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Russia: Immigration Bulletin – Education Degrees Must Be Legalized

Authorities no longer accept diplomas which are not Legalized or Apostilled.


The requirement is based on Item 22 of the Governmental order of the Russian Federation No. 681 from November, 15th, 2006, and further clarification by laws Item 47 of FMS Order No. 1 from January, 11th, 2008, and 48 of Administrative Order of FMS from April 9,2008 #11480.


Those acts state that in case of application for personal work permit, foreign applicant must provide the proof of professional education, which can be verified by international equivalents of Russian diplomas and certificates. Further those acts define that certificates obtained outside or Russian Federation must be legalized through consular sections of Russian Federation abroad if other legalization procedures are not defined by international contracts with Russian Federation.


Legalization means only the formality by which the diplomatic or consular agents of the country in which the document has to be produced certify the authenticity of the signature, the capacity in which the person signing the document has acted and, where appropriate, the identity of the seal or stamp which it bears.


Russian Federation signed The Hague Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents (Hague Apostille Convention). Therefore Apostilles may be issued by member states through a Competent Authority designated by the State on whose territory the public document has been executed. An Apostille certifies only the authenticity of the signature, the capacity in which the person who signed the document has acted and, where appropriate, the identity of the seal or stamp which the document bears.


Most importantly, the effect of an Apostille does not extend to the content of the public document to which it relates. The general public is not always aware of the limited effect of Apostilles and diploma mills in particular seek to exploit this ignorance.


The procedure under the Convention is that the law of the State of origin of the document presented for an Apostille determines whether it is public or not and thus whether the Convention applies. Accordingly, a Competent Authority of a State of origin may affix an Apostille to any document, including a diploma, which is a public document under its domestic law. An Apostille may not be rejected on the basis that the underlying document (diploma) is not a public document under the law of the State of Destination. It is strongly recommended that applicants consult with the Competent Authority/ies designated by the State of Origin as to whether or not a diploma may be apostillised.


Diplomas that are not considered public documents under the law of the State of origin may not be apostillised. However, it often occurs that such diplomas are subsequently certified by a notary (or another equivalent authority) who merely confirms that the copy of the "private" diploma is indeed a true copy of the original.


This subsequent certification undoubtedly constitutes a public document and, as such, may be apostillised. In such situations the Apostille does not "look through" the certification to the underlying document.


However, as all documents (the Apostille, the certification and the diploma) remain attached together it is easy to see how people might assume that the Apostille relates to the diploma and not the intermediate certification.


*Courtesy of "Move one" - our business associates in Eastern Europe