Apostille is the international certification process used to validate public and company documents. No matter if you plan to go abroad for the purposes of studying, migrating, researching, doing businesses, making bank transactions etc.; you will need to have apostille stamp on your documents as required by the respective authorities.
Here are some documents that need apostille on them when required by foreign authorities.
- Birth certificate
- Marriage certificate
- Death Certificate
- Power of attorney
- Company registers
- Certificates of incorporation
- Certificates of name change
- Certificates of good standing
- Share transfer forms
- Diplomas and other educational qualification (obtained from public institutes)
- Documents issues by Banks etc
When these documents are required to be presented by foreign principals, you may have to authenticate them, so that they are accepted internationally. What these principals mean by authorization is to verify the signature of the official who has signed the document and/or the seal the document bears. You should remember that this process doesn’t verify the contents of the certificate; it just verifies the geniuses of the copy.
Basically, this certification is done either by adding a separate certificate or placing an apostille stamp on the document/certificate itself.
When a certificate attached to the original document in the form of apostille, it should be dates, number and registered properly. With all these information, it becomes very easy for the principals to verify the document without any difficulty. Such certificate generally contains the following information.
- Certificate number
- Country of origin
- Date of certification
- The capacity of the signatory
- Authorized signature of authority
- Name of signatory on the document
- The details of the authority (if the document has been sealed/stamped instead of signed)
- Place of certification
- Stamp of issuing authority
- Issuing authorities details
When it comes to a document like Certificate of Authentication or Certificate of Good Standing (applicable for both domestic and foreign) it only requires validating the signature of a notary public or certain local or state officers. Again, this authentication doesn’t necessarily validate the contents, completeness or the precision of the document. It includes a genuineness verification process only.
When you need to certify photocopies, it should be remembered that those copies MUST be true copies of the originals. Moreover, those photocopies should be signed by a notary public or a solicitor who practices within the Great Britain. Also, it should be remembered that the solicitor should placed his signature representing himself, but not on behalf of the agency he represents.
Why apostille stamp is a better option?
Before 1961, when a person needs to travel abroad, the relevant documents were required to authenticate via a process called legalization. This was a lengthy process; the applicant had to visit several authorities to get different tasks done. Understanding the difficulty and the unnecessary complexity of the process, during The Hague Convention that was held in 1961, hundreds of States agreed to implement this simplified methodology called apostille. Now, thanks to the apostille process, it is exceptionally easier for candidates to get their documents verified within a very short duration and with less hassle. Moreover, since the governments have appointed agents to handle apostille (of course they charge a service fee), the service is available almost everywhere.
As per the aforesaid Hague Convention, the following documents are recognized to be legitimate with apostille stamp on them.
- The documents that are issued by a judicial authority (this can be a public prosecutor, a court clerk or even a bailiff), documents pertaining to administrative work, certificates such as diplomas obtained from public institutes, certificates of civil status, acts of notary etc.
- Different types of endorsements for the privately executed instruments. It can be something like statements that denotes the registration of documents. If such document is signed by a notary that practices civil law, it automatically gains official status.
However, the aforesaid Hague Convention (in which the apostille was introduced), doesn’t apply on the following documents. You can’t place a stamp or attach an apostille certificate with these documents.
- Various documents that are drawn up by diplomatic agents or agents of the consular.
- Documents issues to verify commercial transactions or customs formalities.
At a glance, the apostille process is difficult to understand by an individual that doesn’t have a thorough knowledge about document legalizing. However, the certified agents that are appointed by the respective state government should be able to clarify you about the apostille stamp when necessary. Usually these agents should have notaries that practice under the British law who have sufficient experience in the field of documentation. Be sure that you pick an agent that has a good reputation.