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Avoiding the Most Common Apostille Errors

Avoiding the Most Common Apostille Errors

Avoiding the Most Common Apostille Errors

December 12, 2023 apostille-online Comments Off

The Apostille system has been around since the 1960s and has grown to include 126 countries across the globe. In very simple terms, the Apostille Convention is an agreement that each country will accept documents verified in any other country in the Convention as genuine. Apostille is designed to make international trade easier and less bureaucratic, and to simplify the paperwork needed to move overseas to live, work or study. Despite the system being in place for over 60 years, there is still a lot of misunderstanding about what getting an apostille actually involves, and how to navigate the process. If you are aware of the most common errors made by someone getting an apostille, you are best placed to avoid these yourself.

Is the Country I Am Dealing with Part of the Agreement?

As the Apostille Convention covers the UK and most of Europe, it is easy to fall into the trap of assuming other countries are covered too. There are large areas of the world where apostille is not recognised, including much of south east Asia, the Middle East, and nearly all of Africa. China has recently signed up to the Convention, and other countries may follow suit in the future. But never assume, and always check the latest information on the government website. Countries which are not part of the Convention will usually require a different procedure for legal recognition of your documents.

Old or Outdated Documents

Check with the country you wish to use the documents in whether there are any requirements for a document to be dated within a certain time period. This is not a concern for birth certificates or academic qualifications but might be an issue if you have been asked to submit something like a police certificate or DBS certificate for an apostille.

Check Whether a Notary Is Needed Too

Many countries, even those which are part of the apostille system, will need a document first to be “notarised”, or approved by a solicitor before going through apostille. If the notary has not signed or sealed the document too, it may be rejected, and you will have to start the process again.

Approved Copies

Whether you must submit an original document to be apostilled or can use a verified copy will depend on the regulations of the country you are dealing with. If a copy can be accepted, there is usually a requirement that it must be certified by true and genuine by a solicitor here in the UK before having the apostille stamp or seal applied.

Leave Enough Time

Although the process for getting an apostille in the UK is relatively speedy, that might not be the case if you are applying for an apostille in another country for a document to use in the UK. Always leave plenty of time to get the paperwork returned. Last-minute submissions could cause significant delays in your plans. Alternatively, use a third-party agent who is expert in the whole process, and will be best placed to help you avoid any delays you might come across.