Just because you have never gone abroad for a trade of business doesn’t mean that you don’t need to know about apostille definition and other related information. These years, you may start your own business internationally leading you to learn what actually apostille is and to what extent it will play the role for your business overseas.

Basically, not only an international business will require an apostille but also all other document legalization. Now you must be wondering to completely learn and deeply understand the apostille, right?

So let’s have a comprehensive understanding about apostile’s meaning, form, certification, features and much more by scrolling down the page of our article.

What Is Apostille?

According to some reliable resources, an apostille is a certification provided by the Hague Convention of 1961 to authenticate documents in order to use them in foreign countries. In this role, the apostille will certify the documents by giving an authentication of the signature of the documents.

In regards to find out the exact meaning of apostile, simply to understand, it is a certificate attached to another documents. This is aimed to let someone use the documents in another country. In the other words, you cannot use the documents in a foreign country you will visit unless you certify them with apostille.

Keep in mind that apostille is widely used by many countries that have already signed up to the Hague convention. Up to now, there have been 98 Hague Convention countries that grows on a regular basis.

Apostille Convention

Prior to checking out more about apostille definition and other related information, it is prominent to understand the apostille convention. Truly, it is a Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents.

Simply to understand, apostille convention is an international treaty drafted by the Hague Conference on Private International Law. It works by specifying the modalities through how a document is issued and certified in one of the signatory states for a legal use and purpose. This way, an apostilled documents can be used all over the signatory countries.

So, apostille is a certification under the term of convention. Originally, the term “Apostille” is derived from the latin word “post illa” and French “a marginal note” which is called Hague Apostille.

To simplify the definition, let’s say, Hague Apostille is an international certification which is comparable notarization in domestic law. In the other words, you notarize documents domestically and legalize them internationally using apostille for your purposes.

If there is two countries applying the same convention, there is no need for double-certification since the documents are considered valid.

Originally, apostille convention is was signed on 5 October 1961 in Netherlands and was effectively used since 14 January 1965. There have been 120 parties signed the convention. Later, the Hague Convention is available in French and English.

Apostille Form

Apostille comes in terms of not only stamp or seal but also relief, rubber stamp or even glue, sticker and colored ribbon. Apostille can be attached to the documents or other specific sheets included in the same document.

In this relation, there must a form of standardized certification by apostille. Some countries which are not parts of Den Haag convention states that they fully approve the documents certified by apostille.

Apostille looks like a square seal in 9 cm width and length. It is usually attached in a free space on the corner of a document or in the other side of the document. In this case, you can only certify the document with apostille once. Luckily, apostille uses international languages which are French and English as well as a language used by the country that gives certification.

To get a complete understanding of apostille definition, it is important to know that an apostille must contain the following information:

  • Header

The language used to create a text in the header is the language of the country you want to go. For example, if you want to go to France, the apostille will use French.

  • Places where you get certification of apostille. They are usually the receiving countries.

This way, you must indicate the town, country and the name of organization that issues the apostille.

  • Information about the officials

Put information on the form which includes the name and signature of the officials.

  • Date when you get the certification.
  • Serial number and stamp
  • Serial number and stamp involved in the process of documentation must also be added to the form.
  • Signature

These information can be placed on the document either on the back part of document itself or attached to the documents as an allonge.

In this case, an apostile form looks like a blank form where you can input the information including date and etc. However, the complete content will be certified by the stamp where you can see the organization’s name and logo involved in the certificate authentication.

What Apostille Certifies

In addition to the apostille definition, you may keep asking what apostille certifies. This way, there are four types of documents that are mentioned in the convention. Those are the court documents, administrative documents, notarial acts, and official certificates.

Court documents means any instrument, paper, document or other record produced by the court in the state. Administrative documents includes a picture, document and electromagnetic record owned by an employee related with his/her duties in a company or organization.

Notarial acts are any written of facts arranged by a notary, notary public or civil-law notary which is authenticated by the notary’s signature and official seal. Meanwhile, the official certificates include the truth of stated facts such as birth, marital status, death, health, completion of an academic course or list of ability to practice a profession and etc.

