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What is Apostille?

When you apostille a document, an apostille sticker and/or an apostille stamp is obtained from the authority. It is a computer generated with a unique identification number and is applied to the back of the document. This maintains a record online and allows the concerned authorities to check the authenticity in a more convenient manner. After this application of the sticker from the MEA, there usually is no need for any added certification from the embassy.

What is Apostille Attestation?

Apostille attestation is a way of attesting the required documents so that they can be made admissible in any country that belongs to the Hague Convention. Document apostille is an attestation of the global level that is legally acceptable in more than 116 countries, most of the European & American countries accept the format. In India, a sticker from Ministry of External Affairs stuck on the back of the document, and again a stamp is rendered on the sticker in a way that it is partially on the sticker and partially on the document.

When is Apostille Required?

Document apostille is required when there is need to eradicate the necessity of document legalization when going to the foreign countries for all sorts of reasons, for instance, obtaining employment visa or work visa, applying for temporary or permanent residency, or for pursuing education on student visa, carrying out deals for business expansion e.g. importing or exporting products. This requirement is mandatory for the countries which are part of the Hague convention.

Which countries require apostille of documents?

The Apostille Hague Convention countries that comprise the convention are about 116 in number and apostille of documents is needed for these nations only. Following is the list of all the Hague Convention countries:

Here is the list of Hague Convention Countries

  • Grenada
  • Kazakhstan
  • Saint Vincent And Grenadines
  • Greece
  • Botswana
  • Brunei Darussalam
  • Burundi
  • Dominica
  • Cape Verde
  • Cook Islands
  • Belgium
  • Belize
  • Bosnia And Herzegovina
  • Brazil
  • Bulgaria
  • Burkina Faso
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Costa Rica
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • Estonia
  • Fiji
  • France
  • Georgia
  • Honduras
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Latvia
  • Hong Kong
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Mexico
  • Moldova
  • Monaco
  • Montenegro
  • Nicaragua
  • Norway
  • Panama
  • Peru
  • Portugal
  • Serbia
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Niue
  • Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Malawi
  • Morocco
  • Saint Lucia
  • Tonga
  • Philippines
  • Samoa
  • Kosovo
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine
  • Uruguay
  • Uzbekistan
  • Argentina
  • Armenia
  • Austria
  • Bahamas
  • Belarus
  • Denmark
  • Dominican Republic
  • Finland
  • Germany
  • Guatemala
  • Hungary
  • Macedonia
  • Mauritius
  • Netherlands
  • Andorra
  • Marshall Islands
  • Antigua And Barbuda
  • Barbados
  • Bolivia
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Namibia
  • Tajikistan
  • Tunisia
  • Vanuatu
  • Sao Tome And Principe
  • New Zealand
  • Poland
  • Turkmenistan
  • Albania
  • Australia
  • Bahrain
  • Colombia
  • Oman
  • Paraguay
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • South Africa
  • Trinidad And Tobago
  • UK
  • USA
  • Venezuela
  • Azerbaijan
  • India
  • Mongolia
  • Suriname
  • Macau
  • Saint Kitts And Nevis
  • San Marino
  • Swaziland
  • Seychelles

Apostille in India

India is a developing country which has been growing since independence. The trade, areas of education, employment opportunities, everything spontaneously keeps advancing and with time, the number of citizens going abroad has elevated as well. This brings in the necessity for the issuance of employment visa, student visa resident visa or the requirement of certificate attestation for making business transactions in the foreign.

Apostille in India has aided in the above processes. India has been a member of the Hague Convention since 2005 and is recognized in almost all the Hague countries. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) is the central government department that provides a sticker on the documents that contains the details of the applicant which include the name, document name, name of the officer who issued the sticker and stamp and the date of issuance. In India, the validity of the apostille sticker is six months. The procedure is an indirect course of action that involves attestation readily from the regional and the state government before approaching the MEA.

