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Attestation or Apostille

What is an Apostille?

India, since 2005, is a member of the Hague Convention of October 5, 1961, that abolished the requirement of legalization of foreign public documents. Apostille is acceptable in 105 member-countries of the Convention.  Apostille is done for personal documents like birth/death/marriage certificates, Affidavits, Power of Attorney, etc. and educational documents like degree, diploma, matriculation and secondary level certificates, etc. Any document Apostilled in one member country is acceptable in all the other 104 member-countries, a signatory to the referred convention of 1961 thus greatly simplifying the process of attestation by making it needless to get the documents attested in each or for each of the countries separately. Know More...

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What is Attestation/General Attestation/MEA Attestation?

This is done for all the countries which are not a member of the Hague Convention and where apostille is not accepted. Know More...

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Which are the documents authenticated/apostilled?

Any type of document viz personal, educational or commercial can be authenticated/apostilled.

What is an Apostille and when do I need one?

An Apostille is a certificate that authenticates the origin of a public document (e.g., a birth, marriage or death certificate, a judgment, an extract of a register or a notarial attestation). The Model Apostille Certificate is reproduced at the beginning of this brochure. Apostilles can only be issued for documents issued in one country party to the Apostille Convention and that is to be used in another country which is also a party to the Convention.

You will need an Apostille if all of the following apply:

  • The country where the document was issued is a party to the Apostille Convention; and

  • The country in which the document is to be used is a party to the Apostille Convention; and

  • The law of the country where the document was issued considers it to be a public document; and

  • The country in which the document is to be used requires an Apostille in order to recognize it as a foreign public document.

An Apostille may never be used for the recognition of a document in the country where that document was issued Apostilles are strictly for the use of public documents abroad!

An Apostille may not be required if the laws, regulations, or practice in force in the country where the public document is to be used have abolished or simplified the requirement of an Apostille, or have exempted the document from any legalization requirement. Such simplification or exemption may also result from a treaty or other agreement that is in force between the country where the public document is to be used and the country that issued it (e.g., some other Hague Conventions exempt documents from legalization or any analogous formality, including an Apostille).

If you have any doubts, you should ask the intended recipient of your document whether an Apostille is necessary in your particular case.

In which countries does the Apostille Convention apply?

The Apostille Convention only applies if both the country where the public document was issued and the country where the public document is to be used are parties to the Convention. A comprehensive and updated list of the countries where the Apostille Convention applies, or will soon apply, is available in the Apostille Section of the Hague Conference website look for the link entitled Status table of the Apostille Convention.

The Status table of the Apostille Convention has two parts: the first part lists countries that have joined the Apostille Convention and are also Members of the Hague Conference (i.e., the Organisation that developed the Convention); the second part lists countries that have joined the Apostille Convention but are not Members of the Hague Conference. In other words, a country does not need to be a Member of the Hague Conference to be a party to the Apostille Convention.

When checking the Status table of the Apostille Convention, always keep the following in mind:

  • Check if both the country where the public document was issued and the country where the document is to be used are listed in either part of the Status table.

  • It does not matter whether a country appears in the first or the second part of the Status table the Convention applies equally to Members and non-Members of the Organisation.

  • Check the date of entry into force of the Convention for both countries. Look for the column entitled only after that date can the relevant country issue and receive Apostilles.

  • There are different ways for a country to become a party to the Convention (ratification, accession, succession or continuation), but these differences have no impact on how the Convention operates in a country.

  • If one of the countries has acceded to the Convention, check that the other country has not objected to that accession; to find out, see the column entitled Type next to the acceding country  name and check if there is a link entitled A  if so, click on it and check whether the other country is listed.

  • Check whether the Convention applies to the entire territory of a country or only to parts of it; to find out, see if there is a link in the columns entitled and Residents if so, click on it and read the relevant information.

What do I do if either the country where my public document was issued or the country where I need to use my public document is not a party to the Apostille Convention?

