On March 8, 2023, China took a significant step in simplifying international document authentication by officially joining the Apostille Convention. This convention, also known as the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents, replaces the lengthy document legalization process with a straightforward Apostille certificate. This decision by China extends the Convention's influence to encompass a total of 124 contracting parties, greatly enhancing the efficiency of cross-border document verification and international trade.
China's commitment to promoting global trade and simplifying the use of public documents overseas can be seen by its acceptance of the Apostille Convention. The Convention became operative in China on November 7, 2023, and it will also be applicable in Hong Kong and Macao. As the competent authority, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in mainland China is tasked with certifying papers' authenticity and international recognition through the issuance of apostilles.
It's worth noting that the Convention will not be in effect between the People's Republic of China and those Contracting States that China does not recognize as sovereign states. This exception underscores the nuanced nature of international agreements and their relevance in diplomatic and geopolitical contexts.
With China’s accession, the legalization requirements for public documents published by Chinese officials will be removed for the Contracting Parties that have not objected, and Apostilles issued by China's approved Competent Authority will be readily accepted by them. In exchange, apostilles for foreign public documents issued by Competent Authorities from other Contracting Parties must be accepted by Chinese authorities. The process of document verification is made simpler by this reciprocal recognition of apostilles, which is advantageous for people, companies, and organizations who conduct business with China internationally.
An apostille is an internationally recognized certificate that verifies the authenticity of a public document. It is a simplified form of legalization that is used to authenticate documents for use in foreign countries.
The Apostille Convention, officially known as the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents, was established in 1961 to eliminate the need for the time-consuming and expensive process of legalizing documents for international use. Under the Convention, public documents issued in one signatory country are recognized as valid in another signatory country if they are accompanied by an apostille. This means that documents such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, diplomas, and court orders can be used in foreign countries without the need for further legalization.
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