No Need Consulate Authentication from Nov 7, 2023?

Now Shenzhen   |   December 6, 2023


On November 7, 2023, the Hague Convention on Legalisation will enter into force in China. China’s accession to the Hague Convention on Legalisation will significantly reduce the need for transnational circulation of documents and facilitate international trade and economic transactions.


In October 1961, the Hague Conference on Private International Law adopted the draft Convention at its ninth session, and in 1965 the Convention formally entered into force. In recent years, the membership of the Convention has grown rapidly and currently stands at 125 members. States parties to the Convention have abolished the consular authentication process between embassies and consulates. Instead of consular authentication, an Apostille issued by the competent authority of the issuing country is used. The apostille can be used among the States Parties to the Convention without the need for consular authentication by foreign embassies and consulates in China (the traditional consular authentication procedure is still used between China and non-States parties). The apostille has the same function as the consular authentication certificate; it only certifies the authenticity of the last seal and signature on the official document, and is not responsible for the authenticity and legality of the content of the official document itself. The authenticity of the content of the official document is still governed by the principle of “whoever issues it is responsible for it”.

2.Convention Parties

Currently, 125 countries are the Convention parties (as of October 23, 2023):

Asia (22):

China, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Brunei, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Tajikistan, Turkey, Uzbekistan.

Europe (44):

Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Moldova, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom.

North America (21):

Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Costa Rica, Dominica, Dominica, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, United States.

South America (12):

Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, Venezuela.

Oceania (10):

Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Marshall Islands, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu.

Africa (16):

Botswana, Burundi, Cape Verde, Swaziland, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritius, Morocco, Namibia, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, South Africa, Tunisia.

Note 1: On January 11, 2024, the Convention will enter into force for Canada, and the application of the Convention between China and Canada will commence on that date; on June 5, 2024, the Convention will enter into force for Rwanda, and the application of the Convention between China and Rwanda will commence on that date.

Note 2: The Convention shall not apply between China and those members of the Convention which it does not recognize as having the status of sovereign states.

Note 3: The Convention does not apply between China and India.

3.Process Comparison

Flow of documents from China use for States Parties before and after accession to the Convention.

Example 1:

A Chinese goes to France to study and needs to get his diploma certificate authentication.

The process before joining the convention: 

  1. Notarization
  2. Certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  3. Consular authentication by French consulate in China

Processing time: 4-5 weeks.

Process after joining the convention:

  1. Notarization
  2. Apostille(附加证明书)

Processing time: 1-2 weeks.

Flow of documents from abroad to be used in China before and after accession.

Example 2: An American works in China and his wife needs to apply for dependent visa and must authenticate her marriage certificate.

Pre-accession process:’

  1. Notarization
  2. Certified by State(sometimes needs extra county certification)
  3. Consular authentication in Chinese embassy in USA

Processing time: 7-8 weeks

After-accession process:

  1. Notarization
  2. Apostille

Processing time: 1-2 weeks

Note: The traditional consular authentication procedure is still used between China and non-States parties.

4.Benefits After Accession

  1. The process of using transnational documents will be greatly simplified, and the original double authentication will be replaced by a single authentication model. 
  2. Processing time is greatly shortened, the longest time-consuming consular certification of the consulate will be canceled.
  3. Processing costs are greatly reduced. High percentage of authentication fees charged by individual embassies and consulates in China for specific sales contracts in relation to the amount involved. It is estimated that the entry into the treaty will save at least 300 million CNY in authentication fees annually.
  4. Universalization of one certificate. The instrument to which the Apostille is affixed can be used universally among the States Parties to the Convention without applying for consular authentication at the embassies and consulates of the respective countries.


1.What documents are needed apostille?
When Chinese citizens want to go abroad to study, work or live, or when they apply for visas to go abroad in China, they usually need to use certain foreign-related notarial certificates issued by domestic notary publics, such as notarization of birth, ,non-criminal certificate, power of attorney, contract, etc., which may need to be applied for Apostille(附加证明书)before being sent to the States Parties to the Convention for use. Enterprises due to foreign economic and trade activities, often need to apply to the Council for the promotion of trade in certificates of origin, invoices, packing lists, etc., or to the entry-exit inspection and quarantine agencies to apply for certificates of origin, animal and plant quarantine certificates for export, etc., the above instruments in the use of the States parties to the Conventionmay need to apply for Apostille(附加证明书).

2. Foreign-related notary public certificates must apply for apostille(附加证明书)?
It depends. The requirements of the relevant agencies of the country of use shall prevail, and if the relevant agencies of the country of use require, it shall be processed in accordance with the relevant requirements.

3. In terms of the scope of application, the Convention applies to “public documents” formed in the contracting states, including what?
(1) Instruments issued by government departments or officials concerned with the courts or tribunals of a country, including those issued by the Prosecutor, the Registrar of the Court and the Enforcement Officer;
(2) Administrative instruments; 
(3) Notarial certificates;
(4) Official certificates placed on documents signed in a private capacity, such as registration approvals, dated visas, and signature certificates.

4. How can the authenticity of an apostille be verified?
According to the Convention, the competent authority of a Contracting State shall establish a register of apostille issued by it and shall verify the authenticity of such certificates upon application by any interested person. If you need to verify the authenticity of the apostilles issued by China, you can visit: and enter the authentication number and sticker number for verification, or by visiting the verification website ( on the apostille by cell phone and scanning the QR code.
If you need to verify the authenticity of the apostilles issued by the other States Parties, you can contact their competent authorities, whose names and contact information can be found on the official website of the Hague Conference on Private International Law (, or click on the link in the following annex (provided with the assistance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for reference only).

5. In which language(s) do I need to provide a translation of the instrument for apostille?
Since the documents to be used for the apostille will be sent abroad, the applicant must confirm in advance with the foreign relevant departments which language translation is required.

6. Is it possible to apply for an apostille in multiple copies?
Yes, it is acceptable.

7. Is it necessary to apply for an apostille for Mainland documents sent to Hong Kong or Macao for use?
Foreign-related notarized documents sent to Hong Kong or Macao for use need to go through confirmation procedures at the Department of Consular Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, instead of applying for consular authentication or apostille, but the procedures and requirements are basically the same.


Blank sample of China Apostille:

We can provide notarization and Apostille services for more than 20 countries, as well as China notarization and apostille processing services.