An apostille is a seal applied to a certified document to signify its legal authenticity for international use under the terms of the 1961 Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents.
It must be obtained from and notarized by the location in which the event took place and a record created. So if you were born in Sweden, married in California and divorced in Greece, you need to get a certified birth certificate and apostille from Sweden; a certified marriage certificate and apostille in California; and an official divorce decree and apostille from Greece. It does not matter where you live now.
If you are an American in Greece looking to get an apostille for your New York birth certificate, you must obtain your apostille from New York; apostilles are not available at the American Embassy or KEP. The only apostilles issued in Greece are apostilles for documents originating in Greece.
One apostille per document is required — it is unacceptable to secure one apostille for an entire lot, even if the birth certificates, divorce decree and death certificate are from the same location. So if you have two birth certificates, you need one apostille for each.
Under no circumstances should an apostille be detached from a document once it has been attached.
The relationship between church and state/government is one of the same in Greece. However, in most countries around the world they are separate. That means it may not be possible for local government authorities to apply an apostille to baptismal certificates and marriage certificates issued by a church.
Countries not part of the Hague Convention
Countries that are not part of the Hague Convention cannot get an apostille and must get in contact with the consulate or embassy serving the country in which the document originated. So if you have a birth certificate from Pakistan and you’re in Athens, go to the Embassy of Pakistan in Athens and request assistance from consular staff.
Canadian-issued documents for use in Greece must be certified by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs in Ottawa or by a Canadian consular official in Greece and by a government office or consulate of Greece.
What is an Apostille Certificate
An Apostille Certificate is an official certificate issued to documents so they will be recognised in member states without further Legalisation.
Typically the Apostille Certificate is issued by the state from which the document originates although in some cases another state can issue the Apostille. Once a document has had an Apostille Certificate attached to it confirming the authenticity of signatures and seals it can be presented to any country which recognises the Apostille. The authority receiving the document should then accept the seals or signatures as true and valid without requesting further evidence or proof.
Apostille Certificates issued in the UK will be accepted in the following countries without further legalisation – Apostille Countries. Even countries not listed may still accept the Apostille but in some cases will require further legalisation as detailed on the following page – Embassy Legalisation.
The Apostille Certificate follows a prescribed format and must include the following information –
1. Country of issue
2. Who has signed the document
3. The capacity in which the person signed the document
4. Details of any seal on the document
5. Place of issue
6. Date of issue
7. Issuing authority
8. Apostille Certificate number
9. Stamp of issuing authority
10. Signature of representative of issuing authority
What do we do?
The apostille service is provided to verify documents for use overseas. There are many documents that need apostilles for various reasons and it is important that your documents are presented in the right way. Our professional service is designed to make acquiring an apostille as simple as possible with one easy to use order form and free support by telephone and email.
So how do we help?
On receipt of your order we will first check that your document is suitable for processing. The document must be signed correctly, officially stamped or sealed, and in general must be of UK origin. There are certain documents that cannot be issued with an apostille and we will endeavour to assist you in obtaining the correct documents where possible. In the event that your document cannot be processed it will be returned to you at no cost. Many documents require further certification before the apostille can be issued. Where possible we can arrange for documents to be certified often at no additional cost to you. Once your document has been checked we will of course ensure that you documents are safely processed through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (the government issuing office) and that the apostille is issued correctly depending on the document provided. Our fees include all government charges.
The benefits of using our service
Free advice by email and telephone
No call centres, no automated phone systems, real advisors answering your calls and emails
Visit our office in person to hand deliver your documents
Support available Mon to Fri 9 to 5.30 (except Public Holidays)
Quick and efficient service
Trained staff that can offer advice on how best to process your document
Expert knowledge on how documents should be presented
Assistance in obtaining the correct documents
You can contact us to ensure we have received your document
Progress reports available by telephone and email – call us to find out when your document will be completed
Confirmed despatch of documents on request
A choice of return delivery options
International delivery - return to you or direct to your overseas contact
Last but arguably the most important benefit is our assurance that we will handle your documents with care and security. We do not use any third party companies when providing our service. Your document will be processed securely through the FCO and always handled with the care that you would expect from a reputable service provider.
If you need any assistance do not hesitate to contact us.
Countries which accept the Apostille Certificate
The following countries are all members of the Hague conference and have entered into force Convention 12 of 5 October 1961, Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents.
These countries will therefore accept the Apostille Certificate in place of any further legalisation.
Countries not listed will often still require an Apostille but will then also require further legalisation via their embassy. Please contact us for guidance on this.
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