If your public document was issued or is to be used in a country where the Apostille Convention does not apply, you should contact the Embassy or a Consulate of the country where you intend to use the document in order to find out what your options are. The Permanent Bureau (Secretariat) of the Hague Conference does not provide assistance in such cases.

To which documents does the Apostille Convention apply?

The Convention only applies to public documents. Whether or not a document is a public document is determined by the law of the country in which the document was issued. Countries typically apply the Convention to a wide variety of documents. Most Apostilles are issued for documents of an administrative nature, including birth, marriage and death certificates; documents emanating from an authority or an official connected with a court, tribunal or commission; extracts from commercial registers and other registers; patents; notarial acts and notarial attestations (acknowledgments) of signatures; school, university and other academic diplomas issued by public institutions. The Apostille Convention does not apply to documents executed by diplomatic or consular agents. The Convention also excludes from its scope certain administrative documents related to commercial or customs operations.

What do I need to know before requesting an Apostille?

Before you approach a Competent Authority about getting an Apostille, you should consider questions such as:

  • Does the Apostille Convention apply in both the country that issued the public document and the country where I intend to use it?

  • If the country that issued the public document has designated several Competent Authorities, which one is the relevant Competent Authority to issue an Apostille for my public document?

  • Can I get an Apostille for my public document, i.e., is my document considered a public document under the law of the country where it was issued?

  • Can I request an Apostille by mail or must I appear in person? This is particularly relevant if you are living in a country other than the country that issued your public document.

  • If I have multiple documents, will I need multiple Apostilles?

  • Are there other documents (in addition to the public document) or additional information that I need to provide to get an Apostille (e.g., a document establishing my identity or a stamped envelope in the case of requests by mail)?

  • How much does an Apostille cost and what forms of payment are available?

  • How long will it take to get the Apostille?

Do all Apostilles have to look exactly the same?

No. An Annex to the Apostille Convention provides a Model Apostille Certificate (which is reproduced at the beginning of this brochure). Apostilles should conform as closely as possible to this Model Certificate.

In particular, an Apostille must:

  • be identified as an Apostille; and

  • include the short version of the French title of the Convention (Convention de La Haye du 5 Octobre 1961); and

  • include a box with the 10 numbered standard informational items.

An Apostille may also provide additional information. For example, an Apostille may:

  • provide extra information about the public document to which it relates;

  • recall the limited effect of an Apostille (i.e., that it only certifies the origin of the public document to which it relates);

  • provide a web address (URL) of a register where the origin of the Apostille may be verified; or

  • specify that the Apostille is not to be used in the country that issued it.

However, such additional information must be outside the box that holds the 10 numbered standard informational items.

What are the effects of an Apostille?

An Apostille only certifies the origin of the public document to which it relates: it certifies the authenticity of the signature or seal of the person or authority that signed or sealed the public document and the capacity in which this was done. An Apostille does not certify the content of the public document to which it relates. Apostilles are not grants of authority and do not give any additional weight to the content of underlying documents. An Apostille may never be used for the recognition of a document in the country where that document was issued  Apostilles are strictly for use of public documents abroad. It is up to the country where the Apostille is to be used to decide how much weight to give to the underlying public document.

Once I have an Apostille, do I need anything else to show that the signature or seal on my public document is genuine?

No. An Apostille issued by the relevant Competent Authority is all that is required to establish that a signature or seal on a public document is genuine and to establish the capacity of the person or authority that signed or sealed the public document.

Can Apostilles be rejected in the country where they are to be used?

Apostilles issued in accordance with the requirements of the Convention must be recognized in the country where they are to be used. Apostilles may only be rejected if and when:

  • their origin cannot be verified (i.e., if and when the particulars on the Apostille do not correspond with those in the register kept by the Competent Authority that allegedly issued the Apostille); or

  • their formal elements differ radically from the Model Certificate annexed to the Convention.

