​Good News for Anyone Dealing with Cross-Border Paperwork!

By Billy Jiang, October 23, 2023

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Good news for anyone dealing with cross-border paperwork! 

China has officially joined the Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents, commonly known as the Hague Convention. 

This means simplification and streamlining of procedures when dealing with international paperwork.

The Big Date: Mark your calendar – on November 7, 2023, the Convention will come into force in China, ushering in a more efficient era of document handling.


Announcement made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China on March 9, 2023. Screenshot by That's

The Hague Convention is a monumental international treaty within the framework of the Hague Conference on Private International Law. 

Its purpose is to simplify the process of transferring public documents across borders, making it much more convenient and efficient.

Benefits & Changes

Reduced Time & Cost

Transferring documents internationally can be a tedious and expensive process. 

However, after becoming a part of the Hague Convention, the time needed to process documents for overseas use may be slashed from about 20 working days to just a few, and the cost can be significantly reduced. 

It's a win-win for both individuals and businesses.

Improved Business Environment

This is a game-changer for businesses. Foreign companies aiming to invest in or export to China will no longer need to obtain consular certification for their commercial documents. This simplifies and speeds up the process, making international business dealings more attractive.

The Convention in Action

No More Consular Authentication

Thanks to the Convention, member states are no longer required to perform diplomatic or consular authentication on specific documents.

Additional Certificates

To verify the signature, identity of the signatory, and the seal on a document, you'll only need an additional certificate from the issuing country. 

Unless the laws of the receiving country or bilateral agreements have simplified or canceled these procedures, an additional certificate called the Hague Certification (APOSTILLE Certification) does the trick. 

It's uniformly issued by relevant government agencies of member countries to confirm the original certification issuer.

What Documents Are Affected?

These changes affect a wide range of documents, including personal ones like birth certificates, marriage certificates, academic records, and more, as well as business-related documents such as registration certificates, agreements, contracts, and more.

China's Role

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China is the authority for the Hague Certification and will issue this certificate for documents originating in the Chinese mainland.

Additionally, some provincial, autonomous region, and directly-administered municipality foreign affairs offices, as well as certain municipal-level foreign affairs offices, can also issue this certificate.

The precise procedures and requirements for obtaining this certification can be found on the Chinese Consular Service Website and various regional foreign affairs office websites.

Easier Verification

These certificates will be issued as stickers, complete with the silver national emblem stamp.

Certificates issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and relevant local foreign affairs offices can be verified online, although it's important to note that the online verification system is still under construction as of the time of this article's publication, with an expected launch date of November 7, 2023.

For Foreign Residents

If you're residing outside the Chinese mainland, keep an eye on the official website of the Chinese Embassy or Consulate in your host country to access relevant information.

Are you planning to take advantage of these changes? Share your thoughts and experiences. For more insights on China's evolving landscape, stay tuned to our WeChat official account, ThatsGBA.

[Cover image via Pixabay]

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