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The Hague Convention and the list of countries that are signatories
(The Hague, October 5, 1961)

The purpose of the Convention is that it abolishes the requirement of diplomatic and consular legalization for public documents originating in one Convention country and intended for use in another. Documents issued in a Convention country which have been certified by a Convention Apostille are entitled to recognition in any other Convention country without any further authentication. Such recognition is an obligation on the part of the United States to the other countries party to the Convention and the federal courts and state authorities have been alerted to this obligation. Consular officers in Convention countries are prohibited from placing a certification over the Convention Apostille.

Public documents include:

  • Documents emanating from an authority or an official connected with the courts or tribunals of the state, including those emanating from a public prosecutor, a clerk or a process server;
  • Administrative documents;
  • Notarial acts; and
  • Official certificates which are placed on documents signed by persons in their private capacity, such as official certificates recording the registration of a document or the fact that it was in existence on a certain date and official; and notarial authentication’s of signatures.

If you have a document which you want legalized for use in another Convention country, the Convention certification called an Apostille must be affixed to the document by a competent authority. The Apostille is a preprinted form prescribed by the Convention.

For the list of countries party to the Hague Convention, please click here.