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What is Apostille Service and When do you need it?

Apostille service is a type of document attestation service in which documents are attested and legalized in a particular format that is acceptable only in the member countries of the Hague Convention. Public documents of important matters such as birth certificate, educational certificate, marriage certificate, and others require MEA or apostille attestation for official or legal use in a foreign country. It is done in the country where the document was issued for the official stamp and signature for authentication.

Apostille process requires verification and attestation of certificates/documents from different authorities to legalize them. Once apostille is issued by the competent authority in the country of origin, it needs not to be presented at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the destination country (a member of the Hague Convention) for legalization.  As of 2020, there are a total of 118 nations including the USA, UK, France, Japan,  New Zealand, Canada, Hong Kong, Switzerland, India, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Norway, and Thailand that are part of the Hague Convention.

When do you need Apostille?

Document apostille is required when you are planning to travel abroad for reasons like education, employment, business, medical treatment, or to stay with your spouse/family. You will need it while applying for any class of visa as per your travel needs for temporary or permanent residency. For example, if you are traveling to any of a country that is a member of the Hague Convention, you will need apostille when:

  • You are migrating to another country
  • You are starting a new business or company
  • You are looking for an employment opportunity abroad
  • You are going abroad for higher studies
  • You are applying for a family or residential visa

Depending on the purpose of your stay in a country, you may require apostille for the following documents:

  • Marriage certification
  • Birth certificate
  • Divorce certificate
  • Academic or Educational Certificates
  • Commercial documents & business contracts

When you are looking for document apostille for any of the above reasons, you should have all the necessary information related to the attestation process to complete everything appropriately. An Apostille is simply a special sticker or stamp that is issued by the Ministry of External Affairs. One should also know the fact that MEA attests original copies of documents in order to provide an apostille sticker. This sticker is attached to the back of the original document as a sign of its legitimacy and authenticity. 

Attestation or Apostille Services: What Do I Need For Settling Abroad?

With certain rules and regulations set-up by each country, certificate authentication has become an essential aspect. Today, no country in the entire world allows immigrants without the legalized and authenticated documents. This strict step is taken by the countries to avoid forgery, fraud, identity theft, and misrepresentation of the immigrants on their lands.

The document is legalized in the country you are planning to travel from based on the rules of the country you intend to travel to. And according to the requirements of the intended country, you either have to get your documents attested or apostilled.

At the time of applying for documentation authentication, applicants often get confused between attestation and apostille services. Most of them think that both are the same and the ways to enter into any new country. But, that’s not correct.

In this post, we will explain the difference between the two so that you hire the right service.

Attestation of the documents

It’s a process in which the verifying departments check and verify the original documents and declare them to be authentic by attaching the signature and applying the stamp. Here, you submit the original as well as a copy of the documents to the authorized government employees to verify and give the proof of authentication.

Apostille of the documents

Apostille is a validation certificate that is used in the countries that are a member of the Hague Convention. The aim of the apostille services is the same as that attestation but the process is a bit different. Here, you get a unique identification number that is pasted on the back of your document. All the records are maintained online using the unique identification number and you are allowed to travel to different Hague countries with a single apostille.

The Attestation Process

For attestation, your documents have to undergo different departments. And, the departments are mentioned below:

State Attestation-The attestation process starts from the state where the certificate was issued. Based on the type of documents, they are sent for HRD, Notary, or SDM attestation.

MEA Attestation – After state attestation (initial verification and stamping), the documents are sent for MEA attestation which is done by the Ministry of External Affairs.

Embassy Attestation– Once attested by the Ministry of External Affairs, the documents are moved to the embassy of the country you are planning to immigrate to.

MOFA attestation– The last step in the attestation process is MOFA attestation which is done by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Sometimes, MOFA attestation is not important because it is done once you reach the country you are immigrating to.

The Apostille Process

As compared to the attestation process, the apostille process is simple and takes less time. You do not have to visit different departments for apostille services because everything is done by the Ministry of External Affairs. The sign and stamp received by MEA validate the document even if it is not authenticated by the Embassy of the country.

So, based on your requirements and the country you are planning to travel to, you should select the right option between attestation and apostille services.