successful.
Example: a certificate of good standing issued by the Registry Agency must bear a special seal certifying the signature of the signatory, in order to go through the legalisation procedure involving Apostille certification and/or certification of the translator’s signature. Similarly, a certificate of declared data, issued by the National Revenue Agency, must bear a similar special seal in order to be legalised and in order for the translation to be duly certified.
Please, keep in mind that civil status documents can be issued by the municipality in a multilingual version pursuant to European standard and in that case no translation and/or legalisation is necessary, and they can be presented directly in the other member states of the EU. If, however, the document is intended for a country outside of the EU or the receiving party insists on Apostille certification, or the municipality cannot issue a multilingual version pursuant to European standard, again a special seal “for abroad” will be needed.
In any case, you should inform the institution issuing the document that it will be legalised for a foreign country, so that they affix the necessary additional seals!
In some cases, it’s sufficient for your document to bear an Apostille, and the translation can be performed in the country for which it’s intended. In that case, the translation would be more expensive but you may be required to choose that option.
We recommend that you get informed in advance about the specific requirements of the receiving party and you contact us before bringing the documents, so that the legalisation procedure goes smoothly and quickly.
If your document requires an official translation and/or legalisation, send us a request here or call us. We will discuss what preliminary certifications you need and send you a price quote depending on the cost of translation and the fees of the respective institutions. Some of them offer ordinary, fast and express order, so the price may vary depending on the period of execution.