On March 8, 2023, China acceded to the “Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents” (hereinafter referred to as the “Convention”). The Convention will come into effect in China on November 7, 2023.
Integra Group has previously provided a detailed introduction to the content of the Convention and the positive impacts following its accession in an article. You can read it here: China Joins the Apostille Convention: Boosting Collaboration
Starting from November 7, public documents from China intended for use in other contracting states will only require the Apostille, as stipulated by the Convention, eliminating the need for consular legalization by both the Chinese diplomatic or consular missions and those of the receiving state in China. Similarly, public documents from other contracting states intended for use in China will only require an Apostille from the issuing state, without the need for consular legalization by both the diplomatic or consular missions of the issuing state and China in the respective country.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) of China is the authority designated by the Convention to issue Apostilles and is responsible for issuing Apostilles for public documents originating within the country. The Foreign Affairs Offices (FAOs) of provinces, autonomous regions, and municipal governments, as well as some city-level FAOs, are authorized to issue Apostilles for documents originating within their respective administrative areas.
List of Local Foreign Affairs Offices Issuing Apostilles （as of 23th Oct 2023）
Provincial Foreign Affairs Offices (25)
Anhui, Chongqing, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Henan, Heilongjiang, Hubei, Hunan, Hainan, Jilin, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Liaoning, Sichuan, Shandong, Shanghai, Shaanxi, Yunnan, Zhejiang, Gansu, Hebei, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia
Municipal Foreign Affairs Offices (6):
Changchun, Harbin, Ningbo, Jinan, Qingdao, Shenzhen
The Chinese Apostille will be in the form of a sticker, affixed with a silver national emblem seal. Apostilles issued by the MOFA and respective local foreign affairs offices support online verification, which can be accessed at http://cs.mfa.gov.cn/.
For a complete list of countries and territories that are party to the Convention, please check it here.
Please be aware that documents originating from mainland China intended for use in either Hong Kong SAR or Macao SAR, and vice versa, are exempt from requiring an apostille. The legalization process for documents exchanged between them will persist in adhering to existing protocols, such as attestation by an attesting officer appointed by China.
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