To use official documents abroad they require legalization. In most cases, legalization is carried out in the form of the Hague Apostille.
It is an international treaty drafted by the Hague Conference on Private International Law.
In 1961, many countries joined together to create a simplified method of “legalizing” documents for universal recognition. In other words, It is an international treaty drafted by the Hague Conference on Private International Law.
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.
What is an Apostille
The Apostille is a stamp in the shape of a square. It should be filled in the official language of the issuing authority. The heading “Apostille (Convention de la Haye du 5 octobre 1961)” is mandatory in French.
It is an international certification comparable to a notarization in domestic law and confirms the authenticity of the signature, the quality in which the signer has acted, and the authenticity of the seal or stamp with which the document is affixed.
Each Apostille is registered and contains the issue date and a unique number. The Apostille is issued by the authorities for documents. More information about the responsibilities and special features of the procedure can be found in our country information.
Currently, the number of States Parties to this Convention is 115. Many countries of the former Soviet Union have ratified the Hague Convention.
For some countries that have acceded to the Convention, there are special rules. However, Germany has objected to the accession of Azerbaijan, Burundi, Dominican Republic, India, Kyrgyzstan, Kosovo, Liberia, Morocco, Moldova, Mongolia, Paraguay, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. This means that the agreement between Germany and these countries does not apply.
Exists the possibility that You have found out that the destination is NOT an apostille country, what to do now? You need is Consular/Embassy legalization of documents is required for documents that will be used in countries that are not part of the Hague Convention.
To sum up, Apostilles are used whenever public documents need to be produced abroad. This may occur in a multitude of cross-border situations: international marriages, international relocation, applications for studies, residency or citizenship in a foreign State, inter-country adoption procedures, international business transactions and foreign investment procedures, enforcement of intellectual property rights abroad, foreign legal proceedings, etc.
The situations where an Apostille is needed are countless. As a result, several million Apostilles are issued around the world every year, making the Apostille Convention the most widely applied of all the Hague Conventions. You can check which countries are part of The Hague Convention here.
What is Legalization?
In case the country that you are presenting your documents to is not a part of The Hague Convention here, Legalization can be done instead.
It is an almost identical process of Apostille but for countries that are not members of The Hague Convention. The validity of Legalization is just the same as Apostille.