This is a possibility that only citizens coming from countries which signed October 5th 1961 Aja Convention concerning the abolition of public acts legalization are entitled to. This convention has been signed and accepted by many countries in the years following its enactment, it provides for that documents legalization can be substituted by the so called apostille (in English: marginal note).
What exactly is the apostille?
The apostille is a marginal note that must be written on the original certificate released by the country of origin qualified authorities.
Apostille therefore substitutes legalization at consular authorities.
Example - if a person needs to have a birth certifcate valid in Italian territory and his/her country of origin has signed the Aja convention, the same person can refer to his/her local state authorities in order to have a marginal note written on the document itself (the so called apostille). This document must be then accepted by Italian authorities, even if written in a foreign language, since Italy has signed this specific convention. A translation of the document can be easily done then here in Italy.
The convention specifically pertains the abolition of foreign public acts legalization, this means all documents released by authorities, by state administration officers, by ministries, by juridical authorities. The convention doesn’t refer to consular or diplomatic acts, to commercial or customs acts.
As already stated, all certificates concerning family matters can be given in in the language of origin, the apostille is of coarse needed as the convention says.
Many are the documents which the convention refers to, all documents concerning family matters and the main certificates migrants usually need enter the convention.
Apart from all EU countries, which also signed other conventions, we shall now refer of the other countries having signed the quoted Aja convention:
San Christopher and Nevis
Antigua and Barbuda