Apostille - The Complete Guide

You might have heard of the term called apostille while you were seeking a visa for planning for your long term stay, it could be higher education, employment or work, temporary or permanent residency. Or perhaps, you are planning for your business growth opportunities in a foreign country. The document legalization is a mandatory procedure to be followed for such scenarios. Certificate Apostille and document apostille are terms that simply mean legalization of your documents and certificates. Although, it has a characteristic that there are several levels of verification and validation before final legalization by the central government. In this guide, you will know everything about the process, cost and how much time does it take to get it done in India.


What is Apostille?

Apostille as a word has its origin in the French language. The apostille is a process of legalizing and authenticating personal, educational or commercial documents for international recognition in foreign countries that are members of the 1961 Hague Convention.

Apostille Stamp

An apostille sticker or stamp is given to a legalized document when approved. It is an identification number generated by the computer. All records are maintained online and available for authorities if they need them. You receive the apostille attestation through apostille services. After you receive the apostille stamp, additional certification from the embassy is not required.

List of the details found in an Apostille stamp:

  • 1. Country Name: The name of the country that issued the Apostille.
  • 2. Authority Name: The authority that issued the Apostille (usually the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or a designated agency).
  • 3. Reference number A unique identification number for the Apostille.
  • 4. Seal or stamp of the authority issuing the Apostille.
  • 5. Signature of the authority issuing the Apostille.
  • 6. Date of issuance of the Apostille.
  • 7. Convention Text: The standardized wording "Apostille (Convention of 5 October 1961)", confirming the document's status under the Hague Convention.
  • 8. Signatory's Title: The official title or position of the person who signed the Apostille (e.g., Secretary of State, Undersecretary, etc.).
Netherlands Apostille UK Apostille USA Aapostille

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What is Apostille Attestation?

Apostille attestation is a streamlined document legalization process for countries that are part of the Hague Convention. It involves verifying a document's authenticity (attestation) followed by an apostille - a special certificate confirming the attestation. This allows the document to be used in other member countries without further legalization.

Apostille Attestation Valid Countries: As of March 2024, 117 countries accept the apostille attestation. (source:

When is an apostille needed?

  • Apostille is typically required when an official document that is issued in one country needs to be used in another country for various personal and professional reasons.
  • These official documents include birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates, PCC (police clearance certificates), educational certificates, degree certificates, and Powers of Attorney.
  • In some cases, commercial documents may also require an apostille.
  • 1. If you are getting married in a different country, you must submit your apostilled marriage certificate.
  • 2. If you are applying to a university abroad, you must apostille your educational documents or degree certificate.
  • 3. To do business overseas, a Power of Attorney must be recognized.

As some countries have special requirements for Apostille, it's always best to check with the attestation and apostille service agency if you are unsure whether or not an Apostille is required.

Since apostille seems complicated to the average person, only someone with knowledge of the apostille process can provide you with the proper information. To meet country-specific needs, they can offer you specific advice.

When is Apostille Required?

Hague Convention Apostille

The Hague Convention Apostille simplifies the use of public documents abroad through an internationally recognized certification process. In essence, it is a way to authenticate documents so they can be used in countries that sign the Hague Apostille Convention.

How does it work?

Agreement:The Hague Convention eliminates the need for lengthy legalization procedures between member countries for public documents.

Legalization process:The process of legalizing a document for use abroad traditionally involved a series of certifications from various government agencies. It replaces this with a single apostille certificate issued by an authorized authority in the country where the document originated.

Benefits:Apostilles are cheaper, quicker, and more convenient than traditional legalization procedures.

The Hague Apostille Convention requires you to get an apostille if you intend to use public documents (birth certificates, diplomas, etc.) in countries that are parties to it.

which countries require apostille of documents?

