Update on China’s Entry into the Apostille Convention

China has recently joined the Apostille Convention, effective from November 7, 2023. This development streamlines the international circulation of public documents between China and 122 other member countries. The Apostille certification will now replace the previously required dual authentication process, significantly reducing processing time.
  • China joined the Apostille Convention on March 8, 2023.
  • New process eliminates dual authentication requirements.
  • The Convention becomes effective in China on November 7, 2023.
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs and local foreign affairs offices are authorized to issue apostilles.
  • Processing time was reduced to 3-7 working days.
  • Convention currently has 122 member countries globally.

On March 8, 2023, China formally entered into the “Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents,” commonly referred to as the Apostille Convention. The Convention will be in force in China starting from November 7, 2023.

Simplified Procedures

Under the Apostille Convention, China and 122 other contracting countries will see a significant reduction in the red tape involved in document authentication. For instance, public documents sent from China to other contracting states will only require an Apostille certificate, eliminating the previous need for consular legalization. The same applies to documents from contracting states intended for use in mainland China.

Issuing Authorities

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China and relevant local foreign affairs offices will be responsible for issuing these certificates. The Apostille will be a sticker with a silver national emblem seal and can be verified online. For specific procedures and requirements, the Consular Services of China and respective local foreign affairs offices will provide guidance.

Accelerated Process

The Apostille Convention is set to expedite document processing times significantly. While the earlier dual certification process could take up to a month, obtaining an Apostille is expected to take only 3-7 working days.

Global Implications

The Convention currently has 122 contracting countries across Asia, Africa, Europe, North America, South America, and Oceania. However, it’s essential to note that the convention is not universally applicable, as some countries do not recognize each other’s sovereignty or have other diplomatic constraints.

List of Countries
  • Asia: Bahrain, Brunei, China, Hong Kong, Macau, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Oman, Philippines, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Tajikistan, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Pakistan.
  • Americas: United States, Canada, Mexico, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Christopher and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Venezuela.
  • Africa: Botswana, Burundi, Cape Verde, Eswatini, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritius, Morocco, Namibia, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, South Africa, Tunisia, Senegal.
  • Europe: Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Moldova, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom.
  • Oceania: Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Marshall Islands, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu.

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