While an Apostille should conform as closely as possible to the Model Certificate annexed to the Convention, in practice Apostilles issued by different Competent Authorities vary in design, size, and color as well as in any additional elements that may be included on the Certificate. Such variations in appearance are not a basis for refusal of an Apostille. Failure to affix an Apostille to the public document in a particular manner is not a basis for refusing the Apostille. The mere fact that an Apostille has been affixed by a method that differs from the method(s) employed by the country where it is to be used is not a reason for the rejection of the Apostille. Additional text on an Apostille outside the box with the 10 numbered standard informational items is not a basis for rejection of an Apostille. Apostille Certificates issued by countries that are not a party to the Convention must be rejected in all other States as being contrary to the Convention.

What an apostille means?

The Hague Apostille (or simply called endorsement, also in french: apostille: means certify, authenticate or complete.)Aims to simplify the legalization of documents to verify their authenticity, in order to be valid internationally, making unnecessary diplomatic or consular legalization or other certifications.

Who is an apostille?

An Apostille is simply the name for a specialized certificate, issued by the Secretary of State. The Apostille is attached to your original document to verify it is legitimate and authentic so it will be accepted in one of the other countries who are members of the Hague Apostille Convention.

Can a notary do an apostille?

Notaries cannot issue apostilles themselves.

Who can apostille a document?

Apostilles authenticate the seals and signatures of officials on public documentssuch as birth certificates, court orders, or any other document issued by a public authority so that they can be recognized in foreign countries that are members of the 1961 Hague Convention Treaty.

How long does it take to get an apostille?

To obtain an apostille usually takes two days

Do I need to translate apostille?

You'll need a notarized certified translation as part of the apostille process to authenticate your document for use in another country that is a member of the Hague Convention. ... Our Certified Translators have successfully translated thousands of apostilles.

Do birth certificates need Apostille stamps?

There is no exception to this rule. If the country requesting your Birth Certificate is not a member of the Hague Apostille Convention, then your documents may require further authentication through the Ministry of External Affairs Govt of India and legalization through the Embassy / Consulate office.

Do I need to apostille my marriage certificate?

If the requesting country is a member of the Hague Apostille Convention, you will be required to provide a Marriage Certificate with an Apostille. The Apostille helps authenticate the document for acceptance in the other country. Marriage Certificates issued by a State must be authenticated from the same State.

Can you apostille a passport?

We can apostille a signed and notarized color copy of your Indian Passport in all 29 States If you are outside of India, please do not send in your original passport.

What do I need to Apostille a birth certificate?

An Apostille is an authentication of public official signatures (seal) on documents to be used outside India. Some countries will only recognize your Birth Certificate or other types of an official document if it is authenticated by the Secretary of State in the country which the document was issued.

Is Apostille the same as legalization?

Authentication and Legalization will make your document valid for legal purposes only in the country of which the consulate has legalized the document. The important thing to remember is that when you have your document authenticated and legalized it is the equivalent of an Apostille certification

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News and Pieces of information


The Kerala High Court has by extending the recognition towards legality of a document attested in a Foreign country to India has passed a unique and landmark Judgment, the one of a kind in the country, by giving recognition to the principles of private International law and making it applicable to the realm of domestic law(i.e. Municipal Law). 

The petitioner who is an Indian citizen wanted to marry a foreign national from Switzerland. He gave notice of marriage as prescribed under S.5 of the Special Marriage Act,1954. The marriage officer refused to accept the civil certificate given along with the application to prove the single status of the prospective bridegroom, though attested abroad by the notary and issued from Swiss confederation, stating that the same cannot be given validity and approval in India.

The Court speaking through Honourable Mr. Justice Mohammed Mustaque, in Abdul Manaf P.A v State of Kerala & others repelled the contentions of the marriage officer regarding refusal to register the marriage and held that status of civil certificate which has been issued by Swiss Confederation and attested by a notary in terms of Hague Convention,1961(Apostille Convention) wherein India was a signatory was a valid document and does not require any further legalisation in India . 

