Consular Certification & Consular Legalization: Special differences

 Date: 17 August 2021

Writers: Quang Nguyen & Linh Nguyen

In the current time of international integration, the connection between countries around the globe is increasing day by day. This has led to an increase in administrative procedures related to foreign individuals and organizations carried out in Vietnam as well as Vietnamese individuals and organizations carried out abroad. In this case, individuals and organizations will need to provide the authorities with some documents issued by their organizations. However, not all documents can be accepted by authorities. To be recognized and used abroad or in Vietnam, these documents must be under Consular Certification or Consular Legalization. Through this article, BLawyers Vietnam will help readers understand more about these two procedures.

1. What are Consular Certification and Consular Legalization?

Consular Certification means the competent Vietnamese authorities’ certification of stamps, signatures, and titles on Vietnam’s papers and documents for being recognized and used abroad.

On the other hand, Consular Legalization means the competent Vietnamese authorities’ certification of stamps, signatures, and titles on foreign papers and documents for being recognized and used in Vietnam.

The competent authorities to perform such procedures:

  1. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has the authority to consular certification and legalization in Vietnam and can authorize foreign affairs agencies of provinces and cities to receive dossiers;
  2. Overseas Vietnamese diplomatic missions, consulates, or other agencies authorized to perform the consular function are competent to carry out consular certification and legalization overseas.

Based on the above definition, Consular Certification and Consular Legalization are under the jurisdiction of Vietnamese competent authorities. However, the notable difference between these two procedures is:

  1. Consular Certification is the procedure in which Vietnamese papers and documents are certified so that such papers and documents are recognized and used abroad;
  2. Consular Legalization is the procedure in which foreign papers and documents are certified so that such papers and documents can be used in Vietnam.

2. Notes on Consular Certification and Legalization procedures

The Consular Certification and Consular Legalization procedures only certify seals, signatures, and titles on papers and documents. These procedures do not certify the content and form of documents and papers.

Additionally, not all documents will require to be Consular Certified or Consular Legalized. Some documents will be exempted from Consular Certification and Consular Legalization as follows:

  1. Documents are exempted from Consular Certification and Consular Legalization under international treaties to which Vietnam and related foreign countries are both members, or on the principle of reciprocity;
  2. Papers/ Documents are transferred directly or through diplomatic channels between a Vietnamese competent authority and a foreign competent authority;
  3. Documents are exempt from Consular Certification and Consular Legalization under Vietnamese law; or
  4. Documents that the receiving authority of Vietnam or abroad does not require Consular Certification and Consular Legalization.

Thus, for documents to be recognized and used in administrative procedures with foreign elements, depending on which authority issued and received such documents that the procedures of Consular Certification or Consular Legalization are carried out.

Should you have any questions about the above contents, please revert to BLawyers Vietnam at consult@blawyersvn.com. We are more than happy to hear from you!

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