What is an Apostille?

Apostille is the documentary device by which a government department authenticates a document as genuine, thereby legalising it for use in another member country under the terms laid out in The Hague Convention of 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.

What is The Hague Convention?

This is an intergovernmental convention which set about establishing a simplified system to allow documentation originating in one member country to be easily recognized as authentic in another member country. The norms were established at The Hague Convention of 6 October 1961.

An Apostille consists of the following:

  • Name of the country from which the document emanates
  • Name of person signing the document
  • The capacity in which the person signing the document has acted
  • In the case of unsigned documents, the name of the authority which has affixed the seal of stamp
  • Place of certification
  • Date of certification
  • The authority issuing the certificate
  • The number of the certificate
  • Seal or stamp of the authority issuing the certificate
  • Signature of authority issuing certificate

Its simplicity and lack of ambiguity has made the Apostille a favoured form of validation of documents worldwide, even in countries that are not actually signatories of The Hague Convention.

Why do I need an Apostille?

Authorities in Greece need proof that Australian documents or the signatures of Australian officials on documents are genuine before they will accept them.

Which stamp do I need? An Authentication or an Apostille?

That depends on the country you are dealing with.

As a general rule, countries that are party to the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents (Greece is party to this Convention) require an Apostille on documents which qualify as Australian public documents.

Documents going to countries that are not party to the Hague Convention generally require an Authentication. These countries include China, Vietnam, most Middle Eastern countries and many others.

On what documents do I get an Apostille?

Any official Government document with an original signature/stamp or seal on it can be Apostilled (e.g. Certificates issued by Births, Deaths & Marriages, Certificates issued by the Australian Courts, such as Divorce Certificates, Certificates issued by the Australian Taxation Office etc.).

All tertiary education documents issued by a recognised Australian Tertiary Institution (Universities etc.) must be notarised or verified by the Student Administration area of the issuing institution. Please note that some universities will not verify their documents with an original signature, in which case the document must be notarised by a Notary Public first before it goes for the Apostille.

Where can I get the Apostille?

In Australia, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade issues the Apostille.

For Queensland residents:- Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Level 17, 150 Charlotte Street

You will require an appointment. Please call 1300 935 260

For the location of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in other States of Australia, please see www.dfat.gov.au