What is the Apostille Convention?


The Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents, the Apostille Convention, or the Apostille Treaty, is an international treaty drafted by the Hague Conference on Private International Law. It specifies the modalities through which a document issued in one of the signatory countries can be certified for legal purposes in all the other signatory states. A certification under the terms of the convention is called an apostille (from Latin post illa and then French: a marginal note) or Hague Apostille1


When did the Philippines become a member of the Apostille Convention?


The Department of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines through the Philippine Embassy in the Netherlands deposited the instrument of accession to the Apostille Convention in ceremonies at the headquarters of the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) in The Hague, on 12 September 2018.


Ambassador to The Hague Jaime Victor Ledda handed the instrument of accession to Coos ‘t Hoen, Head of the Treaties Division, Legal Affairs Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, which acts as the treaty depository of the Apostille Convention.


The accession of the Philippines to the Convention coincided with the celebration of the 125th anniversary of the HCCH, which was founded in 1893 for the promotion of private international law.


The accession ceremony was highlighted by the presence of Philippine Supreme Court Associate Justices Marvic Mario Victor F. Leonen, Alexander G. Gesmundo and Noel G. Tijam.


Also present were Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary for Legal Affairs J Eduardo Malaya III and Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs Neil Frank R. Ferrer.


The DFA Office of Consular Affairs will be the competent authority responsible for the implementation of the Apostille Convention. The Supreme Court plays an important role since the accession would require the amendment of certain provisions of the Rules of Court pertaining to the use of foreign public documents.2


When will the Apostille Convention take effect in the Philippines?


The Apostille Convention will enter into force between the Philippines and other States Parties which have raised no objection to its accession on 14 May 2019.


What countries are members of the Hague Apostille Convention?


Albania Greece Oman
Andorra Grenada Panama
Antigua and Barbuda Guatemala Paraguay
Argentina Honduras Peru
Armenia Hong Kong Poland
Australia Hungary Portugal
Austria Iceland Romania
Azerbaijan India Russia
Bahamas Ireland Saint Kitts and Nevis
Bahrain Israel Saint Lucia
Barbados Italy Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Belarus Japan Samoa
Belgium Kosovo San Marino
Belize Kazakhstan Sao Tome and Principe
Bolivia Kyrgyzstan Serbia
Bosnia and Herzegovina Latvia Seychelles
Botswana Lesotho Slovakia
Brazil Liberia Slovenia
Brunei Liechtenstein South Africa
Bulgaria Lithuania South Korea
Burundi Luxembourg Spain
Cape Verde Macau Suriname
Chile Macedonia Swaziland
Colombia Malawi Sweden
Cook Islands Malta Switzerland
Costa Rica Marshall Islands Tajikistan
Croatia Mauritius Tonga
Cyprus Mexico Trinidad and Tobago
Czech Republic Moldova Tunisia
Denmark Monaco Turkey
Dominica Mongolia Ukraine
Dominican Republic Montenegro United Kingdom
Ecuador Morocco United States
El Salvador Namibia Uruguay
Estonia Netherlands Uzbekistan
Fiji New Zealand Vanuatu
Finland Nicaragua Venezuela
France Niue Philippines*
Georgia Norway  

 *Just recently, the Republic of the Philippines became a member.

This list was updated September 12, 2018.


Which Countries are not members of the Apostille Convention?


Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burma Myanmar, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Congo Republic, Congo Democratic, Ivory Coast, Cuba, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Haiti, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Laos, Lebanon, Libya, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar Burma, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Taiwan, Tanzania, Togo, Thailand, Turkmenistan, UAE (United Arab Emirates), Uganda, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe


What is the effect of the membership of the Philippines in the Apostille Convention?


The effect of the membership of the Philippines in the Apostille Convention is that documents executed and used between member states do not need the tedious requirement of having the document consularized or certified with a red ribbon through the Department of Foreign Affairs. Instead of going through the consularization of the documents, there will only be an Apostille attached to the document.


What is an Apostille?


The apostille itself is a stamp or printed form consisting of 10 numbered standard fields. On the top is the text APOSTILLE, under which the text Convention de La Haye du 5 octobre 1961 (French for “Hague Convention of 5 October 1961“) is placed. This title must be written in French for the Apostille to be valid (article 4 of the Convention). In the numbered fields, the following information is added (may be in official language of the authority which issues it or in a second language), to wit:




(Convention de La Haye du 5 octobre 1961)


1. Country … [e.g. Philippines]
This public document

2. has been signed by [e.g. Juan Dela Cruz]

3. acting in the capacity of [e.g. Notary Public]

4. bears the seal/stamp of [e.g. Supreme Court of the Philippines/ Notary Public]


5. at [e.g. Philippines]

6. the … [e.g. 14 May 2019] 7. by … [e.g. the Executive Judge]

8. No … [e.g. 1324545363455]

9. Seal/stamp … [of the authority giving the apostille]

10. Signature"


The apostille can be placed on the document itself, on the back of the document, or attached to the document as an allonge or an additional piece of paper attached to the original document.


The template for the apostille is standard for all countries. However, in the Philippines, the Supreme Court has yet to issue guidelines for its implementation as well as persons who are authorized to give apostilles (This requires amendment to the Rules of Court). 


What if the country where the document originated or is to be used is not a member of the Apostille Convention?


If the country is not a member of the Apostille Convention, the requirement of consularization or affixing of a red ribbon is still required.




1Permanent Bureau (February 2009). "Conclusions and Recommendations of the Special Commission on the Practical Operation of the Hague Apostille, Service, Taking of Evidence, and Access to Justice Conventions" (PDF). Hague Conference on Private International Law. p. 13.


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