What is Apostille – the Only Guide You Need to Read

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Apostille is another form of attestation of documents for use abroad. But, the twist in apostille attestation is that this verification procedure is only applicable to the Hague Apostille Convention Member countries. Apostille is the youngest among attestation and apostille.

This blog features the introduction to the purpose of introducing the apostille convention when there was already an attestation available for confirming the authenticity of documents. 

What is Apostille?

It is a document verification and attestation procedure launched by the Hague Conference in Private International Law (HCCH) in October 1961. The Hague Apostille was introduced to abolish the foreign diplomatic mission attestation.

The document certificate under the Convention is also known as Hague apostille.

Generally, people move from their native country to a foreign nation for education, employment, business, and residency. People apply for apostille on educational documents to fulfil their education and employment purposes.

On the other hand, you might need a Hague apostille on your commercial and personal documents to start a business abroad, international trade, spouse visa, family visa, etc. 

Read More: Things You Must Know To Get Commercial Document Apostille

The Difference in the Steps of Apostille and Attestation 

Steps of Attestation

The procedure of document attestation includes three steps, and they are:

Step 1 – HRD Attestation/Home Department Attestation/Chamber of Commerce Attestation 

Where the State Human Resource Department provides HRD attestation on educational documents, on the other hand, the State Home Department and the Chamber of Commerce authorise personal and commercial documents on the state level with their attestations. 

Step 2 – MEA Attestation 

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) verifies the documents on the national level and places an MEA attestation on educational, commercial, and personal documents to confirm their authenticity.

Step 3 – Embassy Attestation 

The embassy of the country where you are preparing and packing your stuff for education, employment, or business provides attestation on your educational, personal, or commercial documents. 

The steps of document attestation and document apostille are different. 

Steps of Apostille

Apostille accomplished this in only two steps, and they are: 

Step 1 – HRD Attestation/Home Department Attestation/Chamber of Commerce Attestation 

Yes, the first step of both document attestation and apostille is the same for educational, commercial, and personal documents. The State Human Resource Department confirms the authenticity of the educational documents with HRD attestation. 

The State Home Department and the Chamber of Commerce verify and place attestation on your personal and commercial documents. 

Step 2 – MEA Apostille 

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) places the Apostille stamp on your legal documents for use in the Hague Convention Member country. 

The foreign diplomatic mission has no part to play in the document apostille procedure. 

Department that Places an Apostille 

Each member nation of the Hague Convention has designated one or more authorities to issue an apostille on the applicant’s legal documents. Here are some examples of the departments that place an stamp on your documents.

  • Courts 
  • Government agencies
  • Local governments 
  • Ministries
  • Notarial chambers

Each authority in the Hague Convention country has the power to place an apostille stamp on a specific type of document. The Ministry of Justice and the Chamber of Civil in Hungary issue apostille on the court and notarial papers. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Mexico apostille federal documents. 

Cost of Apostille 

The department that issues apostille on a document depends on various sectors, such as the document type, state to state or country to country. On the same side, the fee for it depends on the document and your country.

Some member countries of the Hague Convention, such as France and Japan, have not set any bar to charging a fee to provide apostille services to their citizens. The Cayman Islands, a member of HCCH , requests the highest fee, 150 KYD. 

On the other hand, some member countries of the HCCH charge fees according to the type of document and purpose of an apostille. For instance, in the United States, you do not need to pay fees to get an apostille stamp on your birth certificate. 

Apostille Format 

An apostille is a computerised stamp placed on a document. At the top of the apostille stamp, you can see the title Apostille, Convention de La Haye du 5 October 1961 in French. According to the convention, this text must be in French. 

Apostille attestation sample

Along with the above-described text, the apostille stamp includes a twelve numbers field, which can be in English, French, or the language of the apostille-issued country. The twelve number fields contain the following details:

  1. Name of the country that issues the apostille 
  2. Name of the public document that needs apostille 
  3. has been signed by 
  4. acting in the power of 
  5. bears the seal/stamp of 
  6. Certified
  7. location or authority that has authorised to issue the apostille
  8. date of the issue apostille  
  9. by the authority who issued the document 
  10. No of the apostille 
  11. Seal/stamp of the office that places the apostille
  12. Signature of the official who issues the apostille

Verification of Apostille Stamp 

Belgium, the member country of the HCCH, launched an electronic apostille in 2006. The electronic apostille gives power to the authorities to maintain the issued apostille records. 

On top of this, check the apostille stamp anytime and anywhere. The electrical apostille program is also known as e-APP and it is the part of the procedure used by many member countries of the HCCH. 

Validity of Apostille 

The best part of the apostille is that it has no expiry date. But, it can be possible that an apostille document may have an expiration date.So, check the details and requirements associated with the apostille you need on your legal documents. 

Apostille Requirements

The apostille is only legal in the Hague Convention member countries. To get an apostille on your legal document, you need the help of an authorised agency. The government authorises and accepts applications for apostille through their outsourcing agencies. 

Superb Enterprise Private Limited (SEPL) is the best agency officially approved by the MEA to submit the application and run the apostille procedure on the applicant’s behalf. 

Many Gulf and European countries accept apostille documents in their native language. So, SEPL provides language translation services to the applicants to make a translated copy of their legal document for apostille. 

Advantages & Disadvantages of Apostille 

  1. The first benefit of the apostille is that it has abolished the embassy attestation requirement and made the certification process straightforward and less complicated. 
  1. Apostille is beneficial in the case when you need to verify and authenticate the document from both the origin and destination countries. 
  1.  The apostille procedure comparison to general attestation is less expensive and lengthy.
  1. The disadvantage is that many countries are not members of the HCCH apostille. They only prefer documents of an expat with embassy attestation. 

Contact us to get answers to your query or concern related to document apostille. You can also approach us to run your document apostille procedure with less hassle. 

We are the best apostille attestation agency authorised by the MEA. We help applicants complete the document apostille procedure. We assist government authorities in collecting and delivering documents from and to the applicant before and after the apostille. 


Not many countries accept apostille, so check the preference of your destination country prior to applying for apostille for educational, personal, or commercial documents.