A basic apostille definition
– It is a form of authentication issued to documents for use in countries that participate in the Hague Convention of 1961. A list of countries that accept apostilles is provided by the US State Department.
Here is an apostille definition as given by the Hague Conference – A apostille is a certificate that authenticates the origin of a public document (e.g. a birth, marriage or death certificate, a judgment, etc.).
If the country of intended use does not participate in the Hague Convention , documents being sent to that country can be “authenticated” or “certified”.
For a more complete apostille definition you may visit the Hague Conference website.
The basic point of an apostille is to verify that your document is real and can be used in another country – specifically a country that participates in the Hague Convention. For example, if your birth certificate is granted in the United States and you need to use your birth certificate in China then you would need to have the birth certificate apostilled first. That’s it.
Why do we use apostilles?
Public documents, such as marriage, birth and death certificates, judgements, etc. often need to be used abroad. Before public documents can be used in a country other than the one that issued it, its origin typically must be authenticated. The traditional way to authenticate public documents to be used abroad is called legalisation and involves several steps of individual authentications. The process involves officials of the country of document origin as well as officials of the foreign Embassy or Consulate of the country where the documents are to be used. Because of the amount of steps and people involved the legalisation process can be slow and costly.
Many countries all over the world entered into a treaty to make the process of authenticating public documents much more efficient. This was the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement for Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents, the Apostille Convention, or the Apostille Treaty.
The treaty significantly reduces the time and cost of authenticating public documents by declaring the need for just one formality which is the issuance of authentication certificate known as an apostille.
So now when someone asks you for an apostille definition you can answer with confidence! Contact us today for all your apostille needs