Working abroad follows numerous steps and processes to ensure that as an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) you are protected even outside the boundaries of the Philippines – one of which is obtaining an Apostille.

Just recently, the Department of Foreign Affairs released updates regarding Apostille. Last 14th of May 2019, the Philippines officially became a party to the Apostille Convention, thus replacing Authentication Certification (also known as Red Ribbon) with Apostille as proof of authenticity of your documents while you are working abroad. This will not only make certification easier, but this helps in further strengthening relationship with other countries part of the Apostille Convention.

apostille_philippines_ultimate_guide

Whether you have been an OFW for quite some time or this will be your first time working abroad, here are some helpful tips and step by step guide on how to acquire Apostille documents.

What is an Apostille?

An apostille is given to an applicant to authenticate the origin of a public document (e.g. Philippine Documents going to South Korea). This certificate is issued by a country that is part of the Apostille Convention. An apostille is attached to the original documents to signify its legitimacy and authenticity. This certification has the intention to provide a simple process of verifying documents of the countries part of the convention.

Department of Foreign Affairs Apostille
Convention de La Haye du 5 octobre 1961. Apostille Example Page.
Apostille Attestation is demonstrated as authenticating of documents when it is required in another country which is part of the Apostille Hague Convention. This is usually performed specifically for the purposes of obtaining a student visa, work visa, resident visa or business trip in an Apostillized country.

What are the types of Apostilles?

There are various types of Apostilles with specific purposes:

  1. If the documents are classified as personal or commercial purposes, in the United States of America, they are being submitted to the Secretary of the State. Examples of these documents are as follows:
    • Diplomas
    • Transcripts
    • Power of Attorney
    • Commercial Agreements
    • Birth Certificate
    • Marriage Certificate
  2. The USA also provides Apostillized documents issued by their Federal Agencies. Examples of these are as follows:
    • FBI Background Checks;
    • IRS Documents
    • INS Documents
    • Certificates to Foreign Documents
    • Naturalization Certificates

Why do you need an Apostille?

There are various reasons as to why it is significant that you have your documents Apostillized before going another country.

  • Apostillized documents are needed in opening a bank account such as in the USA.
  • If you are planning to have a business in a foreign country that is also part of the Convention, you’ll be required to submit apostillized documents.

While apostillized documents aren’t just the important matters that you should take in consideration while you are applying to go to a foreign country, having it with you will save you time and effort when presenting valid documents abroad.

2 KEY Benefits of Apostille for Filipinos

Here are some of the advantages of acquiring apostolized Philippine documents:

  1. An applicant will no longer need to pass through another stage of authentication of legalization by the foreign embassies in the Philippines except for the following countries; Austria, Finland, Germany, Greece and other non-Apostille countries;
  2. An applicant will have a hassle-free application since there’ll be less steps in acquiring the apostillized document.

How can an Apostille affect an OFW?

For non-Apostille countries, Austria, Finland, Germany and Greece, there will be no changes on the authentication process. On the other hand, Philippine documents will no longer need to go through another process of authentication by the foreign embassies in Manila after it has been Apostillized by the DFA-OCA other DFA branches providing the service.

Which countries are part of the Apostille Convention?

countries_and_territories_where_philippine_apostille_is_accepted
countries and territories where philippine apostille is accepted.

Due note that Apostille only applies if both countries are part of the convention. To know the list of countries part of the Apostille Convention, you may visit this website: www.hcch.net

1. Albania 51. Kazakhstan
2. Andorra 52. Kosovo
3. Antigua and Barbuda 53. Mauritius
4. Argentina 54. Mexico
5.   Armenia 55. Moldova
6. Australia 56. Monaco
7. Azerbaijan 57. Mongolia
8. Bahamas 58. Montenegro
9. Bahrain 59. Morocco
10. Barbados 60. Namibia
11. Belarus 61. Netherlands
12. Belgium 62. New Zealand
13. Belize 63. Nicaragua
14. Bolivia 64. Niue
15. Bosnia and Herzegovina 65. Norway
16. Botswana 66. Oman
17. Brazil 67. Panama
18. Brunei 68. Paraguay
19. Bulgaria 69. Peru
20. Burundi 70. Poland
21. Cabo Verde 71. Portugal
22. Chile 72. Romania
23. Colombia 73. Russia
24. Cook Islands 74. Saint Kitts and Nevis
25. Costa Rica 75. Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent the Grenadines
26. Croatia 76. Samoa
27. Cyprus 77. San Marino
28. Czech Republic 78. Sao Tome and Principe
29. Denmark 79. Serbia
30. Dominica 80. Seychelles
31. Dominican Republic 81. Slovakia
32. Ecuador 82. Slovenia
33. El Salvador 83. South Africa
34. Estonia 84. South Korea
35. Eswatini 85. Span
36. Fiji 86. Suriname
37. France 87. Sweden
38. Georgia 88. Switzerland
39. Grenada 89. Tajikistan
40. Guatemala 90. Tonga
41. Guyana 91. Trinidad & Tobago
42. Honduras 92. Tunisia
43. Hong Kong SAR 93. Turkey
44. Hungary 94. Ukraine
45. Iceland 95. United Kingdom
46. India 96. USA
47. Ireland 97. Uruguay
48. Israel 98. Uzbekistan
49. Italy 99. Vanuatu
50. Japan 100. Venezuela

