What is an apostille?
Official documents (such as birth certificates) issued in certain countries do not have to be 'legalised', but must bear a stamp known as an 'apostille'.
The apostille is issued by an authorised official once he/she is satisfied that the document and its signature are genuine. In most countries, the apostille is issued by the Ministry of Justice or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The apostille comprises one or more rubber stamps and two or more signatures.
Do I need an apostille?
Whether an apostille is required will depend entirely on the country in which the relevant document was issued.
Birth certificates, marriage certificates and similar documents issued by a country which is a signatory to a legalisation treaty must generally bear an apostille.
- A list of countries whose documents require an apostille.
- A list of countries whose documents do not require legalisation or an apostille.
Documents issued by a country which appears on neither of these lists must be legalised.
Further information about apostilles and the department or organisation which issues them in each country can be found on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.