Documents must be legalized before they can be used abroad. Legalization is most often accomplished through the Hague Apostille. This is a treaty drafted by the Hague Conference on Private International Law. It was established in 1961 by many countries to simplify the process of validating documents for global recognition. 


At the Hague Convention, members adopted a document referred to as an Apostille that would be recognized by all members.

What is an Apostille

 The Apostille is a stamp. The language of the apostille should be the official language of the apostille authority. It is mandatory to include the title “Apostille (Convention de la Haye du 5 octobre 1961)” in French.

As with notarizations in domestic law, it is an international certification that verifies the authenticity of the signature, how the signer acted, and the authenticity of the seal or stamp used on the document.


An Apostille is registered and has a unique number, as well as the date and place of issue. Apostilles are issued by government agencies – specifically Dirco (The Department of International Relations and Cooperations) in South Africa. 


At present, this convention is ratified by 115 States Parties. The Hague Convention has been ratified by a large number of countries in the former Soviet Union. The Convention has special rules for some countries that have acceded. But Germany opposes the admission of Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Burundi, India, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Moldova, Morocco, Mongolia, Paraguay, and the Dominican Republic. As a result, the agreement between Germany and these countries is not applicable.


What is Legalization?

If the country to which you are presenting your documents is not a member of the Hague Convention, legalization will be required.

Apostilles for non-members of The Hague Convention follow an almost identical process to Apostilles. The same rules apply to Legalization as they do to Apostilles.


Documents needing to be produced overseas typically require an apostille. The issue can arise in a variety of cross-border situations, such as international relocations, foreign marriages, applications for studies, international business transactions, residency or citizenship in foreign countries, foreign investments, enforcement of intellectual property rights, foreign legal proceedings, etc.


Need legal documents apostilled quickly? DocAssist can help! For more information or a personalised quote, get in touch with the team at DocAssist today.


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