Apostille: purpose and history
An Apostille is a certification of authenticity of a document. It is issued by the Secretary of State in US and by Foreign Affairs office in other Hague Member Countries. Any country which is a signatory of the 1961 Hague Convention recognizes an apostille as a certificate of authenticity of the document. The US has been a member of the Hague Convention since October 15, 1981. Apostilles are fixed by competent authorities designated by the government of a state which is party to the convention. The apostille itself is a stamp or printed form consisting of 10 numbered standard fields. The information can be placed on the (back of the) document itself, or attached to the document as an allonge.
Countries which are not members of the Hague Convention do not issue, accept or recognize an apostille as a certificate of authenticity of foreign documents. There are, currently, over one hundred such countries.
In these cases, the embassy, consular or diplomatic representative of the country located in the country of origin of document normally attends to the legalization of documents. This method of authenticating a document is also known as an "embassy legalization" or "embassy attestation".
In US e.g., In most cases an embassy legalization will require the document to be authenticated by the notary, followed by legalization from the Secretary of State, the US State Department and the embassy of the foreign country to which the document will be sent.
In United Kingdom, embassy legalization would involve solicitor notarization, followed by legalization by Foreign and Commonwealth office in Milton Keynes and then the embassy of the foreign country to which the document will be sent. In all cases of embassy legalization, the document will also need Ministry of Foreign affairs attestation as well in the country of usage of document. In practice this means the document must be certified twice before it can have legal effect in the receiving country.
Here to help
The process of obtaining an apostille or embassy legalization can get very complicated. Each foreign country has its own specific requirements, procedures and fees when asked to legalize an American or other document. For instance, the embassy may require that the contents of the document should be translated from English into their country's native language, and that such translation also be authenticated by the respective departments.
We at Authxperts undertake the authentication process on behalf of our clients, removing the need for the client to undergo all these complicated and cumbersome procedures. We offer our clients professional advice on the steps required to legalize their documents in more than 30 countries worldwide. Our expertise allows us to expedite the legalization procedure, offering our clients both speed of service and peace of mind.
We also assist individuals, residing in foreign countries, to obtain Apostille Certificates for their US, British, Australian etc. public documents including birth, marriage, divorce and death certificates. Contact us for further information.