Legalisation of Documents

Legalisation of Documents

The Legalisation Unit within the Consular Services Office aims to provide a quick and reliable service to all clients who require official documents to be legalised.

Types of Documents

The Legalisation Unit legalises:
  • Original documents that have been issued by Public Entities in Malta such as the Public Registry, Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA), the Malta Police Force, and the University of Malta amongst others;
  • Copies of documents which have been notarised as being true copies of originals by Public Notaries, Lawyers and Certified Public Accountants and Auditors, who are duly registered with the Ministry for Foreign and European Affairs and Trade (MFET);
  • Translated documents, only when these have been translated by a translator whose signature is registered with the Ministry.

​While according to Article 1(b) of The Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation of Foreign Public Documents (1961) legalisation shall not apply to both commercial and business documents, the latter will only be legalised/apostilled on the premise that this is so required by the receiving state. If the above applies the following procedure should be followed:
  • Commercial documents will be legalised/apostilled upon receipt of the original document signed and stamped by an MFSA official registered with MFET;
  • Business documents will only be legalised/apostilled if the document is notarised by a legal practitioner, a certified public accountant or an auditor registered with MFET.

Legalisation Procedures

Legalisation/Apostille of documents can take place either by the walk-in service during the visiting hours or by depositing the documents in a drop-box situated behind the main door of the Ministry’s premises at 18, Zachary Street, Valletta. The procedures outlined below should be observed when using these services.

Walk-in Service

When visiting our offices, hand sanitisation and the wearing of masks are mandatory. Clients will be allowed inside the building after their temperature has been checked.

It is advisable that for any legalisation queries, clients avoid visiting the office and instead call or send an email to clarify their query. For contact details, click here.


Clients with more than ten (10) documents for legalisation must leave their documents in the drop-box.

Additionally, those clients who wish to leave their documents at the office and collect them later, may also deposit their documents in the drop-box.

All documents deposited in the drop-box will be ready for collection within three (3) working days from date of receipt by the office.

When depositing the documents, it is important that one take note of the following:
  • The documents must be placed in a sealed envelope marked “Legalisation”, flagging each document to indicate the country of use,
  • Payment should be made by cheque payable to the Ministry for Foreign and European Affairs and Trade (€20 for commercial/€12 for personal documents) and inserted in the envelope,
  • Mobile number should be included so that officers will be able to call back once documents are ready for collection.

Information concerning the circulation between Member States of certain public documents

Pursuant to an EU Regulation which promotes the free movement of citizens, as from 16 February 2019, certain public documents and their certified copies are exempt from legalisation and the apostille formality within the EU. For some of these documents (see below in bold), you can also request a multilingual standard form to avoid translation requirements and, in any case, a certified translation made in any EU Member State must be accepted.

The exemption from legalisation and the apostille formality only applies to documents and their certified copies issued by the public authorities of a Member State and presented to the public authorities of another Member State. Such are:
  • documents emanating from a court or a court official;
  • administrative documents;
  • notarial acts;
  • official certificates placed on private documents;
  • diplomatic and consular documents.

Furthermore, the exemption applies only to documents establishing one or more of the facts as listed below:
  • birth
  • death
  • a person being alive
  • name
  • marriage, capacity to marry and marital status
  • divorce, legal separation or marriage annulment
  • registered partnership, capacity to enter into a registered partnership and registered partnership status
  • dissolution of a registered partnership, legal separation or annulment of a registered ​partnership
  • parenthood or adoption
  • domicile and/or residence
  • nationality
  • absence of a criminal record
  • standing as candidates or voting in elections to the European Parliament or in municipal elections in another Member State.

Those in bold indicate that they are also available in a multilingual standard form. However, it is important to note that not all standard forms are issued in all Member States. Multilingual standard forms may only be used in another Member State and must be presented together with the public document to which it is attached.

Where a Member State allows the presentation of a certified copy of a public document instead of the original, the authorities of that Member State must accept a certified copy made in the Member State where the public document was issued.

More information on the regulation and the multilingual standard forms may be obtained from the Public Registry which falls under the remit of Identity Malta Agency (IMA).

Legalisation of Signatures on Public Documents

Official public documents that require legalisation must always contain an original signature of a person based in Malta and registered with MFET. Documents will be legalised once the signature has been matched with the original signature available at the Ministry’s database.

