In order to be valid in Italy, all certificates and documents issued by foreign authorities must be legalised by Italian diplomatic-consular missions abroad (i.e. Consulate General of Italy in Los Angeles / Consolato Generale d’Italia a Los Angeles).
Except for those submitted on multilingual forms (certificati plurilingue) pursuant to international conventions, such documents must also be translated into Italian. The translations must be stamped “per traduzione conforme” (faithful translation). In countries where the legal distinction of official translator exists, the same translator can attest to the faithfulness of the translation, and his/her signature must then be legalised by the consulate; otherwise, the consulate must provide for certification of the translation as faithful. To legalise a document, the person concerned must bring the original document to the office (on appointment).
In order to obtain certification of the faithfulness of the translation, the certified translator must bring the original document and his/her translation into Italian to the consular office (on appointment).
In Countries Party to the Hague Convention of 5 October 1961 abolishing the need to legalise foreign public documents another formality has taken its place: affixation of an apostille.
A person from a country Party to the Convention is not required to ask the consulate to legalise a document, but can request that legalisation from the domestic authority designated by each country, and indicated for each country in the act of adhesion to the Convention, (normally it is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs), to have an apostille placed on the document, whereby it is recognized as legal in Italy.
Here is a list of countries that have ratified the Hague Convention:
Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaigian, Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Botswana, Brunei-Darrusalam, Bulgaria, Cape Verde, China (Hong Kong), China (Macao), Colombia, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Figi, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Grenada, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kirghizistan, Latvia, Lesotho, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malawi, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niue, Norway, Oman, Panama, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Serbia, Seychelles, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, South Africa, South Korea, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Swaziland, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, USA, Vanuatu, Venezuela.
The authorities competent to affix the apostille for each of the above-mentioned countries are listed under “Authorities” on the website of the Hague Conference on Private International Law: http://www.hcch.net/.