Apostille Stamp (Hague Convention)

What is an Apostille?

Apostille is a wide-format impression or stamp to confirm the signature of the official who signed the document. This stamp is used for new documents for use abroad in the Apostille countries. This stamp replaces the complicated procedure of consular legalization, where the terms and number of confirming stamps or seals, as well as signatures of officials, are much longer. Apostille is usually placed in black or blue ink on the back of the document.

Apostille does not confirm the authenticity of a document or its contents. The authenticity and correctness of the content of the document is confirmed by the signature of the official. An apostille confirms the signature of the official who signed the document and its quality (the position of the official and the authority of the signature). In Japan and some other countries, this is the certification of the seal of a state body.

Please note that the signature of an official, which is confirmed by Apostille, does not guarantee the absence of errors in the document. It should also be borne in mind that in some countries it is necessary to draw the attention of the officials issuing the document that this document is intended for an apostille. Since some state authorities have officials whose signature is certified (approved) for documents submitted for apostille.

In some cases, it is recommended to insure and ask the director of the institution to sign, for example, a school certificate – by the director of the school, and not by the head teacher. In addition, you should require the presence of a real wet signature of the authorized person, and not the deputy or the signature of the director, “executed” by another person. You can find the Apostille Guide in English at – https:// assets.hcch.net/docs/ff5ad106-3573-495b-be94-7d66b7da7721.pdf).

Apostille Stamp in English - Hague Convention 1961

Annex to the Apostille Convention:
Sample Apostille certificate – a square with a side of at least 9 centimeters

What is an apostille for?

Many countries in the world cannot verify the origin of a document or the signature on it, as they do not have access to the database of personal data of other countries. Therefore, a procedure for additional confirmation of the signatures of officials was introduced. It is easier to store the signature database of officials than the personal data of citizens of another country.

The apostille contains information about the official who signed it. This official is an authorized person with an authorized signature. People signing an apostille have access to the database of registered signatures for documents of the country of origin.

This official will be responsible for verifying the signature of another official who signed the document. In this case, the document is considered the most secure against forgery.


This stamp is needed for documents issued by government agencies and educational institutions that you are going to provide abroad in a country that is included in the list of countries of the Hague Convention.

This can be: a certificate of non-conviction, a birth certificate, a marriage certificate, a divorce certificate, a civil status certificate, a medical certificate, a certificate stating that you do not have real estate, a diploma of secondary specialized or higher education, school certificate and other documents. As for legal entities, most often they request notarized translated copies of the enterprise registration certificate and articles of association, as well as an extract from the commercial register in the original.

In the CIS countries, including Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine and other countries, they put only on documents issued by state bodies and notarized copies. The list of Apostille countries can be checked at this  link >>>


Apostille is not affixed to simple copies of documents. In some countries, the apostille is not placed on notarized copies of documents. In the same countries where they put an apostille on notarized copies, as a rule, they have their own procedures and requirements. 
To apostille a notarized copy, they are often asked to obtain an apostille on the original (duplicate) of the document first or simultaneously with the notarized copy. 


Apostille can be affixed to the translation of documents, often provided that the original document to which the translation is being translated has already been apostilled. In most countries, in order to apostille a notarized translation, it is asked first or simultaneously with the provided translation to obtain an apostille on the original (duplicate) of the document.  

Be careful. Some countries, such as Italy, require different procedures for apostilling translations of documents from different countries. For example, an apostille is sufficient for Italy from Moldova. For documents from Georgia, the translation of a consular translator is often required.

In addition, there are countries where Apostille translators are special translators who are registered for such a procedure.
Apostille for the translation of notarized copies is also possible. Read the requirements for an apostille for notarized copies in the section above.


Physically, an apostille can only be affixed in the country in which the document was received. This country must be a member of the Apostille Convention. In addition, an apostille is placed only on documents for countries for which it is needed.

Apostille-validation-scheme by-authorized-persons:

The document is signed by an authorized person


    • The authorized person stamps the Apostille and usually signs the Apostille himself (with the registration of the Apostille number and the name of the document in a special register)

    • if necessary, the receiving party verifies the Apostille through the signature database of authorized persons of the country of origin of the document.


It is easier to check the list of Apostille countries (The Hague Convention of 1961) if your country is on this list or not. The list of Apostille countries can be checked at this link >>>. But we give the most requested countries that have not signed the Apostille Convention and require the legalization of documents: China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau), Libya, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait,  Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Palestine, Qatar, Canada, Costa Rica (data as of October 5, 2022).

There are quite a few countries that have signed the Apostille, but their Apostille is not recognized by some countries in part or in full. Such countries apply the procedure of consular legalization to each other. You can read more about these countries at link >>>.< /p>


Documents issued (issued) by consulates cannot be apostilled (according to the Apostille Convention). This makes it meaningless to give the consulates the authority to affix the Apostille. Only in the consulates of some countries you will be able to request an Apostille. But in this case, the apostille will not be issued by consular employees.

The document will have to be sent by consular mail to the relevant authorities of the country that issued it. Then you will need to send these documents with an apostille by consular mail – back to the consulate. This takes a lot of time and does not guarantee a successful result. There may be errors and omissions. Most consulates do not resolve the issue of apostille. The consulate is not entitled to apostille documents. In case of recognition of documents in another country – consulates participate only in the process of consular legalization.


Consulate and embassy are two different structures of the international mission of one state. The consulate is responsible for receiving citizens of its country in the territory of the country where it is located. The consulate is engaged in the reception of citizens on documents: requesting documents from the country (passports, certificates and certificates, acts of civil status and others). But, as mentioned earlier, such documents cannot be apostilled. Often, consulates responsible for citizens of one country are located on the territory of another country. For example, the consulate of the United Arab Emirates, which works with Arabic documents for Moldova (or with Moldovan documents for the United Arab Emirates), is located in Romania. The embassy does not deal with the documents of citizens of its country.

An embassy is a representation of a country in front of another country and on its territory. The Embassy solves interstate and intergovernmental issues. Therefore, embassies do not issue documents to citizens of their country and do not apostille them. It often happens that a country does not have an embassy on the territory of another country, but has a consulate. Or vice versa.