Apostille attestation in India is a special certificate or stamp issued by MEA (the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India), and acts as a final seal of approval from the Embassy or Consulate.
- An Apostille can either be placed directly on the original public document itself by means of seals, stickers or rubber stamps, or it can be on a separate page and attached to the public document by staples, ribbons, etc.
- It legalizes the use of your personal documents like birth certificate, death certificate and marriage certificate, and educational documents like degree, diploma and matriculation certificates, in any of the other 104 countries that are members of the Hague convention.
- Since India is also a member of the Hague Convention, Indian citizens who wish to study, work or move in with their husband or wife living abroad can get an apostille.
Benefits of apostille
Indian citizens who have been issued an apostille for certain original documents, have theadvantage that they will not be required to get their documents attested separately, while applying for one or more member countries of the Hague Convention.
Can all documents be apostilled
The apostille certificate or stamp is applicable to public documents only. The law of the country in which the document was issued is the sole authority that can decide whether a particular document can be called a “public document” or not.
Apostilles are more commonly issued for documents like birth, death, and marriage certificates, documents issued by an authority or an official connected with a court, tribunal or commission, school, university, and other academic diplomas issued by public institutions, commercial registers, patents, notarial acts and notarial attestations of signatures. The Apostille certification is not applicable to documents executed by diplomatic or consular agents.
Documents required for apostille
The following documents are required for apostilling certificates:
- The original document that you want to get apostilled.
- Photocopy of the document mentioned above
- Photocopy of the first page of a valid passport
Can photocopies of original documents be apostilled?
No, only original documents or true copies can be apostilled.
Apostille attestation procedure
Authentication of documents
You should first get all of the original documents that you want to be apostilled authenticated by the designated authorities of the state or union territory from where your document was issued.
Personal documents will be authenticated Home/General Administration Department of the state government or Union Territory where the document was issued.
For educational documents, the Education Department of the state government or union territory is the designated authority to authenticate the document.
In the case of commercial documents, pre-authentication is done by the respective Chambers of Commerce.
Legalisation of documents
After the authentication phase is over, the Ministry of External Affairs will legalize the documents on the basis of the signature of the designated authorities depending on the type of document (Home/ General Administration Department of state government or union territory for personal documents, Chambers of Commerce for commercial documents, Education Department of state government or union territory for educational documents). Kindly note that the MEA does not take any responsibility for the contents of the documents.
With effect from July 2012, the Ministry of External Affairs has stopped accepting documents directly at their counters at Patiala House Annexe in New Delhi.
The original document or the true copy must now be submitted directly to any of one the agencies mentioned below:
- M/S Superb Enterprises Pvt. Ltd. Centres in Bangalore, New Delhi, Kochi, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Chandigarh, and Pune
- M/s BLS International Services Ltd centers in New Delhi, Chandigarh, and Navi Mumbai
- M/s IVS Global Service Pvt. Ltd. centres in Srinagar, Chandigarh, and New Delhi
- IVS Collection centres in Jalandhar, Bangalore, Goa, and New Delhi
- M/s Superb Enterprises centres in Chandigarh and New Delhi
- VFS Global Attestation Centres in Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, New Delhi, and Chandigarh
- Ministry of External Affairs Branch Secretariat in Kolkata, Guwahati, Hyderabad and Chennai
Apostille attestation fees
The fee for apostilling is Rs 50 per document. Since theMEA does not accept documents directly from the applicant, the payment along with all the documents for the purpose of apostille by MEA is to be submitted and collected from the designated outsourced agencies mentioned above.
The outsourced agency also charges an additional fee for the collection and delivery of the documents for the purpose of apostille by the MEA. For personal documents, the extra charges are Rs22, for education documents it is Rs18, and for commercial documents, it is Rs 16.
Note: The documents and payment should be submitted at the designated centres in person. Do not send them by post or by courier.
Countries that accept Apostille
The following countries are members of the Hague Convention and accept the Apostille certification:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Brunei Darussalam
- Cape Verde
- Cook Islands
- People’s Republic of China (Hong Kong & Macao Only)
- Costa Rica
- Czech Republic
- Dominican Republic
- El Salvador
- Republic of Korea
- Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
- Marshall Islands
- Republic of Moldova
- New Zealand
- Russian Federation
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Saint Lucia
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- San Marino
- Sao Tome and Principe
- South Africa
- Trinidad and Tobago
- United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
What about countries that don’t accept Apostille?
For those countries which are not members of the Hague Convention and don’t accept Apostille certification, normal attestation is done.
What is e-Sanad?
- e-Sanad is an initiative of the Ministry of External Affairs, aimed at making the process of document attestation for those planning to work, study or take up permanent residence in a foreign country, completely digital.
- Launched in May 2017, it is a collaborative effort of the MEA in association with the ministries of Human Resource Development (HRD) and Electronics and Information Technology and is being implemented in a phased manner.
- It provides a central platform for cashless and paperless submission and verification of personal, commercial, and educational documents issued to Indian citizens by document issuing authorities in India.
- The most important requirement for the apostille certification through e-Sanad is the availability of the document in a digital repository.
- Full implementation of e-Sanad will make the process of getting documents attested cheaper and less time-consuming for people, as they won’t have to physically report to centres to submit documents and payment. Forms can also be filled online.
- In the initial phases, e-Sanad was hosting school leaving certificates (documents from the year 2014 onwards) with the help of CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) only. In the present scenario, physical copies of CBSE documents of years 2014 and onwards will not be accepted through e-Sanad. Only digital documents will be accepted.
- In subsequent phases, this service is expected to be extended to other document issuing authorities, depending on their ability to provide the digital depository of documents issued by them, as well as to Indians living in foreign countries.
- The NAD (National Academic Depository) project being implemented by the Ministry of Human Resources Development has been integrated with e-Sanad, for enhancing the digital repository of the documents.
- The verification or attestation of the documents issued by the document issuing authorities integrated with NAD would be done online.
Who should I contact if I have a query?
For further information, you may contact:
- Apostille Cell, Ministry of External Affairs
Address: Jawahar Lal Nehru Bhawan, Janpath Marg, New Delhi-110011.
Phone number: 49018404
- The Joint Secretary, CPV Division, Ministry of External Affairs
Phone number: 011-23387104