What is Apostille? When do you need it and where to find reputable services?

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When carrying out administrative procedures abroad, it is mandatory to have personal documents legalized. To enhance international exchanges and collaboration, Apostille was created as a step forward to help streamline procedures involving public documents.

So, what exactly is it? What is the application process for this type of certification? Let’s explore the answers to these questions together with Thao & Co. in this article.

What is Apostille?

For an individual to travel, work, or live in another country, their documents must be recognized by the government of the host country before becoming valid for use Apostille, in simple terms, is a form of attestation granted under the provisions of the Hague Convention on the Apostille itself to verify the seals and signatures on documents issued by an official entity. 

Apostille is usually provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the host country. It is only effective in countries that have joined the 1961 Hague Convention. The 126 countries that have joined the Apostille Convention to date are as follows: 

This type of certification is often required for documents such as: 

Personal documents

  1. Birth certificates
  2. Death certificates
  3. Marriage Certificates
  4. Divorce certificates
  5. Passports
  6. Driver’s licenses
  7. Bachelor’s degree
  8. ● Other immigration documents if the individual lives, works, studies, marries or settles abroad. 

Business documents

  1. ● Investment Registration Certificate (IRC)
  2. Certificates of Incorporation
  3. ● Overseas Business Registration
  4. Financial Statements
  5. ● Confirmation of tax liability

In what circumstances do I need to apply for Apostille?

Foreign individuals and organizations should produce Apostille-certified papers in the following instances to help the implementation of administrative procedures relating to: 

  1. ● Study abroad 
  2. ● Labor export
  3. ● Settle abroad
  4. ● Marriage/divorce to a foreigner
  5. ● Lawsuits involving foreign litigants
  6. ● Conduct business and expand business lines
  7. ● Import and export of goods
  8. ● Capital transfer with multinational enterprises
  9. ● Revision of investment registration certificate
  10. ● Establishment of a foreign-invested company
  11. ● Announcement of overseas product circulation
  12. ● Trademark registration overseas
  13. ● Etc.

In accordance with the Hague Apostille Convention, the following public documents are eligible to apply for it:

  1. ● Documents prepared by an agency or official affiliated with a national court/jurisdiction such as: Prosecutors, court clerks, bailiffs.
  2. ● Administrative papers
  3. ● Notarized documents
  4. ● Certifications signed in a personal capacity: Certifications for the registration of a document, documents recording an event, official certificates or notarization of signatures.

In general, almost any legal document can apply for Apostille except in the following cases: 

  1. ● Consular/Diplomatic documents:
  2. ● Administrative documents pertaining to trade or customs operations 

Do notaries issue Apostille for documents?

The answer is no. Apostille authorities include the following: 

  1. ● The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the country issuing documents and papers
  2. ● Diplomatic missions, consulate/embassy, or other agencies authorized to perform consular functions abroad.

One thing to keep in mind is that these agencies must be recognized in the Apostille’s list of member states to issue this form of certification.

What is the difference between Apostille and consular authentication?

Example of Apostille Certificate Translation - Thao & Co.

Apostille and Consular Authentication are both mandatory processes if you want to use documents in another country. However, their purpose and applicability remain distinct.


Consular Authentication makes it easier for local governments to monitor the validity and legal compliance of foreign documents used in their jurisdiction.

The Apostille system, according to the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH), helps businesses and individuals reduce the time and resources spent on administrative procedures by facilitating the legalization of foreign papers. However, in some cases, the authorities may still require consular authentication.


The Apostille only applies to countries that are members of the 1961 Hague Convention. Non-member countries must get consular authentication instead.

If either the issuing country or the country of destination is not a party to the Apostille Convention, you will need to go through the Consular Legalization process. For example: Documents issued by the United States will require consular legalization before they can be used in Vietnam.

Procedure to apply for Apostille for legal documents

The exact application procedure is as follows: 

  1. Step 1: The foreign legal entity prepares the Apostille application dossier, which includes:  A declaration, original or photocopy of an identity document, documents applying for Apostille that have already been certified by a diplomatic mission, consular office, or other agencies with authority to perform consular duties, a translation of the documents in the required language.
  2. Step 2: The authorized officer receives the application and, if necessary, requests additional documents for authentication.
  3. Step 3: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs shall issue the Apostille after verifying the signatures, seals, and titles present in the certificates of foreign competent authorities for the received documents. 
  4. Step 4: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs processes the application and returns the results to the applicant

The average process time for an Apostille application is 2-3 days. Nowadays, you can also find various translation agencies that offer supplementary Apostille services.

Professional and speedy Apostille services

For unaccustomed foreigners, the Apostille application process with its various legal procedures and documents may pose some challenges. Recognizing this difficulty, Thao & Co. translation company is pleased to introduce notarized translation services to assist you in acquiring Apostille in a professional, accurate, and timely manner.

Difference between Consular Authentication and Apostille - Thao & Co.

With many years of experience handling complex administrative and legal documents with certified translation services, we guarantee to meet all of our client’s requirements, ensuring satisfaction and convenience. Thus, what have led many clients to work with us throughout the years?

  1. ● Our team of dedicated consultants offering assistance to clients completely free of charge
  2. ● Translation solutions available for more than 50 languages, from common to rare: English, French, Spanish, Korean, Japanese, and many more.
  3. ● Our professional linguists ready to tackle the translation for any Apostille application documents and deliver satisfactory results
  4. ● Our streamlined workflow ensuring speedy delivery of the finished product
  5. ● Top-of-the-line services with transparent and competitive pricing
  6. ● Commitment to safeguard your privacy and keep all information strictly confidential
  7. ● Thao & Co.’s proprietary platform provides ease of access to our clients, allowing convenient tracking of project progress.

Applying for Apostille is an important step to kick-start your oversea study, business, and employment. Therefore, should you wish to learn more about the procedures and regulations regarding Apostille application or Thao & Co.’s services, please contact us at our Get a Quote page. Our consultants will be delighted to answer any questions and assist you in your endeavor.

Source: Thao & Company
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