Philippines Enters The Hague Apostille Convention

On 14th May 2019, the Philippines will become an effective member state of the Apostille Agreement, part of the Hague Convention. This will mean that for many people wishing to legalise documents for use in the Philippines, the current process of seals and red ribbons applied by the Embassies worldwide will be a thing of the past. How will this affect those wishing to relocate or conduct business within the country?

The Philippines have been contracted to sections of the Hague Convention, which consists of a whole range of agreements, for a long time. This latest addition however will make it much less expensive and time consuming for those presenting foreign documents for visa and legal purposes in-country. This should make things more streamlined and efficient for the public and businesses alike.

The accession of the Philippines to the Convention was made on 15th September 2018. This coincided with the celebration of the 125th anniversary of the HCCH, the Hague Authority, which was founded in 1893 for the promotion of private international law.

What’s the difference between the old and new procedures?

Dependent on the issuing country and document type, simply obtaining an Apostille should be sufficient, provided that the origin country is also subscribed to the Apostille agreement. Previously, after the Apostille stage, a consular stamp with an official seal and ribbon would have been required from the Philippine Embassy in which the document was issued. Only then could the document be considered fully legalised.

Who issues the Apostilles?

The government department in each country which deals with Apostilles will vary in name, but it is usually the foreign office. In some countries such as the UK, only one government office can issue Apostilles, whereas in other member states such as France, local courts are authorised to apply these.

In the UK, it is the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) which issues all Apostilles and in the Philippines, The DFA Office of Consular Affairs.

What if the document was issued in a country outside of the Apostille Agreement?

If the document you wish to use within the Philippines was not issued in a country which is a member of the Apostille Agreement, the process of consularisation is still required.

For instance, if you held a UK birth certificate, obtaining a UK Apostille from the FCO would fully legalise this for use within the Philippines. However, if you held a birth certificate from Saudi Arabia, you will need to have this legalised fully including a seal and red ribbon at the Saudi-based Philippine Embassy, as Saudi Arabia is not part of the Hague Convention.

Get started

Whatever your circumstances, we will be able to assist you. If your document will require a full consular process, whether you are presenting it before 14th May or it was issued outside of the Hague Convention, we can help. Get in touch with our friendly team of specialists today via our live chat system, give us a call on +44 (0) 330 088 1142, or send us a text message through WhatsApp.

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Melanie Clarke
Melanie is a Digital Marketer and TEFL Specialist at Vital Consular. Before taking up a Marketing role, she spent 3 years building up a rich knowledge of global legalisation processes on the operations team. When she's not working, Melanie enjoys attending music events and pursuing many creative interests including screen printing and merchandise design.
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