The Court opined as follows:-“ Ext.P5 certificate of civil status is issued by the Swiss Confederation, to prove the bride marital status, attested by a notary in terms of Hague Convention, abolishing the requirement of legalization for foreign public documents (Apostille Convention). India has declared its accession to above Convention on 05/10/1961. Switzerland has not objected to the accession of India as Contracting State under article 12 of the Convention. Thus, the Indian Court and the Public Authorities are bound to recognize such certification of the notaries of the foreign country”.

The Apostille Convention,1961(Hague Convention, abolishing the requirement of legalization for foreign public documents) replaced cumbersome formalities of the requirement of diplomatic or consular legalization for foreign public documents and legalization process of authentication by the issuance of Apostille Certificate.

The foreign public documents do not require legalization if it bears apostille certification. Based on the above, the court directed the marriage officer to process the application of the petitioner. The court further directed that since the waiting period contemplated under the Special Marriage Act, 1954 was over, the marriage officer shall cause to take necessary steps to register the marriage expeditiously. -Law Vedic

Apostille Convention

Not to be confused with Apostle (messenger, esp. Christian); or an apostil, meaning a marginal note or gloss.

The Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents, the Apostille Convention, or the Apostille Treaty, is an international treaty drafted by the Hague Conference on Private International Law. It specifies the modalities through which a document issued in one of the signatory Countries can be certified for legal purposes in all the other signatory states. Certification under the terms of the convention is called an apostille (from Latin post illa and then French: a marginal note) or Hague Apostille. It is an international certification comparable to a notarization in domestic law, and normally supplements a local notarization of the document. If the convention applies between two countries, such an apostille is sufficient to certify a document's validity, and removes the need for double-certification, by the originating country and then by the receiving country.


Apostilles are affixed by Competent Authorities designated by the government of a state which is a party to the convention. A list of these authorities is maintained by the Hague Conference on Private International Law. Examples of designated authorities are embassies, ministries, courts or (local) governments. For example, in the United States, the Secretary of State of each state and his or her deputies are usually competent authorities. In the United Kingdom, all apostilles are issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in Milton Keynes.

To be eligible for an apostille, a document must first be issued or certified by an officer recognized by the authority that will issue the apostille. For example, in the US state of Vermont, the Secretary of State maintains specimen signatures of all notaries public, so documents that have been notarized are eligible for apostilles. Likewise, courts in the Netherlands are eligible to place an apostille on all municipal civil status documents directly. In some cases, intermediate certifications may be required in the country in which the document originates before it is eligible for an apostille. For example, in New York City, the Office of Vital Records (which issues, among other things, birth certificates) is not directly recognized by the New York Secretary of State. As a consequence, the signature of the City Clerk must be certified by the County Clerk of New York County to make the birth certificate eligible for an apostille. In Japan all official documents are issued in Japanese; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA, JAPAN) can then provide an apostille for these documents. In India, the apostille certification can be obtained from the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi, after authentication by the administration of the Indian state where the document was issued (for educational documents).


The apostille itself is a stamp or printed form consisting of 10 numbered standard fields. On the top is the text APOSTILLE, under which the text Convention de La Haye du 5 octobre 1961 (French for “Hague Convention of 5 October 1961“) is placed. This title must be written in French for the Apostille to be valid (article 4 of the Convention). In the numbered fields, the following information is added (maybe in the official language of the authority which issues it or in a second language):

  1. Country … [e.g. Korea, Spain] 
    This public document 

  2. has been signed by [e.g. Henry Cho]

  3. acting in the capacity of [e.g. Notary Public]

  4. bears the seal/stamp of [e.g. High Court of Hong Kong] 

  5. at [e.g. Hong Kong]

  6. the … [e.g. 16 April 2014]

  7. by … [e.g. the Chief Executive of the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong]

  8. No … [e.g. 2536218517]

  9. Seal/stamp … [of the authority giving the apostille]

  10. Signature

The information can be placed on the document itself, on the back of the document, or attached to the document as an allonge.


