You might have heard of the term called apostille while you were seeking a visa for planning for your long- term stay, it could be higher education, employment or work, temporary or permanent residency. Or perhaps, you are planning for your business growth opportunities in a foreign country. The document legalization is a mandatory procedure to be followed for such scenarios.
Certificate Apostille and document apostille are terms that simply mean legalization of your documents and certificates. Although, it has a characteristic that there are several levels of verification and validation before final legalization by the central government. In this guide, you will know everything about the process, cost and how much time does it take to get it done in India.
What is Apostille ?
Dictionary explanation for apostille meaning just implicates as a French word that means ‘certification’, and in a formal context, an apostille is basically a formality of proving the authenticity and credibility of the document.
When you apostille a document, an apostille sticker and/or an apostille stamp is obtained from the authority. It is a computer generated with a unique identification number and is applied to the back of the document. This maintains a record online and allows the concerned authorities to check the authenticity in a more convenient manner. After this application of the sticker from the MEA, there usually is no need for any added certification from the embassy.
What is Apostille Attestation ?
Apostille attestation is a way of attesting the required documents so that they can be made admissible in any country that belongs to the Hague Convention. Document apostille is an attestation of the global level that is legally acceptable in more than 116 countries, most of the European & American countries accept the format. In India, a sticker from Ministry of External Affairs stuck on the back of the document, and again a stamp is rendered on the sticker in a way that it is partially on the sticker and partially on the document.
When is Apostille Required ?
Document apostille is required when there is need to eradicate the necessity of document legalization when going to the foreign countries for all sorts of reasons, for instance, obtaining employment visa or work visa, applying for temporary or permanent residency, or for pursuing education on student visa, carrying out deals for business expansion e.g. importing or exporting products. This requirement is mandatory for the countries which are part of the Hague convention.
The Hague Convention , also called Apostille Hague Convention or Apostille Convention, was signed on 5th of October, 1961 in the town of Luxembourg. However, it only became effective from 14th of January, 1965. The convention was brought into action in order to abolish the necessity of legalization of documents and certificates to make the liberalization among the countries more convenient. When one obtains an apostille on documents, there is no need of same on the documents again for another signatory country. Barriers in trading and other areas have been reduced and there is better accessibility through the nations.
Apostille in India
India is a developing country which has been growing since independence. The trade, areas of education, employment opportunities, everything spontaneously keeps advancing and with time, the number of citizens going abroad has elevated as well. This brings in the necessity for the issuance of employment visa, student visa resident visa or the requirement of certificate attestation for making business transactions in the foreign.
Apostille in India has aided in the above processes. India has been a member of the Hague Convention since 2005 and is recognized in almost all the Hague countries. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) is the central government department that provides a sticker on the documents that contains the details of the applicant which include the name, document name, name of the officer who issued the sticker and stamp and the date of issuance. In India, the validity of the apostille sticker is six months. The procedure is an indirect course of action that involves attestation readily from the regional and the state government before approaching the MEA.
Apostille in India, the procedure has recently been decentralized by the central government. The central body that carries out document apostille is the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). The MEA has regionalized apostille process to Branch Secretariats and the RPOs in 15 cities effective from January 1st, 2019. The cities of operation include – Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Chennai, Chandigarh, Cochin, New Delhi, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, Panaji, Raipur, and Thiruvananthapuram. Generally, it begins at the local notary from where the document was issued and is followed by the state authentication and then lastly the MEA apostille sticker.
The procedure differentiates when it comes to different types of documents. There primarily are three main types of legal documents – personal, educational and commercial. The procedures are elaborated below:
Personal Document Apostille
It is pretty clear from the term that personal document apostille is the legalization of documents that contain personal data. It comprises the birth certificate apostille and marriage certificate apostille.
• 1. Marriage Certificate
• 2. Birth Certificate
• 3. Divorce Certificate
• 4. Death Certificate
• 5. Adoption Deed
• 6. Medical Certificate
• 7. Police Clearance Certificate (PCC)
• 8. Experience Certificate
• 9. Migration Certificate
• 10. Passport Copies etc.
The personal document apostille process consists of the following steps
• 1. Notary Attestation
• 2. Home Department Attestation or SDM Attestation
• 3. Apostille from MEA
Educational Certificate Apostille
The documents that are proof of your educational history that deal with your academic performances and the courses accomplished over time are called as educational documents. The most common educational documents of:
• 1. Degree Certificate
• 2. SSC Certificate
• 3. Transfer Certificate
• 4. Transcript Certificate
• 5. Mark Sheet
• 6. School Leaving Certificate
• 7. Engineering Certificate
• 8. Diploma Certificate
• 9. Nursing Certificate etc.
Depending on the origin or type of the document, the procedure for the attestation of educational certificates will vary. Following are given the different procedures that are specific to the place of issuance of the document and its kind.
1. For Maharashtra issued documents
2. For out of Maharashtra issued documents
3. As per the country’s requirement where HRD is compulsory
Commercial Document Apostille
The documents that approve of the business capital owned by any entrepreneur are referred to as commercial documents. These include documents like property papers, partnership deeds, Memorandum of Association, etc.
• 1. Memorandum Of Association
• 2. Power Of Attorney
• 3. Authority Letter
• 4. Board Resolution
• 5. Article Of Association
• 6. Certificate Of Incorporation
• 7. Commercial Invoice
• 8. Bill Of Lading
• 9. Insurance Certificate
• 10. Invoice Bills etc.
The commercial document apostille process includes the following steps:
• 1. Chamber of Commerce Attestation
• 2. Apostille from MEA
Steps involved in Document Apostille Process:
o Notary Attestation :
The primary step in the authentication of the educational and personal documents is getting them certified from the Notary. It is done at the regional level from a lawyer or at the collector’s office.
o Home Department Attestation:
Home Department is a state level organization that certifies the personal documents. It is responsible for the legalization of the documents which are issued under the same state government. The Home Department is also known as Mantralaya in some states, so it’s also called as Mantralaya Attestation.
o HRD Attestation:
HRD or Human Resource Department is a department of the state that solely certifies the educational documents. Certificate verification is a significant factor in the given part of authentication. Certificate verification is needed to be done from university or board based on where the document is issued.
o SDM Attestation:
Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) is an alternative for the State attestation in some instances. It is done when of home department attestation or HRD attestation is not preferable.
o Chamber of Commerce Attestation:
The Chamber of Commerce (CoC) is a business association and the first step in the verification of your commercial documents before the legalization MEA. There is no state government’s involvement in commercial documents.
o MEA Attestation:
The MEA is the arm of the central government that manages foreign affairs which will provide the sticker and MEA stamp as per the requirement. It is the final step of legalization when both, the home country and destination country are members of the Hague convention.
What is Apostille Certificate?
An apostille certificate is a certificate that has acquired the apostille sticker and a stamp from MEA. It is a sort of certificate legalization that is granted by the central government of the country where the document was issued. Based on your country of origin, There might be various levels of legalization is necessary before final authentication from the central government. It is also one of the mandatory aspects of obtaining an overseas visa and doing business abroad.
Who can Apostille a document in India?
In India, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) is responsible for apostille of documents, which is also the department of the central government. In 2019, It is decentralized to branch secretariats and the RPOs in 15 cities – Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Chennai, Chandigarh, Cochin, New Delhi, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, Panaji, Raipur, and Thiruvananthapuram. However, before obtaining the same, there is a need for verification from the state government.
Inter at Lawportal,
Author: Ananya Pandey,
Law student 3rd b.a.llb marathwada mitra mandal's shankarrao chavan law college