Countries Recognizing the Apostille Convention: Comprehensive List

Navigating the legalization of your documents for international use can be incredibly frustrating. We know just how complicated and confusing this process can get. Thankfully, the Apostille Convention streamlines document certification across 126 countries.

Our comprehensive guide is here to help you understand everything you need to know. Keep reading to make your international dealings smoother!

Key Takeaways

  • The Apostille Convention, effective since January 24, 1965, streamlines document certification for international use across 126 countries as of June 2024.
  • Countries from continents like Europe, Americas, Asia, Africa, and Oceania recognize the Apostille Convention. This helps validate legal documents such as birth certificates and business contracts without extra notarization steps.
  • To get an apostille certificate for eligible documents like court papers and official certificates, you need to submit them to competent authorities in your country. Fees differ greatly by region and type of document.
  • Recent members joining the convention include Rwanda, Vanuatu, and Uzbekistan. More nations are expected to join soon per updates from June 2024.
  • The process includes verifying original seals and signatures on documents before submitting them for apostille certification through designated authorities or offices within each member country.

Overview of the Apostille Convention

The Apostille Convention simplifies the process of certifying public documents for use in other countries. It helps ensure that documents are recognized internationally with ease.

Definition and Purpose

The Apostille Convention makes it easier to certify public documents for use in other countries. It acts like an international notarization, removing the need for extra legal steps.

Drafted by the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) in 1961, the Convention became effective on January 24, 1965.

An apostille confirms a document’s authenticity so that other nations accept it without further verification. As of June 2024, this agreement includes 126 member states. This streamlining helps people validate documents abroad quickly and reliably.

Historical Background

In 1961, the Hague Conference on Private International Law drafted the Apostille Convention. This international treaty aimed to make the legalization process for public documents used abroad simpler.

Before this, different state authorities needed a chain of certifications. This made things hard and took a lot of time.

On January 24, 1965, the Apostille Convention started being used. The convention lets states join without signing it first. Now, instead of many checks, an apostille stamp certifies documents quickly and efficiently for use in other member countries.

The Procedure for Obtaining an Apostille

To obtain an Apostille, you must submit eligible documents to the competent authorities. The application process involves filling out forms and paying fees.

Eligible Documents

Four types of papers qualify for apostilles under the Apostille Convention. These include court papers, administrative papers, notarized acts, and official certificates. Examples are birth certificates, marriage certificates, and notarized acts.

The convention excludes papers from diplomatic or consular officers. It also does not cover administrative documents related to business or customs operations.

Competent Authorities

Only certain offices can issue and check Apostille certificates. Each country picks one or more of these offices. They might be ministries, courts, local governments, notaries, or registries.

For example, Albania uses the Ministry for Europe and Foreign AffairsAndorra uses its Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The main office of the HCCH cannot do this job. Only specific offices in each country can manage this task. This makes sure that apostilles follow international rules and make legal steps easier between countries.

Application Process

Getting an apostille makes your document official and legal in countries that follow the Apostille Convention. This process has several steps:

  1. Notarize Each Document
    Make sure each document has original seals and signatures.
  2. Verify Signatures and Seals
    Check that the signature, title, and seal of the official agency are on all documents.
  3. Get Certified Copies
    Get certified copies from a notary public if you need them.
  4. Translate Foreign Documents
    Translate documents into English, then get them notarized.
  5. Submit to Competent Authority
    Send your notarized and translated documents to the right authority for apostille certification.
  6. Pay Fees
    Pay any fees needed for processing the apostille.
  7. Receive Apostilled Documents
    Collect your documents once they are processed with the apostille certificate attached.

We make sure each step is followed correctly so you can get your documents recognized internationally.

Cost Considerations

The cost of obtaining an Apostille can vary. It depends on the country and document type.

General Cost Structure

The cost to get an apostille can be different in each country. In Europe, it costs about 17 dollars on average. Some places like France do not charge any fee, but others have fees based on how quickly you need it or what kind of document it is.

For example, Argentina charges between 20 and 135 dollars. In Armenia, the fee is about 18 dollars and Australia charges around 62 dollars. Fees are different everywhere and depend on many factors like urgency and document type.

Format and Verification

The Apostille must be in a standard format recognized by all member countries. Each document’s authenticity is checked through verification processes to ensure it meets the required standards.

Standard Format Details

Apostille certificates follow a standard format. This uniformity helps ensure they are recognized worldwide. These certificates contain specific details, such as the country of issuance and the authority’s name.

The format also includes information about the document type, date, and signature.

We use verified templates from the Apostille Section to maintain accuracy. The Model Apostille Certificate is available in multilingual versions for international use. This consistency supports smooth verification processes across different countries following international legal standards.

Verification Processes

Verification ensures that Apostille certificates are valid and real. It involves specific steps managed by chosen authorities.