Actually, what an apostille certifies depends on what country you are going to stay for your importance. Thus, in some other countries, you may find formal notes as the roles including the stamp you get in the registration field, unacted visa and medical certificate. However, the use of apostille to simplify the documentation authentication is not necessarily needed and not obliged for:

  • Documentation certified by the consul or diplomat.
  • Economy and trade documentation which include a contract for product delivery, accountancy document and property of inventory.
  • Documentation that has no formal status.
  • Driving license, passport, student card, ID Military card and pension certificate.

Where to Get Apostille

To legalize your documents using apostille, there are usually formal authorization and private officials that are available to help you. In consequence, someone who wants to certify a document, he/she is required to pay a charge. Thus, the certification process may takes time.

The use of apostille is accepted if you go to the right way of getting the certificate. There are some competent institutions offering such services based on the document types. The Ministry of Defense can legalize any certificate related to the military organization and department in Russia. The Ministry of Education can certify any documents in the field of science and education. Other ministries that have authority for the document legalization are The Ministry of Judiciary and The Ministry of Home Affairs. As a result, all the certified documents are issued in standard form. This way, you usually need one week.

Documentation provided by territorial offices of registration can be used to propose certification using apostille. This way, there are some registration offices available in certain districts to offer such services.

Procedure For An Apostille

To have a complete understanding in addition to apostille definition, it is basically important to check out the procedure for an apostille, too. Be eligible that apostille is approved and attached to the documents by the Competent Authorities and designated by the government of country which is part of the convention. These authorities is well-organized by the Hague Conference on Private International Law.

To be eligible for an apostille, the document must be firstly certified by an officer under the authority that issues the apostille. As we have mentioned, you can go to the right and competent institutions. In India, the documents must be authenticated by the administration of Indian state where you want your documents to be issued.

Legalization of Apostille

Our article entitled apostille definition also include the information about the apostille legalization allowing you to be knowledgeable about this type of document certification. Basically, a country that has not signed the Convention should specify how it certifies foreign legal documents for its use. In this case, there might be two country that have special convention on recognizing their public documents. However, in practice, this is uncommon.

Alternatively, if your country has not signed the convention, certify your documents in the foreign ministry of the state where the documents are originated. This way, the foreign ministry will lead the embassy or consulate to process the documents certification. This means, you certify the documents twice before it gets its legalization for use in the receiving country.

For instance, Canada doesn’t sign the convention. Therefore, Canadian documents must be certified by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs in Ottawa or by a Canadian consular official. This is a must in order that you can use the documents in the receiving state. Due to the fact that Canada is not a signatory, the documents are required for certification twice; at the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and at the consulate of receiving country.

Further Stages of Legalization

In addition to apostille legalization, there are some further stages after legalizing documents with apostille. Depending on the use, they are usually required by some Apostille Agreement Member states. For example, if you are planning to marry in Greece, you will be asked for translating your apostille documents. This way, you should go to the Greek Consulate to have your documents verified. After that, you can use them for your marriage license in-country.

Moreover, it is advisable to have a look up with whomever you present the documents based on the requirements for every case.

Validity of Apostille

Technically, there is never an expired date once an apostille is issued. However, some factors might render an apostilled document to be unusable due to the several situations. For example, if you have certified your documents outside the convention, you might be required to follow the certification re-proses. Other example, if you want to apply job in China, make sure you certify your documents within 6 months to get their validity for your application.

The Benefit Of Using Apostille

There is a big benefit of using apostille in legalizing documents in order to use them for your purposes. The certification through apostille provided by Hague Convention makes everything easier for public documents. This way, all types of documents can be recognized throughout the world.

For trade, it makes you easier to use the business documents when you need to expand your business overseas. For academic purposes, legalization and certification make you easy to access everything related to your international study.

Simply, if you need to go abroad either for business, study, dwell permanently or even for military and judiciary cases, all of your documents must be certified, legalized and validated using appostille. If the receiving country is not a signatory, then you need to follow the certification twice.

In short, appostille helps you to easily use your documents for desired purposes.

Final Words

Now that we have enriched you with the knowledge of apostille definition and all other related information, make sure you are less worried now to go abroad with all required documents. Make sure you understand the procedure of legalizing and certifying the documents as well as the place to go to get the documents legalization and certification. Now the first thing to do is finding out whether or not your receiving country is a signatory. If so, it would be easier for you to follow the process.

If you find this information helpful, don’t hesitate to share it with your family and friends.