A state that has not signed the Convention must specify how foreign legal documents can be certified for its use. Two countries may have a special convention on the recognition of each other's public documents, but in practice this is infrequent. Otherwise, the document must be certified by the foreign ministry of the country in which the document originated, and then by the foreign ministry of the government of the state in which the document will be used; one of the certifications will often be performed at an embassy or consulate. In practice, this means the document must be certified twice before it can have legal effect in the receiving country. For example, as Canada is not a signatory, Canadian documents for use abroad must be certified by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs in Ottawa or by a Canadian consular official abroad, and subsequently by the relevant government office or consulate of the receiving state.

Authentication by legalization is widely used in international commerce and civil law matters in those jurisdictions where the simpler apostille system has not been adopted (e.g.: Canada, China).

Broadly speaking, the aim of any international document authentication process is to solve a fundamentally practical problem: how can civil and judicial officials reliably verify the authenticity of a document that was issued abroad? Legalization attempts to solve this dilemma by creating a chain of authentications, each by a progressively higher government authority so as to ultimately narrow the point of contact between countries to a single designated official (usually in the national department responsible for foreign affairs). Therefore, by authenticating the signature and seal of this final official a foreign jurisdiction can authenticate the entire chain of verifications back to the entity responsible for issuing the original document without scrutinizing each "link" individually.

Take for example John who wishes to obtain a divorce in Canada but got married in Brazil. Canadian law mandates that John must supply a copy of his marriage certificate in order to move ahead with divorce proceedings in that country. John's marriage certificate was issued by the local authority in his wife's hometown in the Brazilian countryside. It would be risky and impractical for Canadian judicial officials to seek confirmation about the authenticity of John's marriage certificate by attempting to liaise directly with the village government in Brazil.

The solution, then, is to have John submit his document to a controlled, sequential process of verification: legalization. The first step, in this example, is to have the certificate notarized by licensed Brazilian notary. The signature and seal of the notary are in turn attested to by the Brazilian Ministry of External Relations who also affix a stamp and signature to the marriage certificate. Finally, John brings the document to the Legalization Section of the Embassy of Canada to Brazil. Here Canadian consular officials verify the markings affixed to the document by the Brazilian Ministry of External Relations and affix their own, final, authentication formally recognizing the marriage certificate as legally effective for

use in Canada.



An Apostille (pronounced “ah-po-steel”) is a French word meaning certification.

An Apostille is simply the name for a specialized certificate, issued by the Secretary of State. The Apostille is attached to your original document to verify it is legitimate and authentic so it will be accepted in one of the other countries who are members of the Hague Apostille Convention.

In 1961, many countries joined together to create a simplified method of “legalizing” documents for universal recognition. Members of the conference, referred to as the Hague Convention, adopted a document referred to as an Apostille that would be recognized by all member countries.

The Apostille Convention provides the simplified certification of public (including notarized) documents to be used in countries that have joined the convention. Documents destined for use in participating countries and their territories should be certified by one of the officials in the jurisdiction in which the document has been executed.

The Apostille Convention requires that all Apostille’s be numbered consecutively, with individual numbers applied to each Apostille issued. The recognized standard Apostille contains a seal and 10 mandatory references: name of country from which the document emanates, name of person signing the document, the capacity in which the person signing the document has acted, in the case of unsigned documents, the name of the authority that has affixed the seal or stamp, place of certification date of certification, the authority issuing the certificate, number of certificate, seal or stamp of authority issuing certificate and signature of authority issuing certificate.

Prior to the introduction of Apostille certificates the burden on international courts and authorities to judge foreign documents as authentic was quite considerable. On the October 5, 1961 the Hague Convention abolished the requirement of legalisation for foreign public documents. The Convention reduces all of the formalities of legalisation to the simple delivery of a certificate in a prescribed form, entitled “Apostille”, by the authorities of the State where the document originates. This certificate, placed on the document, is dated, numbered and registered. The verification of its registration can be carried out without difficulty by means of a simple request for information addressed to the authority which delivered the certificate.