Once the authenticity of the signature has been ascertained, the document will be legalised through the affixation of either an Apostille certificate or a Legalisation certificate.

Documents destined for countries that have not signed The Hague Convention on the recognition of Apostille certificates will require a Legalisation certificate from the Ministry.

Subsequently, this would have to be counter-legalised by a representative of the country where the document is intended for presentation. It is to be noted that counter-legalisations are done at various embassies and consulates in Malta. In the absence of a diplomatic representation in Malta, documents need to be sent by the client to the Embassy accredited to Malta abroad.

Clients living abroad who need their Maltese documents apostilled/legalised are to contact the Legalisation Unit.

Clients who wish to check whether the signature of a professional or a translator is registered with the Ministry for legalisation/apostille purpose may click here and enter the name and surname of this professional or translator.

In accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act (Cap. 586), details of signatories registered with the Ministry cannot be divulged to the public, as the purpose of the registration is to compare signatures before the legalising of documents, and therefore, this search function will only confirm or otherwise whether the signatory is registered with the Ministry. In conformity with Article 25 of the GDPR, the Ministry has implemented appropriate measures to ensure that the database of signatories at its end, is not accessible to the public without the intervention of the individual.

Registering a Signature with MFET

Professionals or any other designated persons who wish to have their signature registered with the Ministry, should fill in the Specimen Signature Form which may be downloaded by clicking here.

The following documentation must be presented upon submission of the application form:
  • Lawyers and Notaries – Covering letter, copy of warrant and copy of ID Card. If the person will be signing documents on behalf of the company, the application form should include a covering letter with the company’s letterhead and signed by the Head of the Company.
  • Public Certified Accountants and Auditors – Covering letter, copy of warrant and copy of ID Card. If the person will be signing documents on behalf of the company, the application form should include a covering letter with the company’s letterhead and signed by the Head of the Company.
  • Heads of Schools – Covering letter and copy of ID Card.
  • Heads of International Schools – Covering letter, copy of ID Card and a Certificate issued from the Ministry for Education.
  • Consuls/DiplomatsOriginal Note Verbale and copy of Diplomatic Card.
  • Government Officials – Covering letter from direct superior and copy of ID Card.
  • Translators – Covering letter, a degree (Grade 6 or higher) related to linguistics/translation, and a copy of ID Card (applicants must possess a Maltese ID card or residence permit). If the interested translator is in possession of a foreign academic qualification, he/she must submit the recognition and comparability of the academic qualifications to Maltese qualifications issued by MQRIC (​). If the person will be signing documents on behalf of the company, the application form should include a covering letter with the company’s letterhead and signed by the Head of Company.

It is imperative to note that the Ministry will reserve the right to refuse any application for registration of signatures if the applicant does not meet the eligibility requirements referred to above.

Registration of signatures will have a validity period of three (3) years from the date of registration date. Subsequently, a month before the expiry period, each signatory will be notified by an email to renew his/her application unless s/he wishes to have the registered signature removed from the Ministry’s database. Signatories who fail to renew their registration will no longer be recognised for Apostille/Legalisation purposes.

It is also the signatory’s responsibility to inform the Legalisation Unit of any changes affected to the information submitted in the Specimen Signature Form within the 3-year validity of the submitted form. Failure to notify this Unit of any changes in the information submitted by the signatory, including of surname, designation, organisation and changes in specimen signature and rubber-stamps, will lead to the rejection of the apostille/legalisation on a document endorsed by the signatory.

Fees and Methods of Payment

A fee of €20.00 per document is charged. However, in the cases of personal documents such as certificates issued from the Public Registry or University, a fee of €12.00 per document is charged. Payment may be affected either by cheque payable to the Ministry for Foreign and European Affairs and Trade or by debit/credit card.

Important notice:
From January 1st, 2022, in terms of Directive 19 issued by the Central Bank of Malta, cheques cannot be issued for amounts of €20 or below. In these instances, payment should be made by debit/credit card or postal order.

Adoption documents

These are legalised free of charge upon presentation of a covering letter issued from the Adoption Agency.

Help us providing you with a better service

This can be done by:
  • checking in which country the documents will be used;
  • providing us with a translation done in Malta when the documents need to be translated;
  • if the documents are copies, ensuring that these have been notarised, (except for Malta Business Registry documents which must be presented originally signed by MBR Desk Officers to be eligible for the apostille).
Zachary Street
Valletta, VLT 1133

+356 21 242 191​