What is an Apostille?


What is an Apostille?

An Apostille is a method of authenticating public documents so that they can be considered valid in most foreign countries. It is a pre-printed form which has been designed by the Apostille Convention itself, which gave origin to the document in the first place.

A public document is either an administrative document, a document which has been written in front of a notary public or one which has been issued by a state court. Examples of this are: birth certificates, commercial registers, any documents related to court and legal procedures, school or university diplomas, death certificates and marriage certificates among many others

The Apostille is an authentication certificate issued by a specific authority, which can be attached to the public document or it can appear on a separate document. Although they are all generally similar because they follow specific requirements established by the Apostille Convention, some characteristics vary from country to country. Some of the Apostilles are printed documents, while others are stamps. It is also important to remember that Apostilles are only used for public documents which need to be used abroad.

But what’s the Apostille Convention then?

The Apostille formality was set up by a treaty called the Hague Convention of October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement for Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents. This long and complicated name is usually shortened to The Apostille Convention, a treaty which was signed to simplify the authentication process of documents and allow easier circulation of public documents. In this way, countries can avoid a series of chain authentication processes which involve a series of stages. There is a long list of countries (available in the Hague Conference official website) which are part of this deal and accept the Apostille as a genuine method of document authentication.

What do I need to know before requesting an Apostille?

At Certify Translations, we are experts in the topic of certified, legal translations and Apostille services. There are several things to take into account before trying to get an Apostille for a document, and we can talk you through the entire process.

Is the country where I need to turn in my documents part of the Convention? Does the convention apply in the country that issued the original? Who is the authority in charge of Apostilles in my country? How does the process work?

These are only some of the questions which might arise before starting the process to acquiring an Apostille for your public document. If you would like an expert to walk you through the entire process, just let us know

I’ve just checked and one of the two countries involved is not part of the Convention. What now?

No problem! At Certify Translations we also offer a service of document legalization. Legalizations are basically chains of authentications and stamps and signatures each one certifying that the previous one is valid, getting progressively to a single official authority in charge. The last authority in the chain certifies the previous authentication and, implicitly states that all the previous signatures and authentications are valid.

If this is the way you must go, we are here to help you. Please contact us and receive the support and information you need!