Apostille Convention takes effect in China on November 7, simplifying documentation

Ke Jiayun
The processes for transferring official documents between China and Apostille Convention members will be eased beginning November 7.
Ke Jiayun
Apostille Convention takes effect in China on November 7, simplifying documentation

The procedures for some official document transfers between China and other contracting countries will be simplified starting November 7, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

China acceded to the 1961 Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents on March 8, and on November 7, the Convention will take effect in China.

For Chinese citizens, that means documents such as health certificates, driver's license certificates, academic degree certificates, and household registration certificates that may be needed overseas can be processed more easily and quickly.

The time they spend on completing a document for traveling abroad can be reduced from about 20 working days to a few working days, as well as the expense.

It can save more than 300 million yuan (US$41 million) in certificate application fees for Chinese, foreigners and companies every year.

When official documents within the scope of the Apostille Convention are sent between China and other contracting countries for use, they only need to apply for the additional certificate (Apostille), and the consular authentication services at the embassies and consulates of China and the contracting states are no longer required.

It will significantly reduce the time and economic costs of the transantional circulation of documents, said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning.

The average time for document transfer procedures between contracting countries will decrease by about 90 percent.

The Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) drafted the Convention of October 5, 1961, Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents, generally known as the Apostille Convention.

It is an international treaty with the widest scope of application and the largest number of contracting parties under the framework of HCCH. Its goal is to make cross-border distribution of public documents easier.

The Apostille Convention has 126 contracting members as of October 2023. For updates, please visit the HCCH website.

Applicants can learn more about the procedures and requirements for applying for extra certifications by visiting the Chinese Consular Service's official website or the websites of relevant regional foreign affairs offices.

China's Apostille will take the shape of a sticker with a silver national insignia seal and will be available for online verification.

Please click here for further information.

People living abroad can check the official website of the Chinese embassy or consulate in the area where they are living for detailed information.

Special Reports