For the purposes of visa, temporary residence and admission to higher education, international students may need to submit to Slovak officials also documents issued by authorities outside Slovakia (e.g. diplomas, criminal records, etc.). Documents issued by courts and other authorities outside Slovakia which are considered to be public documents in the country of their issue are deemed to have a status of public documents in the Slovak Republic, provided that the prescribed certificates have been attached. Exemptions are laid down in multilateral and bilateral agreements binding upon the Slovak Republic.
The Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents, the Apostille convention or the Apostille treaty is an international treaty drafted by The Hague Conference on Private International Law. It specifies the modalities through which a document issued in one of the signatory states can be certified for legal purposes in all the other signatory states. Such a certification is called an apostille (in French: certification). It is an international certification comparable to a notarisation in domestic law.
If a state which is a signatory to the Hague Convention certifies a document with an apostille, no further certification of that document is necessary for its use in other signatory states (find more information on apostille at www.hcch.net). Once the document is submitted to a sworn translator and translated into Slovak, it is ready to be presented to Slovak authorities.
An updated list of countries that are signatories to the Hague Convention is available at www.hcch.net/index_en.php?act=conventions.status&cid=41.
Find your national authority competent to issue apostille with contact details and price information at www.hcch.net/en/instruments/conventions/authorities1/?cid=41.
In case a foreign document is issued in the state which is not a signatory to the Apostille Convention, it must be legalised (by the ministry of foreign affairs of the given state) and superlegalised (by a Slovak foreign mission in that state) for the use in Slovakia. The legalisation of public documents means the certification of the authenticity of signatures and official seals or stamps, which they bear against their specimens that are available to the foreign mission. Slovak foreign missions verify the authenticity of a previous certificate issued by the Foreign Affairs Ministry of the country of origin of the given document. Honorary consulates have no authority to legalise documents.
If no Slovak foreign mission exists in the country which has issued the document, further procedures may be as follows – the document must be certified in the country of its origin, with the last stamp affixed to it being that of the Foreign Affairs Ministry of the respective country. The authenticity of the stamp is then certified by a competent foreign mission of that country accredited for the Slovak Republic and, subsequently, by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic. Documents in Arabic, Indian, Chinese or Russian languages shall be translated into English before they are submitted to the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic.
Slovak foreign missions are entitled to certify the authenticity of signatures, photocopies of documents and their translations into Slovak; if a translator is available at the foreign mission, the mission may also provide translations of certain documents. Slovak honorary consulates can also verify the authenticity of signatures and photocopies.
Where to Find an Official Translator
Slovak foreign missions may provide translations of documents which will be used in the Slovak Republic. No further verification is required in case of documents translated by a Slovak embassy. If the embassy does not provide the service, you need to send your document/s to your contact person in Slovakia who will have the document/s translated by an official translator and send it back to you via a courier service operating in both countries. A list of sworn translators is available at https://obcan.justice.sk/infosud-registre/-/isu-registre/zoznam/prekladatel. Once authenticated (legalised or apostilled), public documents translated into Slovak language by a sworn translator do not require any further verification and may be presented to institutions in the Slovak Republic. However, such service is rather rare.