The 1961 Apostille Convention Enters into Force in P.R. China

In a significant step towards enhancing international cooperation and streamlining legal processes, the People’s Republic of China officially became a party to the Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents, commonly known as the 1961 Apostille Convention. The convention came into force for China on 7 November 2023, marking a milestone in the nation’s commitment to facilitating cross-border transactions and improving diplomatic relations.

The 1961 Apostille Convention, established by the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH), is an international treaty that simplifies the process of authenticating foreign public documents. Before its implementation, individuals and entities engaging in international activities faced the cumbersome task of legalizing documents through a series of steps, often involving multiple authorities. The convention streamlines this process by introducing a standardized certificate, known as an apostille, which authenticates documents for use in countries that are parties to the convention.

China has been a Member of the HCCH since 1987 and its accession to the 1961 Apostille Convention was formalized on 8 March 2023, as the nation deposited its instrument of accession during the annual meeting of the Council on General Affairs and Policy. Prior to the nationwide implementation, the 1961 Apostille Convention was already in force in the Hong Kong and Macao Special Administrative Regions of China. This regional adoption showcased the practical benefits of the convention, leading to its broader application across the entire nation.

As the convention comes into force for the People’s Republic of China, the nation joins a growing community of countries dedicated to simplifying international legal processes. This development not only streamlines administrative procedures but also strengthens China’s commitment to international cooperation and the facilitation of global trade and diplomatic relations.