Schmidt & Schmidt covers the full spectrum of legalization services for documents issued in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong joined the Hague Convention on the Simplified Authentication of Documents on 25 April 1965, following the U.K. extension; the Convention remained in force in Hong Kong after its respective transfer to China.
The apostille, or the “Hague 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). It confirms the authenticity of the signature and the authority of an official who signed the public document.
Documents issued in Hong Kong are certified with an apostille in accordance with the Hague Convention of 1961 are recognized in all Member States of the Hague Convention and do not require any other form of certification, such as consular legalization, which considerably reduces the costs and time required for the certification of documents. So far, more than 120 states have joined the Convention.
The apostille is not sufficient for use in the states that are not party to the Hague Convention. In this case, consular legalization applies to a public document.
Designated Competent Apostille Authorities in Hong Kong
In the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), the designated competent authorities for the Apostille Convention are the Administrative Secretary, the Registrar of the High Court, the Senior Deputy Registrar of the High Court, or the Deputy Registrar of the High Court. For those seeking apostille services, there's a standard fee of 125 HKD, which is approximately equivalent to USD$16.
The authorities will carefully examine the document to verify if the signatures, stamps, or seals align with their own records. If they are confirmed to be authentic, the document will be legalized by affixing an 'apostille' (an officially stamped certificate).
The apostille in Hong Kong is a square stamp in English or Cantonese with the obligatory heading "Apostille" and a reference to the 1961 Hague Convention in French (Convention de La Haye du 5 octobre 1961). The apostille certificate’s sides will be at least 9 centimeters long.
Types of documents
|Can be apostillized||Cannot be apostillized|
Specific aspects and document requirements for the apostille in Hong Kong
Hong Kong is among the 120 countries that recognize and issue apostilles in accordance with the Hague Convention of 5 October 1961. The apostille serves as a confirmation of the official status of a document.
The Judiciary of the HKSAR is in the process of implementing an e-filing system. Following this, they will evaluate the introduction of e-Apostilles.
The apostille process can vary depending on the sender and recipient country, but typically to obtain an apostille for a document in Hong Kong, you must go through the following steps:
- Bring the document to the Apostille Service Office, High Court Registry.
- After acceptance, pay the fee and get a receipt.
- Show the payment receipt at the Apostille Service Office to get a collection receipt.
Note: If you can't personally collect the apostilled document, you can authorize someone else to do so.
You will need to have a representative in Hong Kong submit the document and pay the fee on your behalf. You can also send the document and the fee to ‘Government of Hong Kong SAR’ to the Apostille Service Office.
This process can be time-consuming, especially if it includes multiple documents and different countries. To ensure a smooth and accurate apostille process, it is recommended to seek guidance from specialists familiar with the requirements and procedures. Their expertise can help avoid delays and errors in obtaining documents apostille.
Document requirements that might apply:
- The document must be an original or a certified copy issued by the competent authority.
- The document should contain all relevant and accurate information.
- The document must be in the official language of the issuing country or translated into the official language of the country where the apostille is sought
- The apostille must be affixed by the designated competent authority in accordance with regulations.
In Hong Kong, documents eligible for apostille will generally be divided into two main categories:
- Public Documents with Official Signatures: they bear authentic signatures of recognized officers from the Hong Kong SAR Government. Examples include Marriage Certificates signed by the Deputy Registrar of Marriage and Certificates of Incorporation.
- Notarized Documents: This category covers documents authenticated by a Notary Public or a Commissioner for Oaths in Hong Kong. Common documents in this group are Powers of Attorney and Declarations.
The apostille is issued in a uniform format. In Hong Kong, it has the form of a printed sticker with a handwritten signature of an official, an official seal, and a hologram.
In cases where apostilles are not recognized, holders of foreign documents will need to legalize them instead. However, If the country of destination of the document recognizes and issues apostilles, then legalization is unnecessary.
Legalization of Hong Kong educational documents for use abroad
For educational documents issued in Hong Kong, such as school reports, university degree certificates, transcripts of records, enrollment certificates, and other school or university certificates, to be recognized and valid abroad, they must undergo an authentication process through legalization.
In general, the procedure for legalizing educational documents from Hong Kong will involve authentication by the High Court of Hong Kong. The documents must bear a stamp and signature accredited by the responsible body.