Additional authentication required for international acceptance of notarized documents including (but not limited to) adoption papers, affidavits, birth certificates, contracts, death certificates, deeds, diplomas and degrees, divorce decrees, incorporation papers, marriage certificates, patent applications, powers of attorney, and school transcripts. Instituted by 'The Hague Convention Abolishing The Requirements Of Legalization For Foreign Public Documents' of 1961, its objective is obviated "the requirements of diplomatic or consular legalization" and thus replace the cumbersome 'chain authentication method' that called for verification by multiple authorities.


Notary Basics: Understanding Apostilles And Authentication Certificates

By Kelle Clarke on July 30, 2015

notarizing documents to be sent to foreign countries, you may be asked if you can provide something called an "apostille" for the document. 

An apostille is a certificate — often attached to the document by an appropriate government official after it is notarized. While you are not responsible for obtaining an apostille, signers often ask about them, so it's helpful to understand what they are and how they work.

Apostille Or Authentication Certificates? 

Apostilles and authentication certificates validate the seal and signature of a Notary on a document so that it can be accepted in a foreign country. Both verify that you held a Notary commission at the time you notarized the document.

Apostilles are used when public documents are being transferred between countries that are party to the Hague Apostille Convention of 1961. This international treaty streamlined the cumbersome, traditional procedure for authenticating documents.

An apostille is issued by your Secretary of State's office or Notary commissioning agency. The single apostille is the only certification needed. Once prepared and verified, the apostille is attached to and sent along with the notarized documents. Notaries cannot issue apostilles themselves. This all happens after the notarization, and requires no action on your part.

Authentication certificates are used for destination nations that are not part of the Hague Convention. Instead of a single apostille, the document needs several authentication certificates, including those from your commissioning agency, the U.S. Department of State, the consul of the destination country and potentially another government official in the destination country.

The requirements and processing time for authentication certificates will vary from country to country.

Getting A Notarization Authenticated 

According to the U.S. Department of State, documents that may require authentication for use abroad include: affidavits, agreements, articles of incorporation, company bylaws, deeds of assignment, diplomas, home study, income verification, powers of attorney, single status, transcripts, trademarks, warrants, extraditions, certificates of good standing and other general business documents. Also, parents wanting to adopt a child living in another country must have their adoption dossiers properly authenticated.

But your client is responsible for requesting the authentication — not you.

Requests for an apostille or authentication certificate are generally submitted in writing to your state's Notary commissioning authority (usually the Secretary of State’s office) and should contain:

  • An explanation of why the apostille or authentication is needed.

  • The original document, including the Notary’s completed notarial certificate.

  • The final destination of the document.

  • A postage-paid return envelope addressed to either the document custodian or the document’s final destination.

  • The required fee (varies by state). 

The commissioning office determines whether the document requires an apostille or authentication certificate, based on the document’s final destination.

What’s The Notary’s Role?

Your only responsibility is to notarize the document itself. Because the document is destined for another country, the notarization must be performed perfectly to ensure that there aren’t any problems on the receiving end. For example, some judges presiding over adoption cases in other countries may reject documents not properly notarized.

Keep in mind that with any notarized documents passing through a Notary regulator's office, the paperwork will be closely scrutinized. Any notarial errors may result in an enforcement action against you.

Can Notaries Provide Apostille Services?

Some enterprising Notaries who live near their Secretary of State’s office offer "apostille services" as a way to generate additional income. They essentially provide a courier service to deliver and return the paperwork to customers. These are not considered "notarial" acts, so the Notary may establish any relevant service fees with the client.

Kelle Clarke is a Contributing Editor with the National Notary Association.

Apostille definition

An apostille is a certification provided under the Hague Convention of 1961 for authenticating documents for use in foreign countries. The sole function is to certify the authenticity of the signature of the document. Put simply, an apostille is a certificate that is attached to another document so that it will be accepted when used overseas.

The certificate is approximately 15cm’s square in size and it is permanently glued to another document. Once attached, the certificate and the document that it is attached to are then embossed with an official government seal.