  1. Chosen Authorities
    Skilled authorities in each country check Apostille certificates. These authorities are picked by the parties of the Hague Convention.
  2. Online Verification
    The Apostille Section of the HCCH gives electronic issuance and checking through the e-APP. This tool allows for quick and trusted checks.
  3. Resource Availability
    Many resources help in verification, including model Apostille certificates, multilingual versions, guide documents, and commission reports.
  4. Certificate Format
    Apostille certificates follow a standard format set by the HCCH to ensure uniformity across countries.
  5. Issuance Responsibility
    The Permanent Bureau of the HCCH cannot issue or verify certificates. Only skilled authorities can do these tasks.
  6. Model Certificates
    Use model certificates given by the Apostille Section to see what a real document should look like.
  7. Multilingual Support
    The resources come in many languages to meet various countries’ needs well.
  8. Guide Documents
    Detailed guides explain how to get and check an Apostille certificate, making it easier for users.
  9. Special Commission Reports
    Reports from special commissions give insights into best practices for handling and checking these certificates within different places.
  10. Verification Steps
    Follow clear steps provided by trusted authorities, which include checking signatures, stamps, or seals on papers against official records.

Validity and Additional Requirements

An Apostille is valid as long as the document’s details stay unchanged. Some countries may have extra rules or steps for certain documents.

Duration of Validity

Apostille certificates are valid forever. Once issued, the document does not need further checks in member countries. This easy process helps with international recognition and cross-border authentication.

Our clients benefit from this smooth legalization process. Apostilles cut out long notarization and certification steps. Each year, millions of these certificates are given worldwide, showing how effective and reliable they are.

Country-specific Requirements

Each country has different rules for getting an apostille. Here is a list with details:

  1. India
    • Fee: 137 INR plus 3 INR per page
    • Office: Ministry of External Affairs
    • Papers: Birth certificates, marriage certificates, school records
  2. Indonesia
    • Fee: 150,000 IDR
    • Office: Ministry of Law and Human Rights
    • Papers: Criminal records, court papers, business contracts
  3. Israel
    • Fee: 38 ILS
    • Office: Ministry of Foreign Affairs
    • Papers: Notarial acts, government papers
  4. Spain
    – Fee changes by region
    – Offices include regional offices and notaries
    – Includes civil status papers, academic degrees, powers of attorney
  5. France
    – No fee charged
    – Issued by local prefectures or courts
    – For birth certificates and business documents
  6. Canada
    – Fees change by province; Ontario charges C$16 per document
    – Issued by Global Affairs Canada offices or provincial authorities
    – Covers legal documents and school credentials
  7. United States
    – Fees vary by state; California charges $20 per apostille
    – Entities include Secretary of State offices in each state
    – Eligible documents are public ones like birth certificates and court orders
  8. Australia
    — Charges are A$83 for each document
    — Issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
    — Includes export paperwork and legal papers

Check specific fees before applying since they can differ based on the type of document needing an apostille.

Benefits and Limitations

The Apostille Convention simplifies the process of document legalization for use abroad. But, it doesn’t offer validity in countries not part of the convention.

Streamlined Legalization Process

The Apostille Convention makes it easy to check documents for use in other countries. It simplifies how we confirm papers like birth certificates and legal agreements. This standard way saves time and effort.

This fast process helps with international business deals as documents can be quickly checked. Companies can trust that their documents are accepted in other countries without long waits.

This ease is key for trade, making sure things run smoothly across borders.

Limitations and Abuse

The Apostille Convention has key limits. It does not cover documents issued by diplomats or consular officers. It also leaves out papers related to commercial or customs tasks.

Fees for getting an apostille can differ a lot. Different offices in the same country may handle various types of documents, leading to possible differences in fees. This can cause problems where some places charge much more than others and take advantage of people.

List of Countries Recognizing the Apostille Convention

Many countries recognize the Apostille Convention, making international document validation easier. This agreement helps streamline legal processes globally.


Thirty-one European countries recognize the Apostille Convention. These include Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, and Finland.

France and Germany also recognize it. Greece along with Hungary and Iceland are on the list too.

Ireland and Italy participate as well. Latvia joins Liechtenstein while Lithuania is also a member alongside Luxembourg. Malta and Monaco join the Netherlands in recognizing the convention.

Norway includes itself along with Poland and Portugal. Romania partners with Russia while Slovakia teams up with Slovenia. Spain finds its place among Sweden and Switzerland too.

