On August 6, 2020, the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation submitted for public discussion a draft resolution of the Government of the Russian Federation stipulating the possibility of the use of electronic apostilles on Russian official documents.
An Apostille-stamp on Russian official documents is a requirement for the recognition of such documents by the authorities of foreign states that are parties to the 1961 Hague Convention abolishing the requirement of legalization for foreign public documents.
In the new draft, the Ministry of Justice has established general requirements for the procedure for digital apostillation.
The Competent Authorities will have to determine the application procedure for an e-apostille and the operation of electronic registers of apostilles to provide remote access to all information about the apostille.
The new regulations aim at making apostillation more accessible to all interested parties and will alleviate the remote verification of official documents. Thus the recipients will be able to prove the origin of the apostille online and download an electronic apostille certificate attached to an original electronic document or a scanned copy of an original paper document.
The Hague Conference on Private International Law, of which the Russian Federation is a Contracting State, launched the Electronic Apostille Pilot Program (e-APP) in 2006. The e-APP aims to "promote and assist in the implementation of low-cost, operational, and secure software technology" for:
- the issuance of electronic apostilles (the "e-Apostille component");
- the operation of electronic registers of apostilles that can be accessed online by applicants and recipients to verify the origin of the paper or e-apostilles they have received (the "e-Register component").
Competent Authorities in a range of Contracting States have implemented one or both of the components of the e-APP. The program being successful, the word "pilot" was removed from its title in January 2012 so that it is now referred to as "the electronic Apostille Program". Currently, 41 countries have implemented the e-APP.
The e-APP furthers the use of modern technology to advance the secure and effective operation of the Apostille Convention and simplifies the workflow of Competent Authorities. The electronic procedure makes apostille services more accessible for the users: the applicants and recipients of apostilles may easily forward e-Apostilles vie e-mail and verify the authenticity of both paper and electronic apostilles online. The e-APP promotes a swift and secure paper-free procedure to issue, register, and verify Apostilles.