Benaters | Boutique Law Firm in Johannesburg

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What is an Apostille and When do I need one?

An Apostille is a certificate that authenticates the origin of a public document.

An Apostille only certifies the origin of the public document to which it relates: it certifies the authenticity of the signature or seal of the person or authority that signed or sealed the public document and the capacity in which this was done (usually a Notary Public).

An Apostille does not certify the content of the public document(s) to which it relates. Apostilles are not grants of authority and do not give any additional weight to the content of underlying documents. An Apostille may never be used for the recognition of a document in the country where that document was issued, it is only to be used abroad.

It is up to the country where the Apostille is to be used to decide how much weight is to be given to the underlying public document.

An Apostille may not be required if the laws, regulations, or practice in force in the country where the public document is to be used have abolished or simplified the requirement of an Apostille, or have exempted the document from any legalization requirement. Such simplification or exemption may also result from a treaty or other agreement that is in force between the country where the public document is to be used and the country that issued it (e.g. some other Hague Conventions exempt documents from legalization or any analogous formality, including an Apostille).

If you have any doubts, you should ask the intended recipient of your document whether an Apostille is necessary in your particular case.

Should you require an Apostille Certificate, we will aim to have it issued within three days of receipt of your document.