In order to obtain the intended legality in Finland for a document prepared and issued abroad by a foreign authority (excluding the Nordic countries), it must be legalised.
Legalisation of a document is a measure related to the customer's security right to ensure that the authority is entitled to issue such a certificate according to the laws of the particular country, and that it has been issued with correct content and is a valid document in the particular country.
For example in the case of a marriage certificate it is important that the person who performs the wedding ceremony is entitled to consecrate according to the laws of the particular country.
Legalisation is done in two different ways, depending on whether that country is a signatory to the Hague Convention of 1961. In the countries joined to the Hague Convention the documents are legalised with the so-called Apostille certificate (stamp or paper certificate).
Certificates issued by the South-Africa, Botswana, Lesotho and Mauritius authorities are legalised with the Apostille certificate.