The best and most accurate means to describe the Apostille Convention is to use its formal name: The Hague Convention of 5 October 1961 (Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents). As you might already know, if you plan on using legal documents outside of South Africa, you will have to get them apostilled in order to ensure their validity.
In this post, we will be looking at which countries form part of the Apostille Convention and look at what your options are for getting documents legalised for use in a country that doesn’t form part of the Apostille Convention.
What is the Apostille Convention?
The Hague Convention, as it is known in short, replaced the “Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents”, which was a tedious way of having to confirm documents between countries (both countries had to sign two different confirmations in the past. Also known as the Convention de La Haye du 5 October 1961, or the Apostille Treaty, the Apostille Convention is an international treaty created by the Hague Conference on Private International Law.
Basically, it defines how a document issued in any of the member countries (signatory countries) can be certified for use among all the other members countries. Thus, if both South Africa and Japan belong to the Apostille Convention, then an apostille is used to confirm the document between the two countries. Within South Africa alone, an apostille would be the equivalent of a notarisation by a notary public. Who are the Member Countries of the Apostille Convention?
The Hague Conference (Apostille Convention) currently (as of March 2018) has 83 member countries, 82 States and 1 Regional Economic Integration Organization (as of March 2018). South Africa is one of the Apostille Convention countries. The others include:
Bosnia and Herzegovina
China – Only Hong Kong and Macao, not Mainland China
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
Republic of Moldova
South Korea (Republic of)
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
United States of America