HAGUE APOSTILLE CONVENTION A. Lakshminarayanan Advocate
A large number of countries all over the world have joined a treaty that greatly simplifies the authentication of public documents to be used abroad. This treaty is called the Hague Convention of October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents. It is commonly known as the Apostille Convention.
ABOLISHING THE REQUIREMENT OF LEGALISATION FOR FOREIGN PUBLIC DOCUMENTS
States that have not signed the Convention must specify how foreign legal documents can be certified for its use. Two countries may have a special convention on the recognition of each other's public documents, but in practice this is infrequent. When such a convention is lacking, as is normally the case, the document must be certified by the foreign ministry of the country where the document originated and then by the foreign ministry of the government where the document will be used; one of the certifications will often be performed at an embassy or consulate.
What is an Apostille
An Apostille is a certificate that authenticates the origin of a public document (e.g., a birth, marriage or death certificate, a judgment, an extract of a register or a notarial attestation). Apostilles can only be issued for documents issued in one country party to the Apostille Convention and that are to be used in another country which is also a party to the Convention.
DOCUMENTS APPLICABLE FOR APOSTILLE
Most Apostilles are issued for documents of an administrative nature, including birth, marriage and death certificates; documents emanating from an authority or an official connected with a court, tribunal or commission; extracts from commercial registers and other registers; patents; notarial acts and notarial attestations (acknowledgments) of signatures; school, university and other academic diplomas issued by public institutions.
India has acceded to Hague Convention 1961 and as of 29 Aug 2007, apostille certificates will be issued in India by Ministry of External affairs located at Patiala House, New Delhi. Before getting apostille all the concerned documents must be authenticated by regional offices located in every state.
The Hague Conference has currently 72 Members: 71 States and 1 Regional Economic Integration Organisation.
Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, China (Macau), China (Hong Kong), Colombia, Cook Islands, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India , Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Republic of, Latvia, Lesotho, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Republic of, Monaco, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niue, Norway, Panama, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia and Montenegro, Seychelles, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, FYR of Macedonia, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom (U.K.), United States of America, Venezuela.
INFORMATION INCLUDED IN AN APOSTILLE
The Apostille Convention does not address the fees that competent Authorities may charge for issuing Apostilles. While some states charges a fee, others do not. It is up to each contracting state to determine whether or not to charge a fee, whether charging a fee conforms to internal financial regulations, and if so, the fee amount.