The Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents (the "Convention") facilitates the use of public documents abroad. The purpose of the Convention is to abolish the traditional requirement of legalisation, replacing the often long and costly legalisation process with the issuance of a single Apostille certificate by a Competent Authority1 in the place where the document originates.
China officially acceded to the Hague Conference on Private International Law – Conférence de La Haye de droit international privé (HCCH) 1961 Apostille Convention on 8 March 2023, which comes into effect tomorrow, 7 November 2023. Changes under the Convention include:
- Chinese Embassies and Consulates in member countries of Apostille Convention will stop accepting legalisation service applications from 7 November 2023.
- Courts in China will accept public documents with an Apostille certificate, made by a Competent Authority (see endnotes) in member countries2 (see endnotes) of the Apostille Convention, and legalisation is no longer required.
- For a private document (such as a Power of Attorney from a company or individual), notarisation must still be carried out to make it a "public document". The Apostille authority confirms the qualification of the notary, then the document can be used in the destination country.
1. Competent authorities for Apostille service of the member countries could be found at https://www.hcch.net/en/instruments/conventions/authorities1/?cid=41
2. List of member countries to Apostille Convention could be found at https://www.hcch.net/en/instruments/conventions/status-table/?cid=41
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