On the top is the text APOSTILLE, under which the text Convention de La Haye du 5 octobre 1961 (English translation: Hague Convention of 5 October 1961) is placed. In the numbered fields the following information is included:

  1. Country...[name of country issuing apostille] This public document

  2. has been signed by ... [name of the person who signed the document]

  3. acting in the capacity of ... [the capacity in which the person signed the document]

  4. bears the seal/stamp of ... [issuing authority] certified

  5. at ... [place of issue]

  6. the ... [date of issue]

  7. by ... [issuing authority]

  8. No ... [ registration number]

  9. Seal/stamp ... [stamp of issuing authority]

  10. Signature ... [signature of representative of issuing authority] 

There are designated authorities in every country to issue apostille certificates. Apostilles are commonly issued for various documents related to adoption cases, for commercial documents, for official documents related to vital statistics and for court records, land records, school documents and patent applications.



The definition of an apostille is a specific seal that is used for certification purposes for foreign documents such as deeds and birth certificates.

An example of a document that may require an apostille is a criminal record check required for employment in a foreign country.

What is an Apostille Certificate

The Apostille is an official government issued certificate added to documents so they will be recognised in when presented in another country. 


Typically the Apostille Certificate is issued by the state from which the document originates although in some cases another state can issue the Apostille. Once a document has had an Apostille Certificate attached to it confirming the authenticity of signatures and seals it can be presented to any country which recognises the Apostille. The authority receiving the document should then accept the seals or signatures as true and valid without requesting further evidence or proof. 

In order for public documents to be internationally recognised, they must be notarised. However, this procedure usually takes a long time. For that reason, the Hague Apostille was introduced to speed up and simplify the legalisation procedure. Is this article, you’ll find out what an Apostille is, what it’s used for and how it differs from legalisation.

The Apostille: Definition

An Apostille is a special form of notarial certification in the international authentication procedure. It was adopted in the “Hague Convention on the Exemption from Legalisation of Foreign Public Documents” during the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) in 1961.

The Apostille certifies the authenticity of a public document, signature or stamp. The process of authentication is called apostilisation.

Since the introduction of the apostille as a form of notarial certification, the international transfer of documents has become far easier and faster. For example, documents that are required for forming a company abroad must be legitimised by apostilisation so that they remain valid in other countries.

When can the Hague Apostille be used?

The Apostille may be used only between states which are members of the Multilateral Hague Convention. All states participating in this convention can be found on the website of the German Federal Foreign Office. As of August 2018, 115 states are members of the Apostille Convention. Almost all European countries are members of the Hague Convention, as are China, Australia, India, Canada, Japan and the USA.

What does an Apostille look like?

The Apostille is placed directly on the document to be authenticated in the form of a 9×9-centimetre stamp and must always be titled ‘Apostille (Convention de La Haye du 5 octobre 1961)’. Everything else can be filled in in the respective national language.

Generally, the authorities in the designated country will require a translation of the original. In this case, the translation must be certified instead of the original document. Depending on the type of document, you may need a translation from a sworn translator. This process is necessary if you plan to set up a company in Germany from abroad, and for other things as well.

Differences between apostille and legalisation

Although Apostille and Legalisation differ in many respects, they have one thing in common. Both are forms of authentication for public documents, signatures or stamps. The purpose of authentication procedures is to verify the authenticity of documents. The document also acquires the same evidential value as a document from the state in which it is to be used by authentication. The differences lie mainly in the authentication procedure and the time involved.

For an Apostille, documents only need to be certified by a competent authority in the issuing country. Legalisation, on the other hand, requires the document to be authenticated by several authorities. Preliminary certification must first be issued by the competent authority in the issuing country. Subsequently, legalisation must be carried out by the consular mission of the country of destination.

The legalisation procedure was largely replaced by the Hague Convention (Apostille). For all member states of the Hague Agreement, apostilisation of the corresponding documents is sufficient, which represents an enormous simplification and acceleration in the international exchange of documents. All other states which are not members of the Hague Convention must continue to have the documents certified by the legalisation procedure.

