What is an Apostille or an Authentication?

An Apostille or an Authentication certifies the authenticity of the signature, seal and position of the official who has executed, issued or certified a copy of a public document.  An Apostille or an Authentication enables a public document issued in one country to be recognized as valid in another country.  While they accomplish the same objective, there are differences between Apostilles and Authentications.

An Apostille is a certification form set out in The Hague Convention abolishing the requirement of legalization for foreign public documents (1961).

An Apostille may be obtained to transmit public documents executed in one signatory country to another signatory country in which the documents need to be produced.  The Hague Convention defines a “public document” as:

  1. Those originating in a court, clerk of a court, public prosecutor or process server;
  2. Administrative documents;
  3. Notarial acts; and
  4. Official certificates are placed on documents.

An Authentication may be obtained to transmit public documents to countries that have not subscribed to The Hague Convention.