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An apostille is a seal applied to a certified document to signify its legal authenticity for international use under the terms of the 1961 Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents.
It must be obtained from and notarized by the location in which the event took place and a record created. So if you were born in Sweden, married in California and divorced in Greece, you need to get a certified birth certificate and apostille from Sweden; a certified marriage certificate and apostille in California; and an official divorce decree and apostille from Greece. It does not matter where you live now.
If you are an American in Greece looking to get an apostille for your New York birth certificate, you must obtain your apostille from New York; apostilles are not available at the American Embassy or KEP. The only apostilles issued in Greece are apostilles for documents originating in Greece.
One apostille per document is required — it is unacceptable to secure one apostille for an entire lot, even if the birth certificates, divorce decree and death certificate are from the same location. So if you have two birth certificates, you need one apostille for each.
Under no circumstances should an apostille be detached from a document once it has been attached.
*Article last updated July 1, 2013
The relationship between church and state/government is one of the same in Greece. However, in most countries around the world they are separate. That means it may not be possible for local government authorities to apply an apostille to baptismal certificates and marriage certificates issued by a church.
Countries not part of the Hague Convention
Countries that are not part of the Hague Convention cannot get an apostille and must get in contact with the consulate or embassy serving the country in which the document originated. So if you have a birth certificate from Pakistan and you’re in Athens, go to the Embassy of Pakistan in Athens and request assistance from consular staff.
Canadian-issued documents for use in Greece must be certified by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs in Ottawa or by a Canadian consular official in Greece and by a government office or consulate of Greece.
All documents need to be certified by a clerk within five (5) years or a new document must be issued before requesting an apostille. Apostilles are obtained from the Secretary of State in the state it was executed. See the above example for clarification.
Most Secretary of State regional offices require that you or a family member appear in person to request an apostille, though some may accept requests by phone, fax, mail or online. Requirements vary and fees range from $2-35 per document, depending on the state and type of service, and must be paid with a check, money order or credit card (usually, no cash). Find a location at:
- The U.S. State Department’s list of state offices at “Apostilles/Document Authentication.” Select the relevant state from the drop-down menu.
- The Hague Conference’s list from Alabama to Wyoming — “Competent State Authentication Authorities.” Scroll down to Section ‘III.’
Please note that the Secretary of State regional office refers to the local state and representative, not the U.S. Department of State who is in the national/federal office.
An apostille may be obtained from a Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade state or territory office. See the Australian government website, “Authentications and Apostilles” for details and locations.
To obtain an apostille in Belgium or for a Belgian document, go to the ministry’s official page at “Légalisation de documents/Legalisation of documents,” choose the type of document and follow the instructions.
Authentication of documents is free in Canada but wait time can be up to 15 days. See, “Authentication of documents” at Canada’s Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development website.
Apostille Service Office, High Court Registry
LG115, High Court Building
(852) 2825 4226
See the Hong Kong Judiciary Court’s “Apostille Service.”
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Islandi väljak 1
Fax: +372 637 74 54
To apply for an apostille, see “Certification of a public document with an apostille” and “Apostille.”
See the ministry’s official page, “German public documents for use abroad.”
Apostilles for documents originating in Greece are issued at KEP Citizen Service Centres. Call ’1500′ or appear in person at any of their locations throughout the mainland and islands.
- Find a location at, “KEP Citizen Service Centres in Greece.”
For those abroad seeking apostilles for documents originating in Greece, inquire at the Greek consulate/embassy nearest your current residence.
- Find a location at, “Greek Missions Abroad.”
In the Netherlands
Staatscommissie voor het Internationaal Privaatrecht
2517 KT Den Haag
+31 70 363 3303
In New Zealand
Go to the ministry’s official page, “Apostille Certification.”
In South Africa
1234 Church Street
(012) 351 1268
See the Republic of South Africa’s “Legalisation/Authentication of Official Documents.”
Ministry of Justice
Division for Family and Business Law (L2)
103 33 Stockholm
+46 (8 ) 405 1000
See “Legalization of Documents” from the Government Offices of Sweden website.
In the UK
The Legalisation Office
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
Old Admiralty Bldg
London SW1A 2LG
See “Get a document legalised” at gov.uk.
In the interest of brevity and time — i.e., how long it would take me to compile and continually update this article — apostille instructions and links are not listed for all 190+ countries.
If your country is not included, please check with appropriate justice, registry or legalization authorities in your homeland.
Image shows an apostille from California. The apostille from another state or country will look different.