What is an Apostille?

An Apostille is a certificate that authenticates the signature of a public official on a document for use in another country. An Apostille certifies the authenticity of the signature of the public official who signed the document, the capacity in which that public official acted.

Have you scratched your head a few times to determine how do I confirm if a country is a member of the Hague Convention or is a Non-Hague Country Member? Documents going to a Non-Hague country need to be Authenticated at the appropriate destination country’s US Embassy/Consulate before they can be used in a Non-Hague Member country. This Blog Post will walk you through three examples on how to navigate this website.


Hague Member Example

The first thing to do is to make sure that you are on this website as this is the Gold Standard as to what countries are currently Hague and Non-Hague members. We will be focusing on the treaty that was created in 1961, which states:

The Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents (HCCH 1961 Apostille Convention) facilitates the use of public documents abroad. The purpose of the Convention is to abolish the traditional requirement of legalisation, replacing the often long and costly legalisation process with the issuance of a single Apostille certificate by a Competent Authority in the place where the document originates. The electronic Apostille Programme (e-APP) was launched in 2006 to support the electronic issuance and verification of Apostilles around the world.

Please note the Competent Authority link above is a more up to date link on the current status of a country’s status as it relates to Hague or Non-Hague member.

You will then need to ask yourself, what country are the documents going to? In this example I will use Germany.

You will scroll down the page and find Germany.

Click on Germany and scroll down the page until you see this on the screen

Is a Contracting Party to 17 Instruments.

You will then want to scroll down the list of Conventions that Germany has become a signatory to. You are looking for Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for foreign Public Documents [12]. If you do not find this Specific Convention under the Country then they are NOT a signatory to this Convention.

If you click on the link here it will take you to this page, where you will be given an overview of the Apostille Convention.


Non-Hague Member Example

The first thing to do is to make sure that you are on this website as this is the Gold Standard as to what countries are currently Hague and Non-Hague members. We will be focusing on the treaty that was created in 1961, which states:

“The Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents (HCCH 1961 Apostille Convention) facilitates the use of public documents abroad. The purpose of the Convention is to abolish the traditional requirement of legalisation, replacing the often long and costly legalisation process with the issuance of a single Apostille certificate by a Competent Authority in the place where the document originates. The electronic Apostille Programme (e-APP) was launched in 2006 to support the electronic issuance and verification of Apostilles around the world.”

You will then need to ask yourself, what country are the documents going to? In this example I will use Kuwait. Please note, after clicking on the link above for Member Countries of the Hague Convention, you will notice as you scroll down the page you will NOT find Kuwait. This would tell you right there that Kuwait is not a Signatory of the Apostille Convention of 1961. There is another link at the top of the page to find the Non-Hague Members and that can be found here.

You will select Other Connected Parties.

You will scroll down the page and find Kuwait and click on the Kuwait link. There is no Convention that relates to the October 1961 Convention on Foreign Documents in the list of articles that have been signed by the Kuwaiti government. This means any documents that need to be used in Kuwait from another country will need to be legalized by the Kuwaiti Embassy/Consulate.

Before we leave the Non-Hague Member section, you will note that Jamaica is also listed as a Non-Hague Member. However, after you click on Jamaica, scroll down until you see: Is a Contracting Party to 2 instruments.

Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents [12]

Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction [28]

This means that Jamaica will accept Apostille documents that have been Authenticated by US Government entities without also having to be Legalized by the Jamaican government.

This means that the Administrator who is in charge of maintaining this website, needs to update the Hague and Non-Hague Member statuses in a more timely manner. Based on the information that is under the Jamaica link, Jamaica should be on the Hague Member Page.


Hybrid Example of Hague and Non-Hague Member (China)

The first thing to do is to make sure that you are on this website as this is the Gold Standard as to what countries are currently Hague and Non-Hague members. We will be focusing on the treaty that was created in 1961, which states:

The Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents (HCCH 1961 Apostille Convention) facilitates the use of public documents abroad. The purpose of the Convention is to abolish the traditional requirement of legalisation, replacing the often long and costly legalisation process with the issuance of a single Apostille certificate by a Competent Authority in the place where the document originates. The electronic Apostille Programme (e-APP) was launched in 2006 to support the electronic issuance and verification of Apostilles around the world.”

You will then need to ask yourself, what country are the documents going to? In this example I will use China. Please note, China is in control of Hong Kong and Macao. Hong Kong and Macao are signatories to the October 1961 Apostille Convention. However, the People’s Republic of China is NOT a signatory to the October 1961 Apostille Convention

After clicking on the China link you will see on the right of the screen what conventions have been signed by Hong Kong and right below Hong Hong you will find Macao. As you scroll down the page you will see at the bottom left what conventions the People’s Republic of China has agreed to. Please note, the October 1961 Convention is NOT listed under the People’s Republic of China.

In summary, if documents are going to the People’s Republic of China, then you will need to have your documents Legalized by the Chinese Embassy BEFORE they can be used in the People’s Republic of China. If your documents will be used in Hong Kong or Macao, then they just need to be Legalized following the procedures for a State or Federal document.

If you DON’T find Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents [12], then the country is NOT a Hague Member as it relates to Apostille documents.


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