The Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents is one of a series of conventions of the Hague Conference on Private International Law. It was signed by the original signatories on October 5, 1961. It specifies the modalities through which a document issued in one of the signatory countries can be certified for legal purposes in all the other signatory states. Such a certification is called an Apostille. It is an international certification comparable to a notarization and is often added to documents that have been in some manner signed by a Notary, lawyer or other public official such as the clerk of a court of record in their official capacity.
In some cases documents may need to be certified by the highest government official in the country where it originated, before being accepted by the consular officer of the foreign country, this process is known as chain authentication, it is an unbroken chain of government officials each certifying the signature (and seal in some cases) of the prior official in the first country and the consular or embassy officer then certifies that the document should be recognized as authentic in the country of destination. Usually that consular officer’s signature can be authenticated in the country of destination as well. In the United States, Apostilles are usually affixed by the secretary of state in each US state or territory. It may be necessary for an intermediary official to affix a certification that the original signatory (notary or clerk) was authorized to sign the public document, leading to a complex process for obtaining the Apostille.
If the country where you intend to use your documents belongs to the
Apostille Section of the Hague Convention, you will require an Apostille.
If the country where you intend to use your documents does not belong to the Apostille Section of the Hague Convention, you will need an Embasy legalization.
Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Bermuda, Botswana, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Cape Verde, China (Macau), China (Hong Kong), Colombia, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Republic of, Latvia, Lesotho, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Republic of Monaco, Montenegro, Namibia , Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niue, Norway, Oman, Panama, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania , Russian Federation, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines , Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Serbia, Seychelles, Slovakia , Slovenia, South Africa , South Korea, Spain, St. Marteen, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden , Switzerland , The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Tonga , Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine ,United Kingdom of Great Britain (U.K) and Northern Ireland, United States of America, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Vatican City and Venezuela.