From Nov. 7, No More Legalization for Foreign Public Documents

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On March 8, 2023, China acceded to the Hague Convention of October 5, 1961, Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents ("Hague Convention"). The legal effects of the Hague Convention will enter into force on November 7, 2023 in Chinese mainland.

Since November 7, public documents sent by China to other contracting parties for use can be sent to other contracting parties for use by applying for the Apostille provided for in the Convention without the need to apply for consular authentication by the embassies and consulates of China and the contracting parties in China. There is no need to apply for consular certification by the embassies and consulates of China and the Contracting States in China. For official documents of other States Parties to be sent to Chinese Mainland for use, only the additional certificate of that State is required, and there is no need to apply for consular authentication by that State and the Chinese Embassy or Consulate in the local area. Currently, more than 120 countries and regions have acceded to the Convention which aims to simplify the procedure of transnational circulation of public documents.

Enterprises and individuals engaged in cross-border trade and judicial activities, such as investment, litigation, inheritance, immigration and other matters, will benefit from this change. The time for making ready a document for the use in China can be reduced from about 20 working days to 3-5 working days.

Scope of Hague Apostille

- Public Documents

This includes birth certificates, marriage certificates, divorce judgments, death certificates, educational certificates, business registration certificates, and other public documents.

- Court Documents

This includes court rulings, judgments, complaints, court orders, and other documents related to legal proceedings.

- Administrative Documents

This includes various government-issued documents such as passports, visas, permits, licenses, notarized documents, and other administrative documents.

- Notarized Documents

This includes notarial certificates and authentication certificates.

Convention Countries

- Asia (22 countries)

China, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Brunei, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Tajikistan, Turkey, Uzbekistan

- Africa (16 countries)

Botswana, Burundi, Cape Verde, Eswatini, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritius, Morocco, Namibia, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, South Africa, Tunisia

- Europe (44 countries)

Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Moldova, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom

- North America (21 countries)

Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Costa Rica, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, United States

- South America (12 countries)

Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, Venezuela

- Oceania (10 countries)

Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Marshall Islands, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu

Appendix 1: List of Local Foreign Affairs Offices Authorized to Issue Apostille Certificates.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China is the competent authority for additional certificates under the Convention and issues additional certificates for public documents issued within the territory of China. Entrusted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the foreign affairs offices of the people's governments of the relevant provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government, as well as some municipal people's governments, may issue additional certificates for official documents issued within their own administrative areas.

Provincial-Level Offices (25): Anhui, Chongqing, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Henan, Heilongjiang, Hubei, Hunan, Hainan, Jilin, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Liaoning, Sichuan, Shandong, Shanghai, Shaanxi, Yunnan, Zhejiang, Gansu, Hebei, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia

Municipal-Level Offices (6): Changchun, Harbin, Ningbo, Jinan, Qingdao, Shenzhen

Appendix 2: Apostille

China's Certificate of Attachment will be in the form of a sticker with a silver-colored seal of the national emblem. The certificates of attachment issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China and the relevant local foreign affairs offices support online verification.

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