(source: Wikipedia)

Here is the list of Hague Convention Countries

  • Grenada
  • Kazakhstan
  • Saint Vincent And Grenadines
  • Greece
  • Botswana
  • Brunei Darussalam
  • Burundi
  • Dominica
  • Cape Verde
  • Cook Islands
  • Belgium
  • Belize
  • Bosnia And Herzegovina
  • Brazil
  • Bulgaria
  • Burkina Faso
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Costa Rica
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • Estonia
  • Fiji
  • France
  • Georgia
  • Honduras
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Latvia
  • Hong Kong
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Mexico
  • Moldova
  • Monaco
  • Montenegro
  • Nicaragua
  • Norway
  • Panama
  • Peru
  • Portugal
  • Serbia
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Niue
  • Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Malawi
  • Morocco
  • Saint Lucia
  • Tonga
  • Philippines
  • Samoa
  • Kosovo
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine
  • Uruguay
  • Uzbekistan
  • Argentina
  • Armenia
  • Austria
  • Bahamas
  • Belarus
  • Denmark
  • Dominican Republic
  • Finland
  • Germany
  • Guatemala
  • Hungary
  • Macedonia
  • Mauritius
  • Netherlands
  • Andorra
  • Marshall Islands
  • Antigua And Barbuda
  • Barbados
  • Bolivia
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Namibia
  • Tajikistan
  • Tunisia
  • Vanuatu
  • Sao Tome And Principe
  • New Zealand
  • Poland
  • Turkmenistan
  • Albania
  • Australia
  • Bahrain
  • Colombia
  • Oman
  • Paraguay
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • South Africa
  • Trinidad And Tobago
  • UK
  • USA
  • Venezuela
  • Azerbaijan
  • India
  • Mongolia
  • Suriname
  • Macau
  • Saint Kitts And Nevis
  • San Marino
  • Swaziland
  • Seychelles

Apostille in India

An apostille in India is a way to get your Indian documents apostilled for use in other countries that are part of the Hague Apostille Convention

It's essentially a sticker attached to your document by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) that verifies it's legitimate.

Apostille in India

Who needs it:

Apostilles are needed if you want to use an Indian document in another country for business, study, or work (Most European countries).

An Apostilles are issued by India's Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

Here are some additional points to remember:

  • 1. Apostilles are only valid for countries that are part of the Hague Apostille Convention.
  • 2. There are different procedures for getting documents attested for countries that aren't part of the Convention. If you need the apostille for other than Hague convection countries then you can connect with the Apostille service agency to save your time and efforts.
Personal Document Birth Certificate Apostille Educational Degree Certificate Apostille Commercial Document Power Of Attorney Apostille

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Indian Apostille Attestation Procedure

The Apostille Attestation process in India involves two steps. The first step is to have your document attested by the appropriate authority, such as a state government office or a federal government agency.

You can then get an Apostille stamp/sticker attached to the document through the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) or one of its outsourced service providers.

MEA Apostille Attestation Procedure In India

  • 1. Visit e-Sanad, introduced by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, is an electronic service for verifying and attesting Indian citizens' documents. It can also be utilized by foreigners who obtained educational certificates or other official documents from issuing authorities within India.
  • 2. As part of the application process, candidates must upload their documents along with the standard fee set by the organization providing the e-services.
  • 3. A digital verification process is then conducted by the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) and the General Administration Department (GAD) of the Government of India (GOI).
  • 4. It will then be verified by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India.
  • 5. In the final step, attested documents with Apostilles are sent to the applicant

Be aware: It is important to keep in mind that the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) is not accepting documents directly from applicants/individuals.

All documents for Attestation/Apostille by MEA must be submitted to and collected from apostille agencies. You can find more details on the official MEA, GOI website.

Personal Document Apostille

Personal document apostille is the legalization of documents that contain personal information. Apostille services provide apostille documents for the following personal documents:

  • 1. Birth Certificate
  • 2. Marriage Certificate
  • 3. Divorce Certificate
  • 4. Death Certificate
  • 5. Adoption Deed
  • 6. Medical Certificate
  • 7. Police Clearance Certificate(PCC)
  • 8. Experience Certificate
  • 9. Migration Certificate
  • 10. Passport Copies etc.

