Apostille and Legalization

People often need document legalization services to get their documents validated for study or work in a country other than your own. For that purpose, you will be required to provide certain documents such as birth certificate, marriage certificate, degree etc. Unfortunately, it is not that easy to get the documents of country accepted and recognized by the other, unless they follow a common standard of validation. In that case, you would have to get your documents legalized in the country they were issued. Legalization must be carried out for everyone in the family if you are moving together to a different country for study and work.

The most common Indian origin documents that require legislation are marriage certificates, birth certificates, and the educational degree. If you are someone who was born in one state, married in another, and got educated in a different state of India, then you would have to go through a process of official document legalization that uniformly validates their authenticity.

These certificates are passed through three stages of validation before they can be accepted by a different country. 

The three phases of authentication are mentioned below:

First step

The documents that you are submitting for validation must first be authenticated by the state of origin in India. For instance, if you were born in Maharashtra, then you would be required to make an application to the State Home Department of Maharashtra with your certificate. Sometimes you may get a validation within days but other times you may be asked to provide supporting documentation as per the process followed by different state governments in India. For now, there is no countrywide standard process for document validation. After you make a formal application, the request for validation is checked against the records of birth in that town or city. While some states use a centralized database to verify this information, not every state has this provision. In some cases, your documents may go to village or towns for verification and then it is sent back to the State Home Department with the status. This long and cumbersome procedure may take anything up to 10 days to 2 months, and even more. Once the record is successfully verified, the SHD will return the document for the next stage of validation.

Second Step

The documents attested by SHD then go for further attestation by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in Delhi. Once it has been validated by the state authority, it must be further corroborated by the national authority for it to be recognized by a foreign country. If all the documents are in order, it should not take more than a day or two for the MEA to attest and send the document back.

Third Step

Now that the document has been attested by MEA, it needs to be furnished to the respective embassy or the consulate of the destination country that will perform its own checks in the document and then complete the legalization process by attesting the document. This process may also take a few days to a couple of weeks depending on pending documents with the embassy as well as other factors. Once the documents have been legalized, they become acceptable by the firm in the destination country.

This process is typically relevant to birth and marriage certificates where the process begins at the place of origin. However, in case of degree certificates, the process is the same except that the first step is handled by the department of HRD or higher education, in place of State Home Department.


Getting documents apostilled, on the other hand, is relatively simpler. Apostille certificate is a special kind of attestation that is valid for documents that are used in countries that are part of The Hague Convention, a group of over 100 countries that joined the treaty. Members of this treaty agreed to abolish the need for legalization of public documents between member states. However, for the apostille documents to to applicable, both the source and destination country should must be signatories of The Hague Convention.

However, the Indian documents still need to go through the first two steps of legalization process because the centralization of records has not been implemented yet. Hence, the only one step that does not make it to the apostille process is the embassy attestation. It is, instead, handled by MEA which is also accepted by member nations as an acceptable form of attestation.

It doesn’t matter if you need to get your documents legalized or apostilled, you can use the specialized service providers such as Document Apostille Service who can handle these complex procedures with relative ease and get the job done in less turnaround time.

About Ashly William:

Ashly William is a freelance writer, with years of experience, creating content for varied online portals. Her content is published on many national and international publications. She love to write about business services and education.