Apostille: definition and list of countries concerned

23 March 2022 | Expatriation

What is an apostille?

In the context of an immigration procedure abroad, certain French documents must be authenticated:

  • Civil status documents (birth certificate, family record book, marriage, death or recognition)
  • Legal documents (K-bis, Judgments)
  • Administrative documents (diplomas, extract from the criminal record (bulletin n°3), certificate of nationality, medical certificate, etc.)
  • Notarial deeds

This process allows the authenticity of the signature, the identity and tasks of the signatory as well as the origin of the seal/stamp attached to the document to be certified. To do this, different procedures exist:

  • The legalization of documents (future link to a future article? or to anchor legalization site): it is a rather long procedure taking place in two steps. Click here to learn more.
  • Exemption from formalities: if the agreements concluded between France and the recipient country allow it.
  • Apostille of documents: simpler than a double-legalization procedure, it allows to authenticate a French document destined to one of the countries that signed the Hague Convention of October 5, 1961. In general, the apostille is a stamp affixed to a public document.


Some tips before having a document apostilled

Here are some tips to ensure the smooth running of the authentication process by apostille:

  • Only original diplomas can be apostilled, a duplicate is not valid. The loss of the original document can jeopardize a trip abroad! Before applying, you should take the time to look for the originals at your home or at your parents’.
  • When it is not a diploma, the document to be apostilled must be less than 3 months old. It is therefore important to make sure that you get a recent copy. A birth certificate issued in 1988 will be refused! It is however possible to request a copy on the public service website.
  • Because of the COVID-19 crisis (https://www.itama-mobility.com/covid-liste-pays-actualisee/), exchanges are only done by e-mail. The delays to get an apostille are therefore delayed. It is advisable to expect about 1 month between the date of application and the receipt of the apostilled documents.


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