Good news for your certified documentation requirements! China joins the Hague Apostille Convention!
Earlier this year, the Chinese ambassador to the Netherlands formally submitted China’s request to join the Hague Apostille Convention of 5 October 1961, thus abolishing the requirement to legalize foreign public documents.
China’s accession to the Apostille Convention will come into effect on 7 November 2023. This will make it possible to legalize official documents with an apostille issued by the appointed authority in the State of origin. Such apostille is then recognized in the State of destination (China and vice versa).
So what does the Apostille Convention do?
The Apostille Convention greatly simplifies the authentication process for public documents that will be used abroad. It completely eliminates the traditional legalization process, which is often arduous and very costly. It replaces this process with one single formality – an authentication certificate issued by the appointed authority in the State where the public document was executed. Such certificate is called an Apostille.
Why has China decided to join the Apostille Convention?
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has given several reasons why China has decided to join the Convention. It stated that the Convention makes it much simpler to use public documents abroad, and that it will make international trade dealings much easier as well as facilitating people exchange, thus significantly reducing time and cost. By joining the Convention, it is estimated that the time required to complete the necessary procedures will be reduced by around 90 percent.
Who will benefit from this decision?
The move means that Chinese citizens overseas as well as foreigners working, studying, or settling in China can have their official documentation, such as academic degrees, driver’s license, birth & marriage certificates, non-criminal records, and medical certificates, easily recognized in another country that is part of the Apostille Convention. It will also be greatly beneficial to the foreign business environment in China, as foreign companies investing or exporting into China will no longer need to seek consular legalization for commercial documents.
In theory, the Apostille Convention will make it much easier for foreign companies to do business in and with China. For example, when setting up a company or doing litigation in China, the relevant notarized and legalized documents from the home country are required. China’s accession to the Apostille Convention will soon make these costly and time-consuming processes easier, as the apostille can now be used as the new method of legalization.
How is an apostille issued and certified?
The process is quite simple, and it generally works like this:
- Issuance of the Document: A document is issued or certified by an officer recognized by the authority that will issue the apostille. For example, a state notary public in the U.S. or a solicitor in the U.K.
- Certification by Apostille: The document is then certified by a competent authority designated by the government of the state from where the document originated. The apostille certifies the authenticity of the signature on the document; the capacity in which the person signing the document acted; and identifies the seal/stamp which the document bears.
Once this process is complete, the documents and apostille can then be translated into the required language where necessary.
Find out more information about the Hague Apostille Convention of 5 October 1961 here!
And find out how you can get your official documents translated, certified and recognized by the Chinese authorities here!