What if the country is not an Apostille country?

If the country you are working in is not an Apostille one, you may contact the Embassy or Consulate of this foreign country and ask for alternatives. While there are different options by country, most of them will instruct you to authenticate requested documents by going to the Embassy or Consulate of the country of destinate to have you documents legalized.

Types of Documents You Can and Cannot Apostille

documents_that_can_be_apostillized_in_philippines
Documents That Can Be Appostillezed.

The Philippine Apostille is applicable to the type of documents that are deemed to be authenticated by the DFA:

  1. Export Documents;
  2. Immigration Records;
  3. Notarized Documents;
  4. Barangay Clearances;
  5. Police Clearance;
  6. Medical, AIDS-Free Certificate;
  7. Court Decisions, Resolutions, Orders;
  8. PRC Professional Licenses, Board Certificates, Board Ratings, Certifications;
  9. LTO Driver’s License;
  10. NBI Clearances;
  11. Certificate of Employment/Trainings/Seminars, Baptismal Certificate and other documents issued by a private entity;
  12. DepEd Transcript of Records, Form 137, Diploma;
  13. PSA/NSO Documents;
  14. Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines – Issued Licenses;
  15. DSWD Clearance; and
  16. Business Registration and other documents issued by a Government Agency.

The difference between Apostille and Authentication in the Philippines

appostille_vs_authentication_philippines
appostille versus authentication

While Apostille is the process of authentication and legalization of documents among countries who are part of the Hague Apostille Convention starting 1961, Authentication, on the other hand, is the process of validating and legalizing of documents for those countries who aren’t part of this convention. Thus, Apostille and Authentication can be perceived as processes that provide same result, but just differs whether or not the country is Apostillized or not.

Can the documents apostillized in another country be authenticated by the Philippine Embassy or Consulate?

Instead of authenticating the apostillized documents from other Apostille country, these embassies and consulates may offer acknowledgment and jurisdiction services to individuals whether the country is an Apostille one or not.

What to do if the Apostille is requested to be verified?

Verification of issued apostilles can be seen in the DFA website: www.dfa.gov.ph. If the Apostille was issued in another country, you may contact the Competent Authority by looking up their contact details in the Hague Conference website: www.hcch.net.

How to Apostille a document in Philippines (3 Easy Steps)

Fee is ₱100.00 per document (a document can be more than one page). Apostillizing Philippine document typically involves three steps:
Step 1: A fee for validation of each document;
Step 2: Duly fill out the Certificate of Authentication Request Form that includes the follow information:

  • Name of Requesting Country;
  • Contact Details;
  • Address as to where the documents should be mailed; and
  • For documents considered minor, indicate the name of the individual requesting for the document(s).

Step 3: You can avail the apostille in the following branches:

Duly note that there is no need to set an appointment with DFA for their Apostillization Services. To know more about the Apostille, you may contact DFA through the following contact details: 556-000 / 651-9400 / 234-3488 / (02) 834-3000 / (02) 834-4000. Their office is located at 2330 Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City, Metro Manila. Their Office of Consular Affairs is located at Bradco Avenue, corner Macapagal Boulevard ASEANA Business Park, Parañaque City, Metro Manila.

How much does an Apostille cost In Philippines?

An Apostille costs ₱100.00 for Regular Processing (four working days) and ₱200.00 for Expedited Processing (shall be released the next working day).

What is the different between notary and Apostille?

A Notary or notarized document is signed by a state official or a lawyer. The essence of this to validate the signer of the document, thus preventing fraud. Apostille, as previously mentioned, works as a proof of authenticating the notarized document. Apostillized document works as a validation that the notary stamp and signature is not fake.

How do I apostille my documents with a reliable agent?

