What is The Hague and The Apostille de La Haye?

By Paul Sponaugle Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Self-proclaimed as “The World Organization for Cross-border Cooperation in Civil and Commercial Matters,” the Hague Conference on Private International Law has been a major influence on the international legal community since its inception in 1893. Its name comes from the city in the Netherlands where it is convened, La Haye or anglicized, The Hague. With nearly 70 member states (including Regional Economic Organizations), this global body works to unify differences in personal, family and commercial laws between legal systems in more than one country. Meeting in principle every four years, The Hague Convention became a permanent inter-governmental organization in 1955 and has adopted 38 international Conventions over the years, one of the most notable being the elimination of a process called legalization. More commonly known as an Apostille de la Hague, the Convention abolishing the requirement of legalization for foreign public documents was adopted by the Hague Convention on October 5, 1961.

The purpose of the Apostille de la Hague Convention is to aid the flow or distribution of public documents executed in one nation party to the Convention for use in another party nation. It replaces what is known as “legalization”, the often expensive and burdensome process of chain certification between nations. What this means for international incorporations and LLC businesses is that with the issuance of an Apostille (or also called Certificate of Apostille) your publicly filed formation documents are ready for legal use in member countries and have proven useful in parts of the world that do not require the process of legalizing foreign public documents in their domestic law. By facilitating the legalization process, an Apostille can make opening an international bank account or obtaining required licensing in member nations a much smoother and simpler process.

If you need a Certificate of Apostille for your Delaware company or if you’re wondering if you need one for doing business in a particular part of the world, you can find out and see a full list of the Hague member nations.

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