The personal document apostille process consists of the following steps

  • 1. Notary Attestation
  • 2. Home Department Attestation or SDM Attestation
  • 3. Apostille from MEA
Personal Document Apostille

Educational Certificate Apostille

The documents containing proof of your education are used for the apostille of educational certificates. Apostille documents and education certificates can be received with the help of apostille services. The most common educational documents of:

  • 1. Degree Certificate
  • 2. SSC Certificate
  • 3. Transfer Certificate
  • 4. Transcript Certificate
  • 5. Mark Sheet
  • 6. School Leaving Certificate
  • 7. Engineering Certificate
  • 8. Diploma Certificate
  • 9. Nursing Certificate etc.

Depending on the origin or type of the document, the procedure for the attestation of educational certificates will vary. Following are given the different procedures that are specific to the place of issuance of the document and its kind.

Depending on the origin or type of the document, the procedure for the attestation of educational certificates will vary. Following are given the different procedures that are specific to the place of issuance of the document and its kind.

1. For Maharashtra issued documents

Procedure for Educational Certificate Apostille in Maharashtra

2. For out of Maharashtra issued documents

Procedure for Educational Certificate Apostille for out of Maharashtra

3. As per the country's requirement where HRD is compulsory

Procedure for Educational Certificate Apostille for Embassy Requirement

Commercial Document Apostille

Commercial documents provide proof of the business’s financial and legal structure. When expanding your business internationally, having a commercial document apostille may be required to verify these documents in other countries. To streamline the process, consider using apostille services that specialize in obtaining attestations. These apostille documents include documents like

  • 1. Memorandum Of Association
  • 2. Power Of Attorney
  • 3. Authority Letter
  • 4. Board Resolution
  • 5. Article Of Association
  • 6. Certificate Of Incorporation
  • 7. Commercial Invoice
  • 8. Bill Of Lading
  • 9. Insurance Certificate
  • 10. Invoice Bills etc.

The commercial document apostille process includes the following steps:

  • 1. Chamber of Commerce Attestation
  • 2. Apostille from MEA
Commercial Document Apostille

Steps involved in Document Apostille Process:

  • Notary Attestation :

    The first step in the authentication of the educational documents attestation and personal document attestation is getting a Notary attestation. It is done at the regional level by a lawyer or at the collector’s office. (If you are living in any other state of India and your documents are from another state then your personal document attestation will come Delhi Notary or else local notary from the advocate). In case of confusion, any reputable apostille services can guide you.

  • Home Department Attestation:

    Home Department, a state-level organization, provides home department attestation (for personal documents like birth certificates and marriage certificates). The Home Department is also known as Mantralaya in some states, so it’s also called Mantralaya Attestation.

  • HRD Attestation:

    HRD Attestation is the certificate verification done by the Human Resource Department of the state. Education documents of all kinds are attested by the HRD.

    • Degree/PG Certificate
    • BE/B.Tech Certificate
    • Diploma Certificate
    • Nursing Certificate
    • SSC Certificate
    • HSC Certificate
    • Inter Certificate
    • MBBS Certificate
    • Pharmacy Certificate
  • SDM Attestation:

    SDM or Sub-Divisional Magistrate Attestation is an attestation done by the Sub - Sub-Divisional Magistrate. SDM attestation is done as an alternative to Home Department Attestation and HRD Attestation

  • Chamber of Commerce Attestation:

    Chamber of Commerce attestation is a process where the local Chamber of Commerce verifies and certifies certain documents or certificates. This is often required for international business transactions, especially for exporting goods to foreign countries. The Chamber of Commerce attestation is the process of receiving the authentication results from the government, and it is called the Chamber of Commerce. After the successful verification and authentication of all the documents, the customers are given a stamp over the documents so that other Institutions can use them for various purposes. .

    Stamping is done basically on the backside of the documents. Whenever you need to make any Overseas business transactions, you can use the authenticated documents already verified by the Chamber of Commerce award.

