Apostille: Certifying Your Significant Documents

An apostille (french for certification) is a particular seal applied by a government authority to certify that a document is a correct copy of an original.

Apostilles are offered in nations, which signed the 1961 Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization of Foreign Public Documents, popularly identified as The Hague Convention. This convention replaces the previously applied time-consuming chain certification procedure, where you had to go to four distinct authorities to get a document certified. The Hague Convention provides for the simplified certification of public (which includes notarized) documents to be made use of in countries and territories that have joined the convention.


Documents destined for use in participating countries and their territories must be certified by one particular of the officials in the jurisdiction in which the document has been executed. With this certification by the Hague Convention Apostille, the document is entitled to recognition in the nation of intended use, and no certification by the U.S. Division of State, Authentications Workplace or legalization by the embassy or consulate is essential.

Note, though the apostille is an official certification that the document is a accurate copy of the original, it does not certify that the original document’s content is appropriate.

Why Do You Need to have an Apostille?

An apostille can be applied whenever a copy of an official document from another nation is required. For example for opening a bank account in the foreign country in the name of your enterprise or for registering your U.S. enterprise with foreign government authorities or even when proof of existence of a U.S. company is necessary to enter in to a contract abroad. In all of these circumstances an American document, even a copy certified for use in the U.S., will not be acceptable. An apostille ought to be attached to the U.S. document to authenticate that document for use in Hague Convention nations.

Who Can Get an Apostille?

Considering that October 15, 1981, the United States has been element of the 1961 Hague Convention abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents. Anybody who demands to use a U.S. public document (such as Articles of Organization or Incorporation issued by a Secretary of State) in 1 of the Hague Convention countries may possibly request and obtain an apostille for that specific country.

How to Get an Apostille?

Acquiring an apostille can be a complicated process. In most American states, the process entails getting an original, certified copy of the document you seek to confirm with an apostille from the issuing agency and then forwarding it to a Secretary of State (or equivalent) of the state in query with a request for apostille.

apostille seal That Accept Apostille

All members of the Hague Convention recognise apostille.

Nations Not Accepting Apostille

In nations which are not signatories to the 1961 convention and do not recognize the apostille, a foreign public document must be legalized by a consular officer in the nation which issued the document. In lieu of an apostille, documents in the U.S. commonly will receive a Certificate of Authentication.

Legalization is usually achieved by sending a certified copy of the document to U.S. Division of State in Washington, D.C., for authentication, and then legalizing the authenticated copy with the consular authority for the country where the document is intended to be made use of.

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