Learn more about what an apostille is in business.
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The definition of an apostille is a special type of government-issued certification for use in another country. However, by definition, an apostille can’t be used without both countries being parties to the Hague Convention.
An apostille’s definition can only be understood within the context of the Hague Convention of 1961. The United States is a party to the Hague Convention. The Hague Convention is an agreement between countries. The Hague Convention abolished the requirement of the legalization of foreign public documents. This means that countries that signed this agreement legally recognize public documents issued by each other as long as the document includes a special certification. This special certification is called an apostille.
There are several steps that help explain an apostille’s meaning.
First, a person needs to use a publicly filed document in another country. For example, you may need an apostille to certify your LLC formation documents for use in another country. Both countries must have signed the Hague Convention of 1961. As a result, the certification provided by an apostille is recognized by both parties.
The person next must get that document notarized by a licensed notary public. Then, you need to have the notary’s signature certified by a government official. In New York, for example, you’d need to go to the county clerk to have the signature certified.
Lastly, the person can now request a government-issued certification. This special certification is called an apostille. You can apply for an apostille from your state’s Secretary of State. Then, you can apply for an apostille from the U.S. Secretary of State.
Depending on the country where you’re submitting the document, you may only need a state-issued apostille. Some countries also require that the U.S. government issue the apostille.
One of an apostille’s advantages is that a foreign country must automatically recognize your document as legally valid. Although obtaining an apostille may seem cumbersome, it is worthwhile. Countries that aren’t a part of the Hague Convention may require you to take additional steps to authenticate your document. Or worse, they may not recognize your document at all.
One of the apostille disadvantages is that it can be a complicated process to obtain one. There are many steps involved in securing an apostille. However, once you have it, you will be able to present it for use in another Hague signatory country.
Here’s an example of an apostille’s business definition. Let’s say your Delaware-formed corporation would like to operate in a country that is a party to the Hague Convention. That country doesn’t require you to form a new corporation or subsidiary to do business there. That country just needs an apostille certifying your corporation’s Articles of Incorporation.
Once you go through the process of obtaining an apostille for your Articles of Incorporation, you can now file them with that foreign country. You can set up business there under your original corporate name. Of course, you may still need to take additional steps to operate there. But the point of the apostille is that the foreign country recognizes your corporate documents as valid.
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Disclaimer: The content on this page is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.