Guide: Consular Authentication/Legalization of Foreign Documents for Use in Vietnam

Guide: Consular Authentication/Legalization of Foreign Documents for Use in Vietnam

When incorporating companies, applying for work permits, or getting married in Vietnam, you might be required to consular authenticate foreign documents. In practice, this procedure is complex, because it involves many sub-steps performed by different parties in different countries, international logistics, and long waits. In this guide, our team at Nova Law will explain to you what consular authentication or legalization in Vietnam is, and help you to simplify the process in order to obtain it.

1. What is consular authentication or consular legalization of foreign documents?

In Vietnam, Consular Authentication, or Consular Legalization, refers to a consular practice ensuring the authenticity of the signatures or the seals affixed to a foreign document are from natural persons, legal persons, or authorities in the country where the documents were issued. Thus, foreign documents will be considered valid to use in Vietnam.

A sample of consular authentication stamp
A sample of consular authentication stamp

Please note that:

  • Authenticating a document doesn’t mean that the competent authorities verify that its contents are accurate or approved.
  • Since Vietnam is not a party member of the Hague Convention, after obtaining Apostille stamps for the documents, the documents must be presented to the consular section of Vietnam to be used in Vietnam

2. Types of documents often require a consular authentication


Administrative Procedures in Vietnam

Required foreign documents must be consular authenticated

1Company Incorporation

Representative Office Establishment

  • Certificate of Incorporation, Company Charter, and Financial Statement of the corporate investors
2Work Permit application for foreign employees
  • Criminal Record Check issued by a competent authority of a foreign country
  • Health Check Certificate issued by a foreign medical agency
  • Degree, Diploma, TESOL/TEFL Certificate
  • Certificate of Work Experience
3Foreign companies to apply for a trademark, patent, or copyright protection in Vietnam
  • Certificate of Incorporation
4Foreigners get married to Vietnamese citizens
  • Certificate of Marital Status
  • Divorce Decision (if any)

3. How to apply for the consular authentication

Here is a summary of 5 steps to consular authenticate foreign documents to be used in Vietnam

Consular Authentication - Step by step guide

Step 1. Preparation of documents

  • Government documents with original text will be directly legalized, so you can go to Step #2.
  • If it’s a copy document/non-government document/computer-generated document/commercial document (e.g. copy of a certificate of incorporation or a university bachelor’s degree, or a confirmation of an employee’s work experience issued by a previous employer), this document, therefore, needs to be certified by a notary public in the country where the document was issued.
  • Documents might be required to be translated into Vietnamese or English if the document originates in another language

Step 2. Certified documents by the foreign diplomatic authority

After completing Step #1, documents need to be certified by the foreign diplomatic authority of the country where the documents were issued. The time and cost for certifying documents vary from country to country.

Dấu bộ ngoại giao nước ngoài

Below are website links to the authentication services provided by the foreign diplomatic authority in some countries.


Link website about 


Step 3. Consular authentication documents by a Vietnamese Diplomatic Authority

Option 1: Implement overseas

The individual registering for a Consular Authentication (this could be anyone) may:

(i) Come in person to the Embassy of Vietnam in the country where documents to legalize/authenticate documents, or

(ii) Fill out the required requested documents on your own then use a regular courier or shipping company to deliver the documents to the Vietnamese Consulate of your country. You must include return shipping envelopes and money in the form of a check in most cases. Finalized and authenticated documents will be mailed back to you in a few weeks.

A dossier should have:

  • An application form for legalization of documents;
  • Document(s) requested for consular authentication (the result of step 2) + 01 its copy;
  • A photocopy of the requester’s ID or passport;
  • A translation of documents into Vietnamese and English (if required).

Option 2: Implement in Vietnam

After your documents have been authenticated by the foreign diplomatic authority (as the result of step #2), the document can be sent physically to Vietnam for consular authentication. The procedure will be divided into 2 sub-steps as follows:

– Step a. Documents need to be consular certified by the foreign Embassy/Consulate in Vietnam.

The Embassy or Consulate in Vietnam of the country where the documents were issued will certify the authenticity of its MOFA stamp (the result of step 2).

Note, not all foreign Embassies/Consulates in Vietnam provide authentication of document services. Therefore, the requester needs to contact the foreign Embassy/Consulate to ask for the service before deciding to carry out the consular authentication procedure in Vietnam.

– Step b. Documents are consular authenticated at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam

The dossier is the same as in Step (a). The requester may choose one of these places:

Đăng ký kinh doanh hợp pháp hóa lãnh sự

Step 4. Notarized translation of foreign documents into Vietnamese

Foreign documents in a foreign language must be translated into Vietnamese and certified by a notary office in Vietnam before being submitted to the competent authorities of Vietnam. Most legal firms will offer this service for a set price per page of translated material.

Step 5. Use documents in Vietnam

After completing the above 4 steps, the foreign documents are finally valid for use in carrying out administrative procedures in Vietnam.

4. How long does it take to complete the consular authentication?

Practically, the total process time to complete the consular authentication takes from 1 week to 2 months, depending on each country.

5. Nova Law’s consular authentication services in Vietnam

This consular authentication process of foreign documents is long and a bit arduous. It can be frustrating if you require a document authenticated in a hurry. It is crucial that you do your best to plan these document needs out in the future and do not wait until the last minute thinking this will be a quick and easy process. This is why Nova Law offers consular authentication services in Vietnam, applied for foreign documents that have been stamped and certified by the foreign diplomatic authority. The processing time is from 5 working days. Please send your documents to email:, Nova Law will check and send you our service quotation.

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