Here are some quick tips that you may utilized in searching for a reliable agent:

1. Search online – Take advantage of the technology and use search engines to look for local agents near your location.
2. Look for reviews – What are others saying about this agent? Be conscious of reading reviews for there are some that aren’t real and may scam you. Make sure that the review you’re reading are reliable.
3. Search for available websites – Canvass between various websites which one fits in with your needs such as Apostillization of birth certificate, transcript of records and alike.
4. Have a cost analysis – After looking for desired websites, compare their costs, turnaround time and customer service feedback. While low cost apostille seems like a good deal, see to it that you won’t be a victim of fraud.
5. Look for recommendations – If you’re still reluctant of the website you’ve chosen, you may ask your friend or someone whose judgment you find trustworthy as to which agent provides the most cost-effective and steadfast apostille documents.

What is the process getting Apostille?

During the time wherein the Philippines is not yet part of the Hague Apostille Convention, documents coming from this country will have to receive a certificate from the Secretary of the State in the USA. It requires processes before it can go through the Philippine Embassy or Consulate. The following documents used to be part of certification:

  • Birth Certificate
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Death Certificate
  • Divorce Decree
  • Single Status Affidavit
  • Background Checking
  • Power of Attorney
  • Photocopy of Passport
  • Photocopy of Driver’s License
  • Transcript of Records (TOR)
  • Diploma
  • Authorization letter
  • Travel to Permit
  • Articles of Incorporation
  • Certificate of Good Standing
  • Certificate of Free Sale
  • Certificate of Origin
  • Corporate Power of Attorney
  • Commercial Invoice

Philippine Embassy and Consulate Legalization

A two-step process used to be required in certifying and legalizing documents in the Philippines. The first step is to have the documents certified by the State before legalizing in the Philippine Embassy or Consulate. The Philippine has one Embassy and five Consulate Offices in the USA as follows:

Philippines Embassy Washington, D.C.
Jurisdiction: Alabama, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia
Philippines Consulate Illinois – Chicago
Jurisdiction: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin
Philippines Consulate Honolulu, Hawaii
Jurisdiction: Hawaii
Philippines Consulate Los Angeles, California
Jurisdiction: Arizona, Southern Nevada (Nye, Las Vegas, Clark, Lincoln), Southern California (Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo, Orange, San Diego, Imperial, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Santa Barbara, Kern)
Philippines Consulate San Francisco, California
Jurisdiction: Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Northern Nevada (Carson, Churchill, Douglas Elko, Esmeralda, Eureka, Humboldt, Lander, Lyon, Mineral, Pershing, Storie, Washoe, White Pine, Reno), Colorado, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, Northern California (San Jose, Oakland, Fresno, Palo Alto, Sacramento, Stocton, Napa, Union City, San Mateo, Vallejo, Pittsburg)
Philippines Consulate Houston, Texas
Jurisdiction: Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas
Philippines Consulate New York – NYC
Jurisdiction: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont

Authentication of Documents for use outside Philippines

All document in the Philippines, from commercial, private to legal, can only be authenticated by the DFA. The authentication of these documents maybe done in the following branches of DFA:

DFA Office of Consular Affairs Authentication Division – ASEANA Business Park, Macapagal Avenue corner Bradco Avenue, Parañaque City
DFA NCR-Northeast (Ali Mall) – Level 2 Ali Mall Araneta Center, Cubao, Quezon City
DFA NCR-East (SM Megamall) – Level 7 SM Megamall Building C, EDSA corner Julia Vargas Avenue, Mandaluyong City
DFA NCR-West (SM Manila) – Level 5 SM City Manila, Concepcion Street corner Arroceros and Marcelino Streets, Ermita, Manila
DFA NCR-South (Metro Gaisano Alabang) – Level 4 Metro Alabang Town Center, Madrigal Avenue corner Alabang – Zapote Road, Muntinlupa City
Here’s the list of the following documents that you may authenticate with the Satellite Offices of DFA:

  • NBI Clearance
  • Police Clearance
  • Barangay Certification with Mayor’s Certification
  • National Statistics Office (NSO) (i.e. birth certificate, marriage certificate, certificate of no marriage)
  • Affidavits with Regional Trial Court Certification
  • Notarized Documents with Regional Trial Court Certification
  • Medical Certifications authenticated by the Department of Health
  • Professional Regulation Commission documents
  • Land Transportation Office (LTO) License Certification issued by LTO main office only
  • Foreign documents authenticated by a Philippine Embassy or Philippine Consulate-General
  • Foreign documents authenticated by a foreign Embassy or foreign Consulate-General in the Philippines
  • School Records (transcript of records, diploma, Form 137, etc) with a Certificate of Authentication and Verification (CAV) from the Commission on Higher Education, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority or Department of Education
  • School Records with a Certificate of Authentication and Verification (CAV) issued by a State College or State University

If you will be submitting documents through a proxy, the authorized representative shall present the following:

  • Original and photocopy of the authorized representative valid ID;
  • Duly signed Special Power of Attorney from the applicant; and
  • Photocopy of the applicant’s ID with signature.

