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Here’s a comprehensive guide to the entire apostille process:
What is Apostille?
Apostille is a type of attestation carried on to verify the authenticity of various documents. It is the legalization of your documents for the purpose of using them in other countries. An apostille is applied only to the original documents of a person and serves as proof that all the documents of a person hold legal status.
What is an Apostille stamp?
An apostille stamp is a square-shaped sticker that is applied at the back of your original documents. It is a computer-generated stamp that has a unique identification number. As a result of this identification number, it becomes easier for the member countries of the Hague Convention to verify the details of a person.
Who needs an Apostille stamp?
It is mandatory to obtain an apostille stamp for those who are planning to travel to any foreign country which is a member of the Hague Convention. Any person traveling to a foreign country for business or educational purposes first has to prove the authenticity of their documents. In order to establish legal status for their documents, one has to obtain an apostille stamp from the concerned authority. In India, the Ministry of External Affairs is the concerned authority that is responsible for issuing an apostille stamp.
The Hague/Apostille Convention
The Hague/Apostille Convention is an international treaty signed by various countries in order to simplify the process of legalization. Before traveling to any country, it is imperative that all the documents of a person are authenticated in a proper manner. However, the entire legalization process was both time-consuming and expensive. Therefore, to simplify the legalization process, a joint initiative was taken by many countries at a global level. In 1961, a conference called the Hague Convention adopted a document called Apostille which was recognized by all member countries.
What is the process to get the document Apostille?
- Notary Attestation This is the first step in the process of document verification. At this stage, all your personal and educational documents are verified by the notary.
- Home Department Attestation After being verified at the regional level, they are verified by the state authorities. At the state level, all your personal documents are verified by the Home Department.
- HRD Attestation The Human Resource Department at the state level is responsible for verifying all your educational documents.
- SDM Attestation In certain cases, the Sub-Divisional Magistrate Attestation works as an alternative for the state attestation. This alternative is preferable when the option of Home Department Attestation is not feasible.
- Chamber of Commerce Attestation The Chamber of Commerce isresponsible to verify all the commercial documents of a person.
- MEA Attestation At this last level, an apostille stamp is issued by the MEA at the back of all the necessary documents.
Categories of documents
There are broadly three categories of documents that require an apostille stamp:
PERSONAL- Personal documents are those which contain all the necessary information related to a person. These are:
- Birth certificate
- Death certificate
- Marriage certificate
- Divorce certificate
- Medical certificate
- Transfer certificate
- Experience certificate
- Power of Attorney certificate
- Police Clearance certificate
EDUCATIONAL- Educational documents are those that specify an educational qualification of a person. These are needed when a person is traveling for educational purposes. These are:
- Degree certificate
- Diploma certificate
- SSC certificate
- Migration certificate
- School leaving certificate
COMMERCIAL- Commercial documents are those which are owned by an entrepreneur and are needed if a person wishes to establish a business abroad. These are:
- Commercial Invoice
- Article of Association
- Memorandum of Association
- Export assistance document
- Insurance certificate
- Invoice Bill
- Board resolution
- Letter of incorporation
- Bank statement