The Chinese government announced that public documents within the scope of the Apostille Convention now only need to apply for an apostille before they are sent to China for further legal use.


  • China officially acceded to the 1961 Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents (also known as the Apostille Convention) earlier this year. Under the convention, a public document that has been issued in one member country can be certified for legal use in any other member country by obtaining an “apostille” certificate from a designated authority in the issuing country.
  • Currently, to use foreign documents in China for administrative purposes, they need to be notarized and authenticated by local parties and then require further authentication by a Chinese embassy or consulate in the country where the documents are issued.
  • The new process will eliminate the need for further certification or legalization by Chinese consular or embassy officials, simplifying the process and saving time and cost.

BAL Analysis: China’s accession to the Apostille Convention is part of the government’s effort to improve ease of conducting business in the country. The notice confirms that “the completion of the apostille does not guarantee the acceptance of the public document by the relevant user in China.” As such, it is still recommended that foreign nationals check in advance with Chinese consular or embassy officials when going through the proper apostille procedure.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice Group.

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