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Hague Convention or Apostille Convention

Hague Convention or Apostille Convention

The Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents, the Apostille Convention, or the Apostille Treaty, is an international treaty drafted in 1961, which 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.

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.

What information does the Apostille stamp consist of?

On the top is the text Apostille, under which the text Convention de La Haye du 5 October 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:

1. Country … (where the stamp is being put)
This public document
2. has been signed by (name and surname of the person)
3. acting in the capacity of (e.g. Public Notary)
4. bears the seal/stamp of (e.g. Basic Court of Novi Sad)
5. at (name of the city/town)
6. the … (date when the stamp is being put)
7. by … (name of the authorized persons and institution)
8. No … (registered number)
9. Seal/stamp … (of the authority giving the apostille)
10. Signature

States that are party to the convention and dates of entry into force

Albania 09.05.2004.
Andorra 12.31.1966
Antigua and Barbuda 01.11.1981.
Argentina 18.02.1988.
Australia 16.03.1995.
Austria 13.01.1968.
Azerbaijan 02.03.2005.
Armenia 08.14.1994

Barbados 30.11.1966.
Bahamas 07.10.1973
Bahrain 31.12.2013.
Belgium 09.02.1976
Belize 11.04.1993
Belarus 31.05.1992
Botswana 30.09.1966.
Bosnia and Herzegovina 24.01.1965.
Brazil 08.14.2016
Brunei Darussalam 03.12.1987.
Bulgaria 29.04.2001.
Burundi 03.12.2015.

Cape Verde 13.02.2010
China only Hong Kong region (China-Hong Kong) 25.04.1965
China only Macau region (China-Macao) 02.04.1969
Cyprus 30.04.1973.
Colombia 01.30.2001
Costa Rica 14.12.2011.
Cook Islands 30.04.2005.
Croatia 24.01.1965.
Czech Republic 26.03.1999.
Chile 30.08.2016.

Denmark 29.12.2006.
Dominica 03.11.1978
Dominican Republic 30.08.2009.

Ecuador 02.04.2005.
El Salvador 31.05.1996
Estonia 30.09.2001.

Fuji 10.10.1970
Finland 26.08.1985.
France 01.24.1965

Grenada 07.02.1974.
Greece 18.05.1985.
Georgia 14.05.2007.
Germany 13.02.1966.
Guatemala 18.09.2017.
Guyana 18.04.2019.

Honduras 30.09.2004.
Hungary 18.01.1973.

Israel 14.08.1978.
India 14.07.2005.
Ireland 09.03.1999.
Iceland 27.11.2004.
Italy (Italy) 11/02/1978

Japan 27.07.1970.

Kazakhstan 30.01.2001.
Kyrgyzstan 07.31.2011.
Republic of Korea 14.07.2007

Lesotho 04.12.1966.
Latvia 30.01.1996.
Liberia 08.02.1996.
Lithuania 19.07.1997.
Liechtenstein 17.09.1972.
Luxembourg 03.06.1997.

Malawi 02.12.1967.
Malta 03.03.1968.
Morocco 14.08.2016.
Marshall Islands 14.08.1992.
Mauritius 12.03.1968.
Mexico 14.08.1995.
Moldova 16.03.2007.
Monaco 31.12.2002
Mongolia 31.12.2009.
Montenegro 03.06.2006.

Namibia 30.01.2001.
Niue 02.03.1999.
Nicaragua 14.05.2013.
New Zealand 11.22.2001
Norway 29.07.1983.
Netherlands 08.10.1965.
North Macedonia 24.01.1965.

Oman 30.01.2012.

Palau 23.06.2020.
Panama 04.08.1991.
Paraguay 01.09.2014.
Peru 09.30.2010.
Philippines 14.05.2019.
Poland 14.08.2005.
Portugal 04.02.1969.

Romania 16.03.2001.
Russian Federation 31.05.1992.

Samoa 13.09.1999.
San Marino 13.02.1995.
Santa Lucia 31.07.2002.
Sao Tome and Principe 13.09.2008.
Swaziland 06.09.1968
Seychelles 31.03.1979.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 27.10.1979.
Saint Kitts and Nevis 14.12.1994.
Slovakia 18.02.2002.
Slovenia 24.01.1965.
Serbia 24.01.1965.
Suriname 25.11.1975.
South Africa 30.04.1995.
Switzerland 11.03.1973.
Sweden 01.05.1999.
Spain 25.09.1978

Tajikistan 31.10.2015.
Tonga 06.04.1970.
Trinidad and Tobago 14.07.2000.
Tunisia 10.07.2017, entry into force 30.03.2018.
Turkey 29.09.1985.

Uzbekistan 15.04.2012.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 24.01.1965.
Ukraine 22.12.2003.
Uruguay 14.10.2012.
United States (United States of America) 15.10.1981.

Venezuela 16.03.1999.
Vanuatu 01.08.2008.

If you need more information regarding legalization of foreign public documents or you need any assistance regarding this process, contact Asst Office.

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Legalisation of Foreign Public Documents

Legalisation of Foreign Public Documents

Legalisation of Foreign Public Documents is done either on the basis of the he Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents, the Apostille Convention, or by authentication by legalization.


Apostilles are affixed by Competent Authorities designated by the government of a state which is party to the convention. A list of these authorities is maintained by the Hague Conference on Private International Law. 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.

Apostille is the only formality that, under the Convention, may be required so that public documents which have been executed in the territory of one Contracting State may be produced in the territory of all Contracting States, with the power of evidence of public documents of these states. It applies to the documents emanating from an authority or an official connected with the courts or tribunals of the State, including:

  • court documents;
  • administrative documents;
  • notarial acts;
  • official certificates which are placed on documents signed by persons in their private capacity, such as official certificates recording the registration of a document or the fact that it was in existence on a certain date and official and notarial authentications of signatures.

Authentication by legalisation

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.

When the legalisation is not required?

The legalization of foreign public documents and Apostille is not required:

  1. When there is a ratified international agreement on the exemption of certain foreign public documents from any kind of legalisation between two countries where the public document will be produced.
  2. When documents issued in one country, based on de facto reciprocity, are not subject to legalization for use in other country.
  3. When the state authority before which the public document issued in one will be used, does not require legalization;
  4. When legalization is not possible due to the nature, character, or type of public documents (travel documents, identity cards, etc.), and when public documents relate to commercial, foreign trade or customs operations, i.e. accompanying the exported or imported goods, and are issued or verified by the competent Chamber of Commerce or customs authorities (customs declarations, invoices, certificates of customs supervision, origin, direct shipment, the end-user, etc.).

If you need more information regarding legalisation of foreign public documents or you need any assistance regarding this process, contact Asst Office.