An Apostille is used to prove the authenticity of a document, it is a type of legalisation procedure, sort of like a stamp of authenticity. They are usually required by foreign authorities, but if your original document is from a European State, you do not need to have your document apostilled. Most countries outside the European Union, for example: the United States, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, India, Australia, and many more (too many to list here), require Apostilles for official documents issued by a public official or body.
(For a more detailed list, see the website: netherlandsworldwide.nl)
These so called Apostilles only authenticate the signatures and seals of officials on public documents, they do not authenticate the content of a document. This certification therefore allows the document to be recognised in countries that are signatories of the 1961 Hague Convention Treaty. If the destined country’s language differs from the language of the document, you will need to get said document and Apostille translated by a certified translator. Apostilles were introduced to facilitate administrative procedures in foreign countries, having an apostilled document means that there is no need for legalisation of the document in the country of its intended use, as long as the country is a signatory of the 1961 Hague Convention Treaty.
Next question… How do you get an Apostille?
Some of the main administrative documents that would require an apostille and certified translation are as follows: articles of incorporation, certificates of good standing and bylaws, adoption paperwork (letters of reference, birth certificates, marriage certificates) and foreign study or education documents (diplomas, academic transcripts, references, certificates of enrolment etc.), these are among the most common but there is such an abundance of other official and administrative documents which require the same.
All foreign administrative or governmental bodies will require this measure in order for the document to be admissible, be sure to check the administrative procedures and to assess your Apostille and translation requirements beforehand in order to avoid any disappointment later on, this ensures that you will not be misinformed on the necessary procedures. For any official administrative procedures on Apostilles and certified translations always check the official government website of the intended country.
You could always check in with your city hall or government body, if you need a translation, you could even discuss your options with the translation agency of your choice, they may be able to point you in the right direction and assist you in terms of your translation and Apostille needs.