What is an Apostille and when do I need one?
An Apostille is a certificate that authenticates the origin of a public document (e.g., a birth, marriage or death certificate, adoption papers, affidavits, contracts, diplomas and degrees, divorce decrees, incorporation papers, patent applications, powers of attorney, and school transcripts). Apostilles can only be issued for documents issued in one country party to the Apostille Convention and that is to be used in another country which is also a party to the Convention.
You will need an Apostille if all of the following apply:
The country where the document was issued is party to the Apostille Convention; and
The country in which the document is to be used is party to the Apostille Convention; and
The law of the country where the document was issued considers it to be a public document; and the country in which the document is to be used requires an Apostille in order to recognize it as a foreign public document.
To which documents does the Apostille Convention apply?
The Convention only applies to public documents. Whether or not a document is a public document is determined by the law of the country in which the document was issued. Countries typically apply the Convention to a wide variety of documents. Most Apostilles are issued for documents of an administrative nature, including birth, marriage and death certificates; extracts from commercial registers and other registers; patents; notarial acts and notarial attestations of signatures; school, university and other academic diplomas issued by public institutions.
NOTE: The Apostille Convention does not apply to documents executed by diplomatic or consular agents. The Convention also excludes from its scope certain administrative documents related to commercial or customs operations.