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Apostille

Documents issued in one country which need to be used in another country must be "authenticated" or "legalized" before they can be recognized as valid in the foreign country. This is a process in which various seals are placed on the document. Such documents range from powers of attorney, affidavits, birth, death and marriages records, incorporation papers, deeds, patent applications, home studies and other legal papers. The number and type of authentication certificates you will need to obtain depend on the nature of the document and whether or not the foreign country is a party to the multilateral treaty on "legalization" of documents. If your document is intended for use in a country which is a party to a treaty called the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents ("Hague Legalization Convention") (countries listed below), obtaining a special "apostille" certificate is generally all that is required.



Identification issue is a core issue when comes to Swiss banks with new foreign customers. Certain documents like, copy of your passport, mark sheets, transcripts, birth/marriage certificates may be demanded in many countries. Just a simple notarization is not enough, you might be asked to get your documents apostilled. This is known as 'Superlegalization' or 'Legalization of documents for overseas use'. Normally the validation of documents, for using in one country to another, used to be a tedious job involving a chain of paper work. To bypass this, you have to do is just get your documents apostilled. Once this is done, your document (say travel document) is recognized worldwide. Not all countries can issue apostille, only the countries of Hague Convention can issue apostille. Switzerland is a signatory of Hague Convention. Other signatory of Hague are USA, UK, France ...

For Example, an US resident wants to open a bank account in Switzerland. For customer identification, the Swiss banks will demand a notarized copy of passport with apostille. Since USA is also a signatory of Hague protocol, the Swiss authorities will ONLY accept apostilled documents, for proof of identity and no other form of authentication is acceptable. If you are from Hague member country and send the bank just notarized copy of your passport, your documents will be returned to you back saying 'unacceptable'.

Should your country be a non-member of Hague protocol, then either you have to get your documents authenticated from a Swiss consulate in your country or a notary from a court. In the United States, apostilles are issued by the Department of State for federal documents, by the clerks of each of the U.S. district courts and courts of appeal for federal judicial documents, and by the secretaries of state of each of the U.S. states and territories for documents of state origin. Apostilles are commonly issued for various documents related to adoption cases, for commercial documents, for official documents related to vital statistics, and for court records, land records, school documents, and patent applications.

Members of Hague Protocol

Albania
Argentina
Australia
Austria
Belarus
Belgium
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Brazil
Bulgaria
Canada
Chile
China
Croatia
Cyprus
Czech
Denmark
Egypt
Estonia
Finland
FYR of Macedonia
France
Georgia
Germany
Greece
Hungary
Iceland
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Japan
Jordan
Republic of Korea
Latvia
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Malaysia
Malta
Mexico
Monaco
Morocco
Netherlands
New Zealand
Norway
Panama
Peru
Poland
Portugal
Romania Russian Federation
Serbia and Montenegro
Slovakia
Slovenia
South Africa
Spain
Sri Lanka
Suriname
Sweden
Switzerland
Turkey
Ukraine
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
United States of America
Uruguay
Venezuela

Source: Hague Convention Member Countries



If you find your country listed in any one of the above links, then you have to get your documents legalized (apostille).

Most Frequently Asked Questions about apostille

http://apostilleofdocuments.com/
http://apostillacertificado.com/

http://www.hcch.net/

Apostille birth certificates

Apostille

Apostille stamp
Hague Convention on Apostille Notary public Apostille Apostille certification

 


http://travel.state.gov/


 

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