Legalizing Diplomas in Hague Convention Countries for International Students and Graduates

The rise of online education and international study programs has made attaining qualifications from foreign universities more accessible than ever. In 2021 it was predicted that online education alone was expected to grow by USD 247.46 billion during 2020-2024. Indeed, executives and professionals who want to gain crucial skills and advance their careers often take online courses or receive in-person diplomas from universities in other parts of the world, especially in Hague Convention Countries


So what happens when a student has a new diploma from another country, especially if they attended the university in person and they’ve already left the country by the time the university issues the diploma?


Physically getting that diploma, translating it as needed, and legalizing it through the apostille process, are necessary to make sure it’s recognized within the student’s home country. This process can become complex as it is, and all the more so if the student is no longer in the country where they earned their diploma. 


Here’s everything you need to know about getting foreign diplomas legalized in Hague Convention countries.



What is legalization and apostille?

Before a diploma earned in a foreign country can be used for official purposes such as further study in the student’s home country, securing employment, getting a promotion, etc., it almost always needs to be legalized or apostilled. Legalization is a multi-step process that establishes the diploma’s authenticity and the legalization process generally involves multiple layers of authentication, often beginning at the university level, followed by governmental bodies, like ministries of education, and ending with an official apostille stamp or certificate. 


The Apostille is a specific certification recognized by countries that are members of the Hague Convention — often simply called the Apostille Convention. It’s a simplified method of the legalization of documents that expedites the otherwise lengthy authentication process that exists between other non-Hague Convention countries.


Copies of the diploma are generally not accepted for either process, so originals need to be procured. In some cases, true certified copies from a notary public, where the notary made the copies themselves, may be accepted. 


Navigating this multi-step process can become more challenging when a graduate resides outside the country where their diploma was issued. Because universities may take a while to issue physical diplomas after studies are concluded, a student may have left the country before the diploma was made.


Traditionally, this requires either returning to that country or using power of attorney to authorize someone else to act on their behalf, which can be time-consuming and create potential complications and expenses related to travel or navigating an unfamiliar legal system. It can also hinder professional goals like applying for new jobs or enrolling in continuing education courses in the meantime.


That’s why many graduates will choose to work with a company that can collect their diploma for them and then handle the legalization process after.



Working with a specialized documentation partner can streamline foreign diploma legalization

Recognizing this obstacle for their students, many students turn to a document legalization partner. In some cases, universities partner with dedicated documentation experts as well, in both order to streamline the process. These services function as highly specialized liaisons between students and universities and can manage the collection, legalization, apostille, and translation of diplomas. Here are some benefits of working with an expert who can handle everything with one point of contact.


1. Document procurement

If the student is no longer in the country, a document partner can retrieve the document from the university or other official office. If the student requires multiple copies or needs it to go through further authentication processes, then this will all be expertly handled in one package. This means that the graduate and the university only have one point of contact to work with.


2. Diploma legalization and apostille

Document partners have feet on the ground to be able to pick up the diploma by hand and get it apostilled. This removes the need for the graduate to personally travel or coordinate with the university in a foreign language to deliver the diploma to a notary. Plus, depending on what country the individual is from, an experienced document partner knows specific legalization processes, e.g. for countries like Saudia Arabia


3. Certified translations

When presenting a diploma to employers or schools in another country or to complete the legalization process, a diploma may also need to be translated. Typically, the translation must also be carried out by certified translators. Instead of the graduate finding a certified translator and organizing the process themselves, a good document partner will have access to a team of translators who can take care of it. The procurement, translation, and legalization will all be handled in one convenient service.


By offering this service to their students, universities can provide a streamlined post-graduation experience that makes things easier for everyone. Alternatively, students who work with a document partner can be certain that their diploma will be received.



Lex Documents can procure, legalize, and translate foreign diplomas

If you’ve successfully completed a diploma through an online program or traditional studies at a foreign university in a Hague Convention country and you’re now out of the country, or if you’re a university in a Hague Convention country that accepts foreign students from other Hague Convention countries, Lex Documents can manage the entire procurement, legalization, or apostille process for you or your students. 


Liaising with university and government offices, our team provides end-to-end diploma legalization and procurement management, so there’s no need to worry about in-person appointments, your translations are handled, and the whole process is taken care of.


And, if you are a higher-education institution that wants to partner with an expert document partner to better serve your students, get in touch to see how we can help. 


Contact us today to get started!

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