An apostille is an official certificate which legalises official and copied documents in states (countries) which accept the apostille stamp. It is often the case that documents will require apostilles when moving into a particular state for employment purposes. Once a document has gained an apostille certificate these documents are then legal for use and are accepted in these states without requiring any further legalisation.
Since the convention came into place on the 5th October 1961, the use of the apostille in different states has continually grown and there are now over 100 member states who accept the apostille certificate. Even countries that are not signed up to the Hague Convention will still ask for one although the only difference with these countries is that further legalisation is often required by their embassies. Examples of some Non-Member states who request further legalisation for the use of documents are the UAE, Qatar and Kuwait. If you need to submit documents to Dubai you would need a full UAE attestation service.
There are essentially four different types of documents which are eligible to gain an apostille certificate. These documents are: -
• Court Documents
• Administrative Documents
• Notarial Acts or Solicitor signed documents
• Official Certificates
These are the type of documents which can be issued with an apostille certificate to then be used officially in foreign countries. The apostille is placed onto different types of document for different purposes. For example, university certificates and transcripts are often required when going to these countries for working purposes. Other documents which also require the apostille are company documents, examples being Certificates of Incorporation and Articles of Association. These documents are required when companies are looking to set up new branches in foreign countries and this can take place as long as the documents have the apostille and are legalised.
Depending on what the document is that needs legalising, the Apostille can be issued on copies as well as original documents. Documents such as Birth, Marriage and Death Certificates and any other documents with official signatures on, the original is required in order to gain the apostille on that particular document. Copies of the documents with the apostille on them are not accepted as the signature on the documents will not be classed as original. If you are travelling abroad for a wedding you may need apostilles for marriage on several documents.
Documents such as Academic Certificates, Transcripts and Employment Letters can all gain the Apostille on copied documents. Despite this, before the document can be sent off to gain the apostille these documents must be officially certified by a solicitor or a notary public. If they are not correctly signed they will be rejected and the apostille will not be issued.
Why you may need Embassy Legalisation
Embassy Legalisation is required by states that are not part of the convention. Often these states will still ask for the Apostille to be provided on the document although then will place on their own stamps and signatures as a form of further legalisation. Embassy Legalisation is often required for either working or education purposes. Often employers will ask the new employee to provide educational certificates such as degrees or A-Levels. Also they sometimes may ask the employee to provide Criminal Record Checks. If these documents had not gained legalisation from the particular embassy they would not be accepted in that state. The reason for this is that due to that document not originating from that state if it has not been legalised then it will not be recognised and will not be able to use.