Apostille Procedure

Apostille in India, the procedure has recently been decentralized by the central government. The central body that carries out document apostille is the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). The MEA has regionalized apostille process to Branch Secretariats and the RPOs in 15 cities effective from January 1st, 2019. The cities of operation include - Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Chennai, Chandigarh, Cochin, New Delhi, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, Panaji, Raipur, and Thiruvananthapuram. Generally, it begins at the local notary from where the document was issued and is followed by the state authentication and then lastly the MEA apostille sticker.

The procedure differentiates when it comes to different types of documents. There primarily are three main types of legal documents - personal, educational and commercial. The procedures are elaborated below:

Personal Document Apostille

It is pretty clear from the term that personal document apostille is the legalization of documents that contain personal data. It comprises the birth certificate apostille and marriage certificate apostille. 1. Marriage Certificate
2. Birth Certificate
3. Divorce Certificate
4. Death Certificate
5. Adoption Deed
6. Medical Certificate
7. Police Clearance Certificate(PCC)
8. Experience Certificate
9. Migration Certificate
10. Passport Copies etc.

The procedure differentiates when it comes to different types of documents. There primarily are three main types of legal documents - personal, educational and commercial. The procedures are elaborated below: The personal document apostille process consists of the following steps 1. Notary Attestation
2. Home Department Attestation or SDM Attestation
3. Apostille from MEA

Educational Certificate Apostille

The documents that are proof of your educational history that deal with your academic performances and the courses accomplished over time are called as educational documents. The most common educational documents of: 1. Degree Certificate
2. SSC Certificate
3. Transfer Certificate
4. Transcript Certificate
5. Mark Sheet
6. School Leaving Certificate
7. Engineering Certificate
8. Diploma Certificate
9. Nursing Certificate etc.

Depending on the origin or type of the document, the procedure for the attestation of educational certificates will vary. Following are given the different procedures that are specific to the place of issuance of the document and its kind.

Commercial Document Apostille

The documents that approve of the business capital owned by any entrepreneur are referred to as commercial documents. These include documents like property papers, partnership deeds, Memorandum of Association, etc. 1. Memorandum Of Association
2. Power Of Attorney
3. Authority Letter
4. Board Resolution
5. Article Of Association
6. Certificate Of Incorporation
7. Commercial Invoice
8. Bill Of Lading
9. Insurance Certificate
10. Invoice Bills etc.

The commercial document apostille process includes the following steps: 1. Chamber of Commerce Attestation
2. Apostille from MEA

Steps involved in Document Apostille Process:

  • Notary Attestation :
  • The primary step in the authentication of the educational and personal documents is getting them certified from the Notary. It is done at the regional level from a lawyer or at the collector’s office.

  • Home Department Attestation:
  • Home Department is a state level organization that certifies the personal documents. It is responsible for the legalization of the documents which are issued under the same state government. The Home Department is also known as Mantralaya in some states, so it’s also called as Mantralaya Attestation.

  • HRD Attestation:
  • HRD or Human Resource Department is a department of the state that solely certifies the educational documents. Certificate verification is a significant factor in the given part of authentication. Certificate verification is needed to be done from university or board based on where the document is issued.

  • SDM Attestation:
  • Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) is an alternative for the State attestation in some instances. It is done when of home department attestation or HRD attestation is not preferable.

  • Chamber of Commerce Attestation:
  • The Chamber of Commerce (CoC) is a business association and the first step in the verification of your commercial documents before the legalization MEA. There is no state government’s involvement in commercial documents.

  • MEA Attestation:
  • The MEA is the arm of the central government that manages foreign affairs which will provide the sticker and MEA stamp as per the requirement. It is the final step of legalization when both, the home country and destination country are members of the Hague convention.

    What are apostille services?

    Apostille services are the agents that provide you the assistance for procuring apostille sticker or a MEA stamp from central government. Ideally, these services will collect your documents and get them verified and stamped from the concerned government departments and get them delivered back to you. It’s quite hard for an individual to do the apostille process on their own as it’s not a direct process and there are different steps involved for each document type. So, it is convenient to approach such services for legalization which can save your valuable time and energy.