What is an apostille?

An apostille is a certificate that is attached to a document, to allow it to be used outside the country of issue. The apostille is physically attached to the reverse of the document and confirms that either the seal on the document, or the signature on the document, has been verified. In the UK this process is handled by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. They will check that the seal or signature matches their database of authorised institutions or signatories. 

A document that has been 'apostilled' is then valid for use in any country that is a signatory to the Hague Convention. However, depending on what purpose the document is to be used for, the document and apostille may require translation before it will be accepted. If in doubt, you chould check with whoever needs to see the document as to whether this is necessary. 

How is it fixed to the document? 

The apostille is stuck on the reverse of the document, and then a raised seal is embossed through both the original and apostille. 

What information is included on the apostille?

The information contained on an apostille certificate is mandated under the terms of the Hague Convention of 1961. These details are as follows:

  1. Country of issue 
  2. Who has signed the document (if applicable)*
  3. The capacity in which the person signed the document (if applicable)*
  4. Details of any seal on the document (if applicable)*
  5. Place of issue 
  6. Date of issue 
  7. Issuing authority (in the UK this is the Foreign & Commonwealth Office)
  8. Apostille Certificate serial number 
  9. Stamp of issuing authority (the raised seal)
  10. Signature of representative of issuing authority 

*The apostille will contain details of either the person signing the document or the seal on the document.

Which countries accept an apostille?

The current list of countries that will accept an apostille without any further legalisation by that country's embassy are as follows:

Albania Andorra Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia
Azerbaijan Australia Austria Bahamas Bahrain
Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Bosnia and Herzegovina
Botswana Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burundi Cape Verde
Colombia Cook Islands Costa Rica Croatia Cyprus
Czech Republic Denmark Dominica, Commonwealth of Dominican Republic Ecuador
El Salvador Estonia Fiji Finland France
Georgia Germany Greece Grenada Honduras
Hong Kong* Hungary Iceland India Ireland
Israel Italy Japan Kazakhstan Korea, Republic of (South)
Kyrgyzstan Latvia Lesotho Liberia Liechtenstein
Lithuania Luxembourg Macao* Macedonia, FYR of Malawi
Malta Marshall Islands Mauritius Mexico Moldova
Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Namibia Netherlands
New Zealand Nicaragua Niue Norway Oman
Panama Paraguay Peru Poland Portugal
Romania Russian Federation Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Sao Tome and Principe Samoa San Marino Serbia Seychelles
Slovakia Slovenia South Africa Spain Suriname
Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Tonga Trinidad and Tobago
Turkey Ukraine United Kingdom Uruguay USA
Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela

What about the other countries?

If the country you need to present your document in is not contained within the above list, you will need further legalisation in that country's embassy before it can be used there. Get in touch and we'll help you arrange this. 

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