Why do we need Apostille?

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We are often asked questions about Apostille. In today’s article, we decided to prepare a question-answer format, and actually answer what does Apostille mean, when it is needed, who created it, what is its history, how it looks, what documents should be apostilled, and many more.

1.Why do you need the Apostille?

Two main types of documents legalization are distinguished: stamping and consular certification. Choice of legalization type in every certain case depends on the country where this document is needed.

2.What is Apostilization?

Apostilization means verification of documents by any authority. The procedure verifies powers, authenticity of signature or stamp of the official, who issued the document.

There are two main types of paperwork. The first thing is “the Apostille” stamp and legalization (diploma, marriage certificate etc.). Stamp, marked on documents, issued by countries-members of Hague Convention, is called “the Apostille” stamp. It allows authenticating the signature and stamp on the documents.

3.How did apostille appear?

In 1961, Hague conference was held in order to make the documents legalization procedures easier. More than 16 countries participated in this conference, including Great Britain, the USA and the major part of Europe. Countries-members of this conference were entitled for simplified procedure of documents legalization. Authorized bodies of justice began to stamp a special stamp on documents – Apostille.

4.When Apostille is necessary?

Apostille is applied for sending documents in countries which joined Hague convention on the October 5, 1961. First of all, apostille was needed in cases when document from one certain country must be represented in another one as the composite element for any legal process. It may be business, deals with property, a situation when the diseased person has assets and property abroad. Among the documents that are most often certified by apostille are birth, death and marriage certificates, passport, and power of attorney.

Apostille is valid in all member countries of the Hague Conference (Russia, most European countries, the USA, Brazil, Japan, Argentina, etc.). It is recognized at all levels of government officials of any rank.

5.What documents is Apostille stamped on?

Apostille is stamped both on original records and notarized copies. It is extended on such documents as:

  • birth, marriage, divorce and death certificates;
  • certificate issued by registry authorities;
  • degree certificates, diplomas and testimonials with appendixes;
  • documents issued by authorities which are former republics of the USA until January 1 1992.

Apostille is stamped on notarized copies of the following documents:

  • criminal history clearance;
  • certificate of registration with a tax authority;
  • certificate of incorporation;
  • applications, agreements, letters of attorney;
  • other notarized copies.

Apostille of documents allows verifying the authenticity of signature on document as well as identity of stamp, which attaches a seal to a document.

6. Stamping the Apostille

Apostille is stamped on the place in the document free from the text, on the reverse side or separate list of paper. Apostille has the shape of square with the side more than 9 cm and looks as follows:



The list of member countries of Hague conference in October 5, 1961.

Australia, Latvia, Serbia and Montenegro, Austria, Lesotho, Slovenia, Azerbaijan, Liberia, Slovakia, Albania, Lithuania, United States, Andorra, Liechtenstein, Surinam, Antigua and Barbuda, Luxembourg, Tonga, Argentina, Mauritius, Turkey, Armenia, Macedonia, Trinidad and Tobago, the Bahamas, Malawi, Fiji, Barbados, Malta, Czech Republic, Belarus, Marshall Islands, Finland, Belize, Kazakhstan, France, Bulgaria, Colombia, Croatia, Belgium, Mexico, Switzerland, Botswana, Monaco, Sweden, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Namibia, Ukraine, Brunei Darussalam, Netherlands, Ecuador, United Kingdom*, Niue, Estonia, Hungary, Norway, South Africa, Venezuela, New Zealand, Japan, Germany, Panama, Islands Gilbert and Ellice Islands, Poland, Greece, Romania, Isle of Man, Honduras, Russia, Bermudas, Dominica, El Salvador, New Hebrides, Israel, San Marino, Cayman Islands, India, Samoa, Falkland Islands, Ireland, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, Gibraltar, Iceland, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Montserrat, Spain, St. Christopher and Nevis, Saint Helena (Netherlands Antilles), Italy, St. Lucia, Turk and Caicos Islands, Cyprus, Swaziland, Virgin Islands, China (only Hong Kong and Macao),The Seychelles.

* Great Britain also extended the convention to the following territories:

Grenada, Portugal, Beylik Jersey Guernsey

Sometimes in case of joining a new country to the Hague convention, a number of member countries reject such joining and don`t accept documents coming from newly participated country and containing “Apostille” stamp. Joining of Russia to Hague convention is acknowledged by all member countries.


“Apostille” stamp is much more convenient owing to its popularity and recognition in many countries. Documents verified through consulate are acknowledged not only in the country of consulate. Many non-member countries of Hague convention in many cases accept documents having “Apostille” stamp. Properly verified document is like green light and safe passage on the road. Anyway the most important source of information is the agency where the document will be represented. Always consider the requirements in advance. Before documents apostilization always make certain with the agency where the document will be presented and the need of apostilization of certain documents.

Please contact us for advice regarding documents for your specific situation. We are always glad to help.