Benefits of Working Abroad with Apostille Attestation

Not only Apostille can serve as an upfront and easy way to verify documents for international purposes, but the existence of Apostille can help in keeping international peace within foreign countries. Moreover, if you’re someone who’s going to use these Apostillized documents abroad, it creates a good impression to your employers that the country where you’ve come from is part of the Convention.

How long is a notarized document valid in the Philippines?

As long as the notarized document does not include an expiration date, then it will not expire. Hence, if it does contain an expiration date, you will no longer be able to use it as a valid document after its expiration.

How to apostille certain types of documents?

Here’s a quick overview of how documents in the USA are apostillized. This is specifically helpful for those who are residing in the USA:

1. Power of Attorney

  • Have the document prepared by an Attorney or Specialist.
  • Have the document notarized properly.
  • Notarization will be assessed so guarantee that you have it done by a professional or certified personnel.

2. IRS Form 6166

  • For individuals residing in USA, in having the IRS Form 6166 or U.S. Residency Certification, mail your
  • Form in the U.S. Department of State in Washington D.C.
  • There will be four (4) business days in reviewing your document and a one (1) to two (2) days shipping back to your home address.

3. Certificate of Good Standing

  • The Secretary of the State shall certify your current status (i.e. active/good, suspended, dissolved, cancelled and alike)
  • The Certificate of Good Standing shall mean that you have updated state fee payments, filed annual report, paid franchise taxes.

4. Certificate of Free Sale

  • All foreign governments part of the Apostille Convention requires Certificate of Free Sale, specifically when companies export products.
  • Once acquired it will serve as your proof that your company legally sells products in the country.
  • The Chamber of Commerce or the Federal Government (FDA) may issue the Certificate of Free Sale
  • The Certificate shall be first notarized on a local notary before being notarized by the Chamber of Commerce.
  • After being notarized, there should be a document that states that the notarization is valid.

5. U.S. Corporate Document

  1. The document shall be prepared by the company and shall be notarized by a local notary before it can be Apostilled. Here’s the list of Corporate Documents that can be Apostilled:
    • Articles of Incorporation, Certificate of Incorporation
    • Merger Agreements
    • Authorization letter for Bank, Finance, Office, and related company matters
    • Certificates of Amendment
    • Certificate of Good Standing
    • Power of Attorney
    • Certificate of Incumbency
    • Corporate Resolution
    • Certification of Free Sale
    • Certificate of Origin
    • Certificate of Analysis
    • Corporate Forms
    • Joint Venture Agreements
    • Stock Purchase Agreement in Foreign Companies
    • Business Letter of Invitation
  2. Here’s the list of Corporate Documents that can be authenticated by the U.S. Department of State:
    • Articles of Incorporation
    • Certificate of Free Sale
    • Certificate of Foreign Government
    • Certificate of Origin
    • Commercial Invoice
    • Corporate Documents to be Used Overseas
    • Department of Health and Human Services Documents
    • Distributorship Agreements
    • Food and Drug (FDA) Administration Documents
    • United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
    • Patents
    • Power of Attorney
    • Shipping Documents
  3. If the company requesting is not part of the Convention, the document shall be authenticated by the Department of State and legalized in the Embassy or Consulate.

6. Travel Consent Letter

  • Notarized the Travel Consent Letter
  • Mail to the Secretary of the State
  • Note that the Travel Airline or Agent can assist you in this matter.
  • If the country requesting is not part of the Convention, authentication from the Department of State shall be required as well as legalization from the Embassy of Consulate.

7. Car Title – DMV Record

  • Apostillization of Car Title can enable you to sell or retrieve car from another country.
  • You can acquire Apostillization from Secretary of the State of Secretary of the District of Columbia in Washington.
  • Notarized the document of your Car and after which it will go through the process of Apostillization.

