Singapore Accedes to the Apostille Convention
19 Jan 2021 Posted in Press releases
Update: The Apostille Convention entered into force for Singapore on 16 September 2021. Users requiring documents to be produced overseas in Contracting Parties to the Apostille Convention should approach the Singapore Academy of Law for the issuance of apostilles. Users requiring documents to be produced overseas in non-Contracting Parties to the Apostille Convention may also approach the Singapore Academy of Law and, thereafter, the relevant embassies to legalise the documents (if required).
- Singapore on 18 January deposited its instrument of accession to the Hague Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents (“Apostille Convention”), making us a Contracting Party to the Apostille Convention. The accession will facilitate the cross-border use of public documents1, saving time and costs for users through the use of a simplified one-step process.
- With the deposit of the instrument yesterday at 11am CET (6pm Singapore time) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands in the Hague, the Apostille Convention will enter into force in September 2021 for Singapore. Singapore will implement the obligations under the Apostille Convention through the Apostille Act 2020, which was passed in Parliament in November last year.
- When the Apostille Convention is in force for Singapore, other Contracting Parties are obliged to waive the legalisation requirement for public documents issued by Singapore authorities and must accept apostilles issued by Singapore’s designated Competent Authority. Likewise, the Singapore authorities will be obliged to accept apostilles in place of legalisation for incoming foreign public documents from these Contracting Parties, where applicable.
- The Singapore Academy of Law will be designated as Singapore’s Competent Authority under the Apostille Convention.
- Many States require that foreign public documents be “legalised” before they are recognised and accepted in those States. Legalisation typically involves a multi-stage process whereby the signature, seal or stamp on a local public document is certified as authentic by a series of public officials along a “chain”, to a point where the ultimate authentication is readily recognised by the foreign State of destination.
- The Apostille Convention abolishes the requirement of legalisation. Instead, each Contracting Party designates a Competent Authority, responsible for issuing certificates that certify the origin of official documents produced by the Contracting Party. These certificates are known as apostilles. All Contracting Parties are obliged to accept apostilles as sufficient to verify the origin of the underlying document. This replaces the cumbersome and often costly formalities related to the legalisation process with the “one-step process” of the issuance of an apostille.
- Further details on the implementation of the apostille regime in Singapore will be announced in due course.
MINISTRY OF LAW
19 JANUARY 2021
1. Examples of public documents include marriage certificates, educational certificates, birth and death certificates, passports and identity cards.↩
Last updated on 22 Jan 2021