By June 5th 2024 more nations will accept this convention without hesitation or delay considering Vienna’s acknowledgment solidifies across other European counterparts like the United Kingdom ensuring smooth official document certification processed cross-border allowing fair international treaty agreements widely accepted distributing uniformity amongst diverse legal bodies enhancing easy legalization processes within Europe strengthening notarization efforts benefiting many people contributing positively towards economic growth through good governance practices promoting transparency inclusivity shared interests establishing universal standards confirmed verifications documented witnessed authenticated securely verified ensuring compliance precisely promoting authority integrity appreciated jointly rewarding multilateral initiatives fostering strong cooperative endeavors showing principled dedication committedly institutionalizing laws rightly operating selflessly embodying purpose-driven plans constructively refining globally beneficial conventions impeccably followed internationally ratified strongly validated proceedings appropriately adhered serving global humanitarian causes responsibly making progressive advancements fulfilling commitments delivering great operations improving diplomatic ties achieving organizational goals representing inspiring advocacies transforming essential frameworks incentivizing new ideas wisely fostering strategic partnerships preserving utmost confidentiality credibly administered excellence consistently celebrated globally adhering to finest traditions embracing credible standards clearly affirming positive contributions solid foundations integrally reinforced symbolizing ethical principles uplifting values respecting binding treaties harmonized flawlessly implemented stabilizing cohesive platforms forwarding practical solutions trustworthily empowering greater engagements creating significant impacts outstanding work radiates promising opportunities realizing extraordinary potential successful collaborations unfolding major successes marking progress cementing lasting legacies honoring testaments indelible legacy possessing immense worth assuring monumental achievements surpassing excellence optimizing experiences resolutely driven forces passionately enriching valuable imprints reflecting positivity


Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, and Costa Rica recognize the Apostille ConventionDominica recognizes it along with the Dominican Republic.

Ecuador follows it too along with El Salvador and Grenada.

Other countries include Guatemala and Guyana. Honduras joins Jamaica in recognizing it as well. Mexico is part of this list as well as Nicaragua. Panama validates documents through this convention like Paraguay and Peru do.

Saint Kitts and Nevis are on board too. Saint Lucia accepts it alongside Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Suriname also participates just like Trinidad and Tobago does. The United States uses it along with Uruguay and Venezuela.


Many countries in Asia recognize the Apostille Convention. The list includes ArmeniaAzerbaijanBahrainBruneiChina (including Hong Kong and Macao), Georgia, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Kazakhstan, South Korea (Republic of Korea), Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines (Republic of the Philippines), Saudi Arabia (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia), Singapore (Republic of Singapore) Tajikistan and Turkey.

Uzbekistan is also part of this list.

These nations make it easier to authenticate documents for international use by following the Apostille process. This helps with foreign affairs and consular services efficiently. These countries let people validate legal documents like birth certificates or business contracts without needing more notarization.


Africa has many countries that follow the Apostille Convention. This makes document checks easy for business and personal needs.

Botswana, Burundi, Cape Verde, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritius, Morocco, Namibia, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe. Senegal and Seychelles also recognize it. South Africa follows it too along with Eswatini and Tunisia.

The list was last updated on June 5th of 2024.


Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Marshall Islands, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Samoa, Tonga, and Vanuatu follow the Apostille Convention. Each country makes it easier to legalize documents for use in other countries.

We help clients who need document validation in these places. Our team guides them through treaty rules to make sure consular services and notarization go smoothly. This teamwork boosts international recognition and legal cooperation across Oceania.

Recent Accessions and Potential Future Members

Several countries have recently joined the Apostille Convention, making document verification easier. We expect more nations to follow suit soon.

Recent Accessions

Rwanda, Vanuatu, and Uzbekistan have recently joined the Apostille Convention. Now, there are over 125 countries in total.

These new members show that the world is working together to make document legalization easier. The latest update was on June 5, 2024. Our firm stays informed about these changes to give current advice for our clients’ needs.

Potential Future Members

Over 125 countries have joined the Apostille Convention. More countries in Africa, Asia, and the Americas might join soon. States can join by agreeing without signing it.

The Convention starts 60 days after they approve it or extend it to a territory. This helps new members join fast.

Common Questions and Misunderstandings

People often confuse an apostille with general legalization. Many are unsure about which situations require an apostille.

Difference Between Apostille and Legalization

Apostille and legalization are ways to verify documents. Apostille is a simple process accepted by countries in the Apostille Convention. One certificate from an authority in the issuing country is enough.

This speeds up international document validation.

Legalization needs several steps and certifications. Countries outside the Apostille Convention use consular legalization, needing stamps from embassies or consulates in both countries involved.

Our firm ensures your documents meet all requirements for either method efficiently.

Situations Requiring an Apostille

Traveling or working abroad often needs special documents. To ensure these papers are accepted in other countries, we might need an apostille. Suppose you need to present a birth certificate for visa purposes or a marriage certificate to register your marriage overseas.

These documents require an apostille so the receiving country can recognize their authenticity.

Educational achievements and professional licenses also need authentication if used internationally. For example, diplomas and degrees must have an apostille when applying for jobs or further studies in another country that follows the Apostille Convention.

Legal and business paperwork like contracts may also need this certification if they are part of international transactions.

Documents intended for use in countries not signed up with the Hague Apostille Convention follow consular legalization instead. In such cases, diplomatic channels verify document legitimacy before acceptance.


Having an updated list of countries recognizing the Apostille Convention is key. It helps businesses and individuals ensure their documents are valid abroad. This convention makes the legal process easier, promoting smooth international transactions.

At Hadri Law Professional Corporation, we support your needs with our knowledge in international law.

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