Structure and Registration Procedures of Offshore Companies

What is an Apostille?

Apostille certification is a formal name for a bureaucratic procedure, by which official documents issued in one country are certified in a uniform way, so that they become formally acceptable in a different country. This procedure was established by the 1961 Hague Convention. Almost all countries of the world are part to this Convention as of today.

During the Apostille process, the signature of the officer, who has certified the document locally (usually, the Notary or the chief Registrar of the Companies Registry) is authenticated by a second-level certification. A specific stamp or sticker, called "Apostille", is attached to the document, on top of the Notarial text. Contrary to a popular view, the Apostille does not confirm the actual contents of the document. Apostille merely certifies that the first-level certifier - the Notary or the government officer - is been real, and has the appropriate rights and powers to make the underlying certification in the first instance. In essence, Apostille is the confirmation of the powers of the Notary or government official to do what they normally do.

Apostille is usually issued by a designated government department, like the Foreign Office, or by the Supreme Court of the country.