Applying for an Apostille

The application for the Apostille must be made by the holder of the document in the document’s country of issue. Each member state of the Hague Convention determines which authorities are responsible for issuing the Apostille. Which authorities are responsible for this in which country can be found on the official website of the Hague Conference.


The countries in which a document is to be recognised often require a translation of the original foreign-language document. In this case, the Apostille must be issued on the translated document, not on the original. Whether a translation of the document is necessary should, therefore, be checked in advance to avoid delays in having the document recognised. You may need to use a sworn translator.

Be careful: Even if two states are members of the Hague Agreement, this does not necessarily mean that the state in which the document is to be used will recognise the Apostille. This is because a state is permitted to raise objections against another state. For example, both India and Germany are members of the Hague Convention, but Germany does not recognise apostilled documents from India. In this case, the legalisation procedure must be applied

Apostille Definition – What Is An Apostille?

The apostille certificate is used to legalise a document for use in another country.

If you are presenting a document that originates from the UK to another country you may be requested to get an apostille for your document. The apostille certificate is a small square certificate that is attached to another document. The apostille confirms that a government form, signature, seal or stamp on a document is genuine.

For example-
A government issued birth certificate may be issued with an apostille. 
A document that is signed by a solicitor may be issued with an apostille. 
Court stamped documents may be issued with an apostille. 
Documents issued with a notary seal may be issued with an apostille.

There are of course exceptions to the above examples. For more information on the type of documents that may be legalised with an apostille certificate please read our documents pages.

Why Attestation Is Required & What Does It Mean?

A lot of people are confused about why certificate attestation is required, what is the process, who attest these documents. This post clears basic attestation question and recommends an attestation service provider.

Today authenticated documents are necessary whether you are preparing to admit your kid in a school or moving abroad. Since there are thousands of people who travel abroad for employment/immigration or for any different reason, one of the important things you need to do is documentation (Personal, Educational Or Commercial Documents). If your documentation is not proper you can face difficulty or rejection to stay in a foreign country. People are usually mixed with the words attestation & apostille. The idea of document attestation is a sign or a symbol in itself for verifying the authenticity of a certificate. This article will help you to learn what is attestation? why it is needed also what is the importance of certificate/documents attestation.

What is attestation?

The attestation is the method of checking the authenticity of a document & declaring its authenticity by attaching it with the sign of the verifying personnel. The process requires the submission of original documents as well as a xerox of the same to authorized employees for verifying and required sign/stamp on the guided area.


If you want to travel to another country you will need to apply for a visa and as a matter of fact, the visa will be issued only when officials have verified your documents thus this make attestation of required documents necessary. Similarly, if you are looking for a family visa then attestation of the marriage certificate attestation is mandatory.

Types of Attestation

There are three primary kinds of attestations:

1) State Attestation

State attestation is needed prior to MEA attestation, wherever based on the type of certificate, appropriate state attestation is needed. For instance, in the event of educational certificates, attestation from the State Education Department is expected. In the case of personal certificates, General Administration Department of the involving state should attest the document earlier to attestation by the Ministry of External Affairs.

2) MEA Attestation or Apostille

MEA attestation is prepared simply after attestation by those appropriate state authorities.

3) Embassy Attestation

Embassy/Consulate attestation is prepared later the MEA attestation


An Apostille is a kind of attestation in which certificates are legalized in an appropriate form that is admissible in all countries that relate to the Hague Convention. Basically, Apostille is a global attestation that is admissible in nearly 92 nations, and most of the western world acknowledges Apostille.

Apostille stamp is a computer generated sticker stamp in a square-shaped, fixed on the opposite of the certificate by the MEA, Government of India. It has a different ID number, by which any associate nation of The Hague convention can verify its legitimacy online.

Certificate attestation can be tiring and time-consuming. If you think that getting your important certificates attested without anyone else can be a quite daunting experience. In that case, there is no reason to worry as there are various document attestation services who will take the responsibility of verifying your certificates without any troubles. Regardless of your place, you will receive assistance in case if you are trying to obtain official attestation by authorities.             -  Mystory

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