Public documents should be duly legalized for their international use. In most cases, the legalization takes the form of the Hague apostille, as the Hague Convention of 1961 provides. The states that are parties to the Convention mutually recognize the legal validity of the apostille so that the requirement of consular legalisation for foreign public documents no longer applies.
The apostille is a stamp in the shape of a square. It should be filled in in the official languages of the issuing authority. The heading "Apostille (Convention de la Haye du 5 octobre 1961)" written in French is a mandatory requirement for an apostille's validity. The Hague apostille confirms the authenticity of the signature, the position in which the signer has acted, and the authenticity of the seal or stamp with which the document is attested. Each apostille is registered and contains the issue date and unique number. The apostille is issued by the competent authorities for a document. More information about the country-specific requirements for the apostillation procedure can be found in our country information sections.
Currently, the number of states that are parties to the Hague Convention abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents of 5 October 1961 is 118. Many countries of the former Soviet Union have ratified the Convention.
For some countries that have acceded to the Convention, special rules apply. For example, Germany has objected to the accession of Azerbaijan, Burundi, Dominican Republic, India, Kyrgyzstan, Kosovo, Liberia, Morocco, Moldova, Mongolia, Paraguay, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. This means that the agreement on Hague apostille between Germany and these countries does not apply. Therefore the documents must undergo consular legalisation to be validated for their use in Germany.
Schmidt & Schmidt offers apostille certificates from all 118 states that have acceded to the Hague Convention.
In the following country pages you will find detailed information about the specifics of the procedure as well as the authorities responsible for issuing an apostille or the consular legalization for your documents in each particular country.
Apostille and Legalization from Russia and EAEU
The Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) is a political and economic union between Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan. All of these countries are members of the Hague Convention.
Apostille and Legalization from Europe and EU
All EU member states have joined the Hague Convention. We will assist you with apostille and consular legalizations in the EU and other European countries.
Аpostille and Legalization from Asia
The emerging markets of Asia attract many. For your documents to be recognized in an Asian country, they need to be legalized.
Аpostille and Legalization from the Americas
Most states in North, South and Central America recognise the apostille. Canadian documents require legalization. We will assist you with the apostille and consular legalizations from the countries of the Americas.
Apostille and Legalization from Africa
Not all African countries have joined the Hague convention. We will do our best to help you with the consular legalization of your documents issued in these countries.
Apostille and Legalization from Oceania
Apostille stamp is widely used in Australia and Oceania, and recognized by all the 1961 Convention member states. We will assist you with the apostille from these countries.
What is an apostille?
In our video we are explaining what an apostille is and where to apply for it. Schmidt & Schmidt will assist you in all issues concerning the apostille.
Members of the Convention
What is consular legalization?
In our video we are explaining what consular legalization is and where to apply for it.
Schmidt & Schmidt will assist you in all issues concerning the legalization.
Schmidt & Schmidt offers legalization in more than 80 countries all over the world.
Birth and marriage certificates, as well as certificates of marital status issued by one of the respective CIEC Contracting States in accordance with the multilingual CIEC pattern, require neither an apostille nor a legalization for use in Germany.
- Multilingual birth and marriage certificates from Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Estonia, France, Italy, Croatia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Switzerland, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain and Turkey
- Multilingual Marriage Certificate from Italy, Luxembourg, Moldova, Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Switzerland, Spain and Turkey
Documents from all other countries must normally be submitted with an apostille or consular legalization. Also when the certificate was issued in a multilingual form.
Some documents cannot be legalized according to the procedures above. This is the case for copies of documents, translations, founding documents, financial reports, contracts, bill of lading, certificate of origin, etc. For such documents, a notary may issue a notarized certificate. The notarial certification of the copy certifies that the copy and the original are absolutely identical. The notarization of the translation confirms that the translation is correct and made by a certified and certified translator.
If required, Schmidt & Schmidt can certify the translations by a public notary for you.
The following documents can be legalized by apostille:
- Extracts from the commercial register
- Notarial documents
- Court decisions
- Sworn translations
- Official documents
Requirements for documents
An apostille may only be issued on an original document. This must be in a good external condition, all stamps and signatures must be understandable and readable. Furthermore, it may not contain any foreign markings or inscriptions.
Russian registry offices may deny apostille if the document to be certified is issued in the USSR. In this case, it is necessary to issue a replacement certificate.
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