    When businesses need to trade with parties in another country, they require a Chamber of Commerce Attestation. This is to initiate business in foreign countries and provide assurance to foreign governments, customs officials, and other parties involved in international trade that the documents are genuine and accurate.

  • MEA Attestation:

    The MEA or Ministry of External Affairs of the central government manages foreign affairs. It offers MEA attestation as a sticker and MEA stamp as per the requirement. It is the final step of legalization when both the home country and destination country are members of the Hague Convention. Apostille services help you get MEA attestation in India.

How To Find the Best Apostille Services In India?

To find the best apostille services in India, a variety of factors need to be taken into consideration, such as reliability, speed, cost, and customer support.

  • Choose a company with a good reputation:

    You should go with a company that has been around for a long time. This will give you confidence that they have extensive industry knowledge. You can learn what other customers have thought about a company by checking online reviews and testimonials.

  • Price Transparency:

    Apostille services vary in cost and depend on the provider as well as the specific documents. It is important to get quotes upfront and to understand the pricing structure. Some providers charge a flat fee, while others may charge per document or include additional fees for pre-attestation services. Be sure to ask about any extra charges that may apply so you can budget accordingly.

  • Additional services:

    Make sure the agency you choose offers services that are tailored to your needs. A few of these things could be collecting documents, verifying them, and communicating with the MEA on your behalf. Some attestation and apostille agencies offer free pick-up and delivery all over India, such as PEC attestation and apostille Services.

  • Online options to consider:

    It is not possible to submit documents for apostille online through the MEA itself, but some agencies might provide electronic submissions and tracking for ease of use.

  • Don't forget:

    Make sure you don't solely rely on online sources of information. To better understand the services offered by the agencies you shortlist, give them a call and discuss your specific needs.

  • Where can I get apostille services?

    Apostille services available online can be accessed through the internet and other media. They higher accessibility compared to the offline ones and can be easy to inquire at. We at PEC are ranked among the best apostille services in India and provide quality services and excellent customer support. We also have 24*7 accessibility and are available online taking queries and supporting the customers in need. Our services are spread all across India including the following cities - Pune, Pimpri, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Delhi, Chandigarh, Gurugram, Kochi - Kerala, Lucknow, Bhopal, Panaji - Goa, Noida, Coimbatore, Vizag.

    How to get your Documents Attested?
    How to get your Documents Attested?

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What happens if there's an error in the original document or the Apostille application is rejected?

    It is possible to receive a rejection due to errors in the document or application. It is necessary for you to rectify the issue and resubmit. You may need to request a fresh document from the issuing authority depending on the severity of the error.

    Can I get an Apostille for a translated document instead of the original?

    Apostille is generally affixed to the original document. In some cases, countries may accept a translated copy of the original document alongside an Apostilled copy. Contact the embassy/consulate of the country you are receiving to confirm this requirement. If you prefer, you can contact a agency that provides apostille services.

    Can I get multiple documents Apostilled in one application?

    It depends on the authority that issued the document. In some instances, it is possible to submit multiple documents within the same application for a fee, whereas in others, each document must be submitted separately.

    Does an Apostille expire, and if so, does it require renewal for continued use?

    As a matter of fact, an Apostille doesn't expire. There may be an expiry date on the underlying document (e.g., a degree certificate). Expired documents need an Apostille.

    What if my educational certificate is from a university that no longer exists?

    This can be a complex situation. You might need to contact the relevant education department or university successor institution for guidance on obtaining a duplicate certificate or verification letter that can be Apostilled.

    What if I lose my Apostille document?

    Unfortunately, there is no direct way to replace a lost or damaged Apostille. So to avoid this you can trust us as a professional document legalization service provider in India. It may be necessary to re-apply for an Apostille on the original document (if it's available) or to get a replacement document from the issuing authority and resubmit the Apostille application.

    Can I get an Apostille for a document related to an ongoing legal case?

    Apostilles are typically for documents that are final and not under dispute. You may have trouble getting your Apostille processed if the document is connected to a legal case that is ongoing. It is important to seek legal advice before submitting the Apostille in order to understand how the proceedings might affect it.

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