Such an approach ensures that educational documents possess the necessary legal authority, allowing them to be recognized and used across various countries. While these are general procedures, the exact requirements may vary, so it is advisable to confirm the specific steps with the relevant authorities.
Recognition of the authenticity of public documents
Hong Kong is a part of the following agreements:
- Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents
- Convention of 15 November 1965 on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters
- Convention of 1 June 1970 on the Recognition of Divorces and Legal Separations
Consular legalization of Hong Kong documents for use abroad
Consular legalization is the process of authenticating or certifying a legal document so a foreign country's legal system will recognize it as with full legal effect that is carried out by the diplomatic or consular mission of the country in which the document is to be used.
This procedure is required when the destination country does not recognize or accept the apostille certification. One needs to submit the original document, along with any required copies or supporting materials, to the respective consular office. The consular officials will review the document, verify its authenticity, and affix their seal or stamp to certify its validity.
The consular legalization process may require additional steps like obtaining translations of the document into the language of the destination country or providing additional supporting documentation as requested by the consular office.
It is up to the diplomatic mission to decide about the authentication procedure
The specific requirements and procedures for consular legalization may vary depending on the regulations of the destination country.
The main differences between an apostille and consular legalization of documents
The common feature between apostille and consular legalization is that they authenticate an official document for presentation to institutions in another country. However, they have many differences.
|Legal effect||Can be used in all countries that are party to the Hague Convention on the Simplified Legalization of Documents.||Use between States one or both of which is not a member of the Hague Convention, or where one of the contracting States has protested the accession of the other.|
|Difficulty||Moderate. To obtain an apostille, contact the competent apostille authority of the state of origin of the document.||High. For consular legalization, various inland authorities and a diplomatic mission of the state of destination must be involved.|
|Pre-certification||Usually not required.||Is obligatory.|
|Attestation at the state of destination embassy in the state of origin of the document||No need to contact the Consulate of the country of destination.||Is the final step of legalization.|
Apostille and consular legalization in all cities of Hong Kong
Schmidt & Schmidt provides apostille and consular legalization services for public documents originating from all regions across Hong Kong. We handle the entire process, from document review to obtaining the necessary certifications, ensuring that your documents are valid and recognized internationally. With our reliable services, you can confidently use your Hong Kong public documents abroad.
If the important documents are lost or damaged, or current copies of the documents are needed, the re-issue of the documents is required. It is not unusual for people outside Hong Kong to encounter difficulties with obtaining new documents when abroad. Our consultants will help you procure new documents from Hong Kong remotely, and we can arrange for your documents to be sent by courier anywhere in the world.
Copies and transcripts of civil status documents can be translated into any language by a sworn translator in Hong Kong or the translation can be done in the country of destination. We offer certified translations of civil status documents with further certification. The cost of the work is calculated according to the volume of the document in question.
Does the translation have to be apostillized?
Any foreign document issued in one country and used in another country must be legalized for use abroad. Therefore, the authenticity of a certified translation from Hong Kong needs to be certified by an apostille. Consequently, many authorities may not accept certified translations from Hong Kong if the translation has not been properly authenticated in Hong Kong for use abroad. To avoid this confusion, translations should better be made in the state of the destination of the document.
Price of apostille and consular legalization of documents in Hong Kong
We offer a wide range of services and supplies related to the legalization of documents to suit all your needs. If you have a tight budget or need to have your documents legalized in record time, we can find a suitable solution. The deadline begins with the receipt of your documents.
Document procurement in Hong Kong
The service includes:
- State fee
Due dates: from 14 working days
incl. German VAT 19%
Price excl. VAT from 50€
Apostille for document in Hong Kong
The service includes:
Due dates: from 7 working days
incl. German VAT 19%
Price excl. VAT from 100€
Consular legalization of a document in Hong Kong
The service includes:
- The service includes
Due dates: from 30 working days
incl. German VAT 19%
Price excl. VAT from 120€
Certified translation of documents into foreign language
Due dates: from 2 working days
incl. German VAT 19%
Price excl. VAT from 35€
Express delivery of documents with apostille from Hong Kong is charged separately according to the rates of delivery services.