This is the documentary device by which a government department, usually the State Department, Justice Ministry or Foreign Ministry, authenticates a document as genuine, thereby legalizing it for use in another member country under the terms laid out in 1961.
Once a document has been Apostilled, thereby providing official government authentication of the signatures and stamps appearing on it, it is automatically deemed legalised for use in another member country.
An Apostille consists of the following:
(1) name of country from which the document emanates;
(2) name of person signing the document;
(3) the capacity in which the person signing the document has acted;
(4) in the case of unsigned documents, the name of the authority which has affixed the seal or stamp;
(5) place of certification;
(6) date of certification;
(7) the authority issuing the certificate;
(8) number of certificate;
(9) seal or stamp of authority issuing certificate;
(10) signature of authority issuing certificate.
The simplicity and lack of ambiguity has led to the Apostille becoming a favoured form of validation of documents worldwide, even in countries that are not actually signatories to The Hague Conference.