Apostille and legalisation

The signatories to the Hague Agreement of 5 October 1961 agreed to a simplified form of international certification of public documents, namely, apostilisation. More and more States are joining this agreement on an ongoing basis.

An apostille is an internationally standardised form of certification of the legitimacy of a document for use in countries that recognise this form of legalisation. An apostille can be stamped on both originals and notarised copies of documents.

An apostille does not require any other certification or legalisation of the document and is recognised by the authorities of all States Parties to the Convention. An apostille is not required if there are legal grounds that cancel or simplify the legalisation of a document.

Those States which have not acceded to the Hague Agreement require legalisation of documents (this also means international authentication of the document by affixing special notarisations, usually at the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and subsequent certification at the consulate of the country where the document will be used).

Under the Hague Convention, the following documents are considered official:

  • documents issued by public authorities or officials subject to State jurisdiction, including documents emanating from a prosecutor, court clerk or bailiff
  • administrative documents
  • notarial acts
  • official inscriptions on documents, such as official certificates of registration of the document or its existence on a specified date, as well as official and notarial certifications of signatures.

The Hague Convention does not apply to:

  • documents originating from members of diplomatic missions or consular offices
  • administrative documents related to commercial transactions or customs operations.

A document that has been apostilled or legalised is suitable for presentation in the destination country. If you need the apostille or legalisation of a document, you should check with the country where you will be presenting the document.

Our company can help with the apostilling of documents in any country. If you have questions or need more information, please contact us. We are here to help you.


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