On 23 Oct. 2023, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) announced that the “Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents” (the Apostille Convention) would enter into force in China on 7 Nov. 2023.
On 8 Mar. 2023, China formally became a party to this Convention, marking a significant step forward in China’s efforts to facilitate the circulation of international public documents. The Apostille Convention officially took effect in China on 7 Nov. 2023.
The Apostille Convention is an important international treaty under the framework of the Hague Conference on Private International Law, with a broad scope of application and a large number of contracting parties.
The primary purpose of the Apostille Convention is to simplify the procedures for the transnational circulation of public documents.
In the past, the transnational transfer of documents to and from China required complex and time-consuming processes, including two rounds of consular authentication.
However, under the Apostille Convention, from 7 Nov. 2023, public documents sent from China to other contracting countries for use only need to obtain an “Apostille” without the legalization (consular authentication).
Likewise, public documents sent from other contracting countries to mainland China need only obtain an “Apostille” issued by their country, without requiring consular authentication by both the sending country and the Chinese diplomatic missions in their country.
To facilitate public access and verification, the Apostille Convention stipulates that the MFA, as the competent authority for “Apostille”, will provide an online verification service for the public.
The public can access specific information by visiting the China Consular Services website or relevant local foreign affairs websites.
It is worth noting that the Chinese Apostille will be in the form of a sticker with a silver national emblem stamp, which not only incorporates unique Chinese elements but also reflects the Chinese government’s efforts to standardize and facilitate the flow of public documents.
Contributors: CJO Staff Contributors Team