8. U.S. Passport

  • Mail original Passport to the Washington address of International Apostille
  • If the country requesting is not part of the Apostille Convention, the passport should be authenticated by the U.S. Department of State and legalized by Embassy or Consulate

9. Social Security Letter

  • Social Security Letter should be apostillized if you are planning to retire in another country.
  • You may visit nearest Social Security Administration Office or obtain the letter online by visiting the SSA website.
  • Mail the letter to the office in Washington D.C. and wait for at least one (1) to three (3) Days.
  • If the letter shall be delivered to the requesting country, there would be an additional international shipping fee.
  • If the country requesting is not part of the Apostille Convention, the passport should be authenticated by the U.S. Department of State and legalized by Embassy or Consulate

10. Single Status Affidavit

  • If the applicant is planning to get married in another country (and part of the Apostille Convention), a Single Status Affidavit shall be requested.
  • This document is also known as No Record of Marriage, Certificate of Freedom to Marry, Certificate of No Impediment for Marriage, Certificate of No Record – Marriage, Affidavit of Single Status, Affidavit of Marriageability or Certificate of No Public Record
  • This shall only be applicable for individuals not yet married in the USA.
  • Obtain a copy of the affidavit from your local country clerk or court/state registrar
  • An attorney can also prepare this affidavit for you.
  • If you are not in the USA, go to the US Embassy or Consulate to notarize your affidavit.
  • If the country requesting is not part of the Apostille Convention, the passport should be authenticated by the U.S. Department of State and legalized by Embassy or Consulate

11. Divorce Decree

  • Mail the original or certified copy of your Divorce Decree to International Apostille.
  • The Divorce Decree may either be obtained by the hired Attorney or from the Court.
  • If the country requesting is not part of the Apostille Convention, the passport should be authenticated by the U.S. Department of State and legalized by Embassy or Consulate

12. Certificate of Naturalization

  • Certificate of Naturalization is issued by the Homeland Security and can only be apostilled in the International Apostille located in Washington D.C.
  • Processing time will take around four (4) business days and two (2) returning time.
  • If the requesting country is part of the Apostille, this certificate will be mailed directly. If not, an additional certificate will be added.
  • If you still don’t have Certificate of Naturalization, you may visit the website of the Department of Homeland Security for the instructions of obtaining an original copy.

13. Marriage Certificate

  • Mail the original or certified copy of the Marriage Certificate to the State Registrar or Local County Clerk.
  • Another country may request for this certificate for the following reasons: Dual Citizenship, Death of Spouse, Interest and Ownership in Property, Inheritance, moving to another country or working in another country.
  • If the certificate is damaged or older you may visit the VitalCheck.com to request a copy.
  • If the country requesting is not part of the Apostille Convention, the passport should be authenticated by the U.S. Department of State and legalized by Embassy or Consulate.

14. Death Certificate

  • Mail the original or certified copy to the State Registrar or Local County Clerk.
  • If the certificate is damaged or older you may visit the VitalCheck.com to request a copy.
  • If the country requesting is not part of the Apostille Convention, the passport should be authenticated by the U.S. Department of State and legalized by Embassy or Consulate.

15. Birth Certificate

  • Mail the original or certified copy to the State Registrar or Local County Clerk.
  • If the certificate is damaged or older you may visit the VitalCheck.com to request a copy.
  • If the country requesting is not part of the Apostille Convention, the passport should be authenticated by the U.S. Department of State and legalized by Embassy or Consulate.

16. School Transcript

  • If you are planning to work or study in another country, an apostilled school transcript is required.
  • If the requesting country is part of the convention, the transcript should be notarized and apostilled.
  • If the country is not part of the convention, then authentication from Department State and legalization in the Embassy or Consulate shall be required.
  • To obtain a copy of your school transcript, contact your school registrar and inform them that your diploma should be notarized or copy certified.
  • If the school does not have such service, you will need to find a traveling notary to meet your school registrar.
  • After notarization, this can now be process for Apostillization.
  • The notarized diploma will be then mailed to the requesting country.

17. Diploma

  • If you are planning to work or study in another country, an apostilled school transcript is required.
  • If the requesting country is part of the convention, the diploma should be notarized and apostilled.
  • If the country is not part of the convention, then authentication from Department State and legalization in the Embassy or Consulate shall be required.
  • To obtain a copy of your diploma, contact your school registrar and inform them that your diploma should be notarized or copy certified.
  • If the school does not have such service, you will need to find a traveling notary to meet your school registrar.
  • After notarization, this can now be process for Apostillization.
  • The notarized diploma will be then mailed to the requesting country.

18. Driver’s License

  • If you are planning to drive in another country, an apostilled driver’s license is required.
  • Notarized the colored copy of your driver’s license and have it signed the State of Issuance.
  • If you are not in the USA, ask a family member of friend to do the aforementioned process.
  • Once notarized, mail it to the International Apostille especially for Apostillization.
  • If the country requesting is not part of the Apostille Convention, the driver’s license should be authenticated by the U.S. Department of State and legalized by Embassy or Consulate.

Philippines becoming a part of the Apostille Convention will definitely ease one of the most delicate processes they have to go through – legalization of documents.

This shall also serve as a symbolism of peace and conformity of the country with other countries that are part of the convention.

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