The apostille certificate verifies that the document to which it is attached is authentic and has been checked by the relevant authority in its country of origin. Once this legal certificate has been attached the document is legalised for use overseas and will be accepted by authorities in countries which have joined the Hague Convention. Many countries that have not joined the Convention also recognise apostilled documents.
Why is an apostille needed?
You may need an apostille certificate when an overseas company or government body has requested that you have a document legalised as proof of its authenticity.
Common examples when you may need to legalise your document include:
Qualification documents when applying to work abroad
Registering a birth in another country
Birth certificates and certificates of no impediment for marriage abroad
Education documents for international students returning to their home country
Contracts, affidavits and powers of attorney for UK residents wishing purchase property abroad or enter into legal agreements
Company documents when trading internationally Opening a personal or business bank account overseas
This list is just an example of when the apostille may be required and is not a definitive list.
How to get an apostille stamp?
The apostille is usually issued by a government body. In the UK the apostille certificate is a paper attachment which is fixed permanently to your documents by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The documents will then be accepted as authentic in any of the Hague Convention countries. There are many service providers that can assist you with your legalisation. This makes the process a lot simpler and is the quickest option in many circumstances.
Whatever your reason for needing an apostille stamp or seal contact an apostille service provider for free advice. You may only need an apostille once so make sure your get it right.