China Officially Implements Apostille Convention on November 7, 2023

China formally implemented the Apostille Convention on November 7, 2023, marking a significant step in simplifying document authentication processes. The convention, adopted by the Hague Conference on Private International Law in 1961, eliminates the need for multiple rounds of authentication for foreign documents used in China. China's accession to the convention is expected to save time and costs for businesses and individuals.


In March 2022, China officially joined the Convention, streamlining the authentication of foreign public documents. The Apostille Convention, ratified by over 120 countries worldwide, facilitates the legal use of public documents in member countries. A document issued in one member country can be certified for use in another by obtaining an "apostille" certificate, simplifying the authentication process.


The Apostille certifies the signature's authenticity, the signer's capacity, and, if applicable, the attached seal or stamp. This eliminates the need for further certification by consular officials, reducing time and costs for legal use of foreign documents.


With China's accession, documents entering or leaving the country generally no longer require additional legalization, needing only an Apostille Certificate from the document's country of origin. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE) will manage and issue apostille certificates for Chinese public documents used abroad.


This move is expected to bring two significant benefits: reducing time and economic costs for cross-border document circulation and optimizing the business environment. For both foreigners and Chinese citizens, it means faster applications for various documents required for administrative tasks.


The Apostille Convention's implementation is projected to reduce document preparation time for international use from around 20 working days to just a few days. It is estimated to save over CNY 300 million (approximately USD 43.6 million) in processing fees annually and reduce average document transfer time between contracting states by around 90%.


From a business perspective, this change benefits companies engaged in frequent cross-border operations. HR departments will experience smoother procedures for visas and work permits. Business license or company registration in China will be easier for foreign companies, with required documents only needing to be apostilled.


Despite these positive developments, authorities handling foreign investments in China may not immediately accept apostilled documents. Legal professionals recommend consulting relevant agencies about potential delays and whether documents still require consular legalization.


In conclusion, China's adoption of the Apostille Convention aligns with its broader goal of improving business efficiency and reducing bureaucratic hurdles. The ongoing fangguanfu campaign further underscores the government's commitment to decentralizing decision-making, minimizing administrative complexities, and enhancing the overall business environment.

What's New

You may be interested