Foreign Public Documents No Longer Need to Be Legalized

On January 5, 2021, Indonesia ratified the Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents (“Convention”) through Presidential Regulation Number 2 of 2021 (“PR 2/2021”). Ratification of the Convention through PR 2/2021 is intended to improve public services and support ease of doing business. This PR 2/2021 also provides the official translation of the Convention which requires the abolishing of legalization requirement for public documents.

Previously, requirements for legalization of documents executed outside Indonesia is governed under the Minister of Foreign Affairs Regulation Number 13 of 2019 dated August 8, 2019 on the Procedures of Documents Legalization at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (“MOFA Regulation”). In principle, documents signed and/or executed outside Indonesia that are intended to be used in Indonesia need to be legalized by the nearest Indonesian Embassy.

However, issuance of PR 2/2021 does not immediately revoke the MOFA Regulation. Therefore, MOFA Regulation still prevails and that any provisions under PR 2/2021 that may contradict MOFA Regulation would require further guidance from MOFA. We expect there would be an official statement from MOFA regarding the implementation of this PR 2/2021.

The key provisions in PR 2/2021 and the Convention are as follows.

  • Types of Foreign Public Documents Exempted from Legalization

PR 2/2021 applies only to public documents. However, PR 2/2021 does not define “public document”.

In order to determine applicability of this PR 2/2021, we may refer to the determination of public documents as elaborated under the outline of the Convention issued by the Hague Conference on Private International Law. The outline of the Convention provides that the “public” nature of a document is left to be determined by the law of the place where the document originates (i.e., the State of origin).

Article 1 of the Convention provides some guidance as to types of documents that can be considered public document and no longer need to be legalized, as follows:

  1. Documents produced by any authority or officials connected with courts or tribunals of a state, including documents produced by a public prosecutor, a clerk of court or process-server (“huissier de justice”);
  2. Administrative documents;
  3. Notarial acts;
  4. Official certificates affixed on documents being signed by any persons in their individual capacity, such as official certificates recording the registration of a document or the fact that it was in existence on a certain date and official and notarial authentications of signatures.
  • Foreign Public Documents Not Exempted from Legalization

There are also certain public documents not exempted from legalization requirement. PR 2/2021 still requires legalization for the following public documents:

  1. Documents executed by diplomatic or consular agents;
  2. Administrative documents dealing directly with commercial or customs activities.

We believe that this may create a wide interpretation regarding the classification of administrative documents related to commercial or customs activities since this provision is not further elaborated under PR 2/2021.

However, the issuance of PR 2/2021 is still very recent. There is also limited precedent on the implementation of this regulation. At this stage, we note that the currently common approach for legalization of foreign documentation may still be implemented, at least until clearer parameter for this issue is clarified by MOFA

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February 10, 2021

Please contact Abadi Abi Tisnadisastra [atisnadisastra@aksetlaw.com], Alfa Dewi Setiawati at [asetiawati@aksetlaw.com], Ajeng Ayuningtyas at [aayuningtyas@aksetlaw.com], or Caleb Kharis Nathanael Sitorus at [csitorus@aksetlaw.com] for further information.


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