China joined the Hague Conference in 1987, but for a long time did not ratify the Apostille Convention, being the largest country in the world without the simplified document legalization procedure. Now everything has changed.
On November 7, 2023, the Apostille Convention entered into force in the People's Republic of China, significantly changing the procedure for legalizing official documents. Now the process of exchanging official documents, particularly between USA and China, has become simpler and more efficient.
Thus, mainland China has become the 124th country to implement the apostille document procedure.
Apostille is a special stamp established by the Hague Convention of 1961, which confirms the authenticity of an official document. It is necessary for the use of documents abroad.
Foreign documents issued by state bodies and certified with an apostille are recognized in all member countries of the Hague Convention and do not require any other form of certification, such as consular legalization, which significantly reduces the costs and time required for document certification. To date, 126 states have joined the Convention (124 of which already officially use the apostille).
India has expressed opposition to China's accession to the Hague Convention, so the apostille will not be used in relations between these two countries.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the PRC has been designated as the state authority authorized to affix an apostille in mainland China. Apostilles can also be placed by authorized Chancelleries of Foreign Affairs of the respective local People's Governments of China.
In Hong Kong and Macao, the authorities that previously carried out the apostille process retain their powers. Thus, in Hong Kong, the Supreme Court will continue to handle apostillization, and in Macao, the Department of Justice.
An apostille in China is a sticker with the title "Apostille" and a reference to the Hague Convention of 1961 in French (Convention de La Haye du 5 octobre 1961). The text on the apostille is duplicated in English and Chinese, and it also contains the apostille number and a QR code, which allow for the verification of authenticity.
Starting from November 7, 2023, official documents with an apostille from the USA can be sent to mainland China for use without undergoing the complex consular legalization at the Chinese consulate.
Documents sent from China to USA and used within the framework of the Convention will also no longer be certified by Chinese authorities and USA embassies in China; instead, it will be necessary to simply affix an apostille.
To ensure the authenticity of official documents used within the framework of the Convention, the attached apostilles may be verified online at https://consular.mfa.gov.cn/VERIFY. For detailed information about the procedures and requirements for obtaining an attached apostille, citizens are advised to visit the Chinese consular services website (http://cs.mfa.gov.cn/) or the websites of the Chancelleries of Foreign Affairs of the respective local People's Governments.
China's accession to the Hague Convention will significantly reduce the time and cost of legalizing documents used abroad.
It should be understood that although the affixing of an apostille confirms the authenticity of the document, it does not guarantee its unconditional acceptance by any Chinese organization. Therefore, it is recommended to clarify in advance at the place of submission the requirements for the format, content, deadlines, and translation of the specific document.
On January 11, 2024, the Hague Convention will come into force between China and Canada, and on May 5, 2024, between China and Rwanda after the Convention comes into force in these countries, thus the total number of countries applying the apostille will reach 126.
What is an apostille?
What is an apostille? Why do I need an apostille? How do I get an apostille? - Our video will explain everything you need to know about the apostille. If you have a document that needs to be certified with an apostille for use abroad, Schmidt & Schmidt will assist you! We provide apostille services in more than 100 countries worldwide.