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What is Apostille
Title: Apostille and Legalization of Documents (Draft)
Post by: BC on August 15, 2006, 05:07:55 AM


Apostille and Legalization of documents for use in another country.

Just because one country issues an official document such as birth certificate, divorce decree, or certifies (via notary) other legal instruments does not mean that another country must accept it for use in their country.

The process of making a document acceptable for use in another country is called legalization.

Prior to 1961, legalization involved presenting a notarized document to the consul of the other country who would make the document legal for use in that country. This required use of a notary acceptable to the consulate, usually one at a higher level of government, not local notaries. Each countrys consulate had it’s own rules regarding this process so it was often a messy, time consuming process.

In order to overcome this burden some countries decided to standardize the legalization process calling it ‘Apostille’.

The following Wiki entry describes the agreements in place regarding the Apostille process :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hague_Convention_Abolishing_the_Requirement_for_Legalisation_for_Foreign_Public_Documents

Some common misconceptions regarding Apostille:

All countries accept/provide apostille – this is false.. some countries for example Canada were not signatories to the Hague Convention and do not accept or provide apostille services. If you are Canadian you would have to have your documents legalized the old fashioned way by having them certified in Canada, and either submitting the document to the foreign consulate in Canada for legalization or by submitting a document notarized by the Canadian consulate in the foreign country to the appropriate foreign country legalization official.

Apostille can only be used for official government documents – this is not true. Contracts, affidavits and other legal instruments between private parties can be legalized using the apostille procedure.

I can get an apostille in the foreign country - This is false. An apostille can only be applied to documents intended for use in a third country. For example if you want a document to be apostilled for use in Russia it must be done by the apostille issuing authority in the US.

Note: If you are a US citizen living in a foreign country you may be able to have your document notarized at the US consulate, then present the notarized document to the host country officials to have the apostille stamp applied. This is a workaround and is actually a two step process that involves both legalization and apostille. The consulate notarizes, the third country first legalizes the document for use in that country and then applies the apostille for use in another Hague convention country.

To get an apostille stamp on government issued documents in the US, you usually have to have the court clerk certify the document then take the document to the Secretary of State to have the apostille applied. Other legal instruments will usuall need to first be notarized, maybe even registered with the court clerk and then have the apostille applied. A few phone calls in advance should help clear the way.

In other countries you will have to ask to find out which official is authorized to apply the apostille and which procedures need to be followed. A google search can usually help identify the correct officials and procedures involved.


Title: Re: Apostille and Legalization of Documents (Draft)
Post by: Bruno on August 15, 2006, 06:15:37 AM
The following Wiki entry describes the agreements in place regarding the Apostille process

A on time up-to-date list from agreements :
http://hcch.e-vision.nl/index_en.php?act=conventions.status&cid=41

By example, you can see that for Moldova, the "Entry into force" will be 16/03/2007, same ifthey have sign the 19/06/2006

Quote
In other countries you will have to ask to find out which official is authorized to apply the apostille and which procedures need to be followed.

List of all countries with which official is autorized to apply the apostille :
http://www.hcch.net/index_en.php?act=conventions.authorities&cid=41

For USA, the list at http://travel.state.gov/about/info/customer/customer_312.html is better ( price, address, phone, etc ... ) ... price can vary a lot between state... between Hawai who is free and New-Jersey who ask 25$

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