What is Apostille and Why do I need an Apostille?

As a consequence of globalization, people all around the world tend to travel to different parts of the world for various purposes, and due to this, the immigration volume has surged to unbelievable numbers in the last four or five decades. So, the verification of the documents of each visitor is extremely important to ensure the genuineness of the person’s visit. This process of document authentication, comprising of various types done at various levels, is known as an apostille.

To streamline and synchronize the process of apostille, the Apostille Convention was formed in which a total of 92 countries became a part of the Convention. So, if a person belonging to one of those 92 countries intends to go to another country (which is also a part of the Convention) then this person can apply for the visa only after their documents have undergone the process of apostille. In the next section, I will throw light on various stages involved in an apostille.

What are the various stages of an apostille?

Though apostille is a well-defined and structured process, it makes the documents traverse from one department to the other for authentication purposes. In each stage, different authoritative body is involved that would carry out the stamping of the documents. A country (of the Convention) will only accept the visa application of the person whose documents have been successfully apostilled at each and every stage of authentication. Now we will look at the exact stages of an apostille. The first stage of apostille involves the verification of the documents by the local notary; by ‘local’ we mean the place where the document or certificate was issued originally.

After the first step of authentication is done by the local notary, the documents traverse to the next stage of apostille, that is, for the state level authentication. Here, the authoritative body will vary depending upon the type of document. If the document is related to academics, the body that will carry out the verification is the HRD Department (Human Resource Development) – and if the documents are personal (say a marriage certificate) then the department that will come into play is the SDM (Sub-Divisional Magistrate) or the State Home Department. After this stage, the documents/certificates will be eligible to go for the next level of authentication.

Now, as the documents are verified at the state level, they will be sent to the centre level for their stamp of authentication – to be precise, for the MEA stamp (Ministry of External Affairs). Once the MEA gives the confirmation of document legalization, they are ready to head towards the final stage of apostille, that is, at the concerned country’s embassy, where all the authentication checks are done and then the documents are stamped, thus completing the process of document apostille. Once all the four stages of checks are done successfully, you will be able to apply for the visa
of the concerned country.

In what conditions do you need a document to get apostilled?

First of all, the primary condition is that the country in which the document was issued,
has to be a part of the Apostille Convention. For e.g., if you are a student who is looking
to pursue higher education in a foreign land, then the country you are a resident of,
should be a part of the Apostille Convention.

Secondly, the country where your documents or certificates are going to be used should
be a part of the Apostille Convention – meaning, if you want to visit a foreign country,
then a document apostille will be needed only if this foreign country is also a part of the
Apostille Convention.

Thirdly, according to the law of the country from which the document/certificate was
issued, you must consider and recognize your document as a public document. Fourth
and the last, the country in which the documents are to be used must need an apostille
for considering the certificate as a public document.

The process of an apostille is never meant to be used in the country from where it has
been originally issued. Also, if the laws of the land have abolished the requirement of an
apostille, then the document must not be apostilled because it may not serve the
purpose. This may happen when the documents are exempted from the compulsion of
being legalized. This factor may come into account due to any agreement or treaty
between any two countries, say ‘A’ and ‘B’, where the citizens of both the countries
would not have to get their documents apostilled if they are travelling to one of the two
countries. Meaning, if there is such an agreement signed between the two countries,
then the citizens of the country ‘A’ would not need a document apostille to go to the
country ‘B’ and vice versa. This really puts forth the relevance of the Hague Apostille
Convention that has streamlined the rules and regulations relating to the process of
document apostille. This helps the individuals to know whether an apostille would be
needed in a particular country or not.

Want to get your documents attested? Confused about where to go? Here’s my
research-based opinion!

I can say I have known a lot about the process of apostille as many of my friends have done it and I have been much aware of the legit firms who help you with the process of an apostille. As many of my known ones have availed apostille services from ND Universal, I know they are a very genuine and professional company that provides apostille services in India. As per my friends’ feedback, seems to be a very reliable firm as they take care of the entire apostille process in the most optimized way and get the job done in the given timeframe. I have also visited their portal and honestly, it is quite impressive. Yes, I can suggest ND Universal if you are looking for authentic apostille services.