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Apostille: How Does One Get an Apostille Stamp? And When Will We Need It?

An ‘Apostille’ is a stamp given in accordance with the Hague Convention to which the State of Israel is a party. The purpose of the Convention is to ease the admissibility of official documents (“a public document”) in the various member states of the Convention.

Thus, for example, a certificate given in Israel (such a birth certificate, a matriculation certificate, a death certificate, etc.) will be recognized by the foreign country which is also a member state of the Hague Convention.

There are various sorts of apostille stamps and the type of stamp required will depend, inter alia, on the type of document, the country of destination, etc. Accordingly, the stamp will be given by the Ministry of Justice (through its office at the courts) – on a notary certificate or by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Great Rabbinical Court, the Supreme Court and/or other official offices.

If you have come here it can be assumed that you have been asked to obtain an apostille stamp on one of your documents. The offices of Frank (Mayers) Meir are here to help you sort things out.

First of All: What is an Apostille Stamp?

Before we start discussing how to get our document stamped with an apostille stamp, and what the further procedure is, we must first of all understand what an apostille is.

As has been said, an apostille is a stamp given by the appropriate governmental office in accordance with the Hague Convention for the authentication (or ‘legalization’) of documents so that they may be recognized in a foreign country. In 1978 the State of Israel adopted the Hague Convention for Apostilles of 1961. In the Hague Convention the member states agreed amongst themselves on an “official stamp” to serve as an alternative to the requirements which existed up until then for the ‘legalization’ of documents – and which, effectively speaking, still exist for countries which are not members of the Convention, including some large countries such as: Canada, Chile and China. Before the State of Israel joined the Convention – or alternatively, if the document is intended for a country which is not a member of the Convention – the required actions might include the following: certification of a public certificate by the issuing authority; and afterwards certification by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and afterwards by the diplomatic representative.

The Convention also sets out the form of the apostille and the necessary details for the stamps: The apostille [stamp] must be a square off at least 9cm. for each side, and the stamp will bear the following heading in French:  “Apostille (Convention de La Haye du 5 Octobre 1961)”

Moreover, many details will also be needed to complete apostille’ s appearance – which country is providing the stamp, who is signing on the document, what is that person’s position, whose stamp is it (the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the court or alternatively employees who have been trained to provide the apostille service by the Ministry of Justice), where is the stamp signed, the date, the signature and the number.

When is an Apostille Needed?

Many of our clients wonder when in effect an apostille certificate is required. In effect, an apostille certificate is need in any situation in which we find a public certificate signed by one of the bodies in Israel and we need to authenticate the credibility of the document and to provide it with the identical ‘legalization’ or ‘validity’ for overseas. That is to say, to ensure that the document is recognized overseas.

The documents for which we will require an apostille stamp may include the following: Certificate of good standing, birth certificate, succession order, probate order, judgements and legal proceedings conducted in that country, decisions of the bailiff’s office, rabbinical courts and military tribunals, divorce certificates, marriage certificates, certificates of all sorts from the Registrar of Population, and so on and so forth.

Further to all the above said, educational certificates are deemed to be public certificates. On the assumption that you want to study in one of the countries who have signed on the Hague Convention, you may require an apostille stamp on your matric certificate, diploma or for any degree/prior course which you have taken during your lifetime.

How Much Does an Apostille Stamp Cost?

As of April 2021 the cost for the apostille fee is NIS 35. It is possible to pay for an apostille online on the designated site (the site of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs – service fees) or alternatively to pay on location with a credit card.

At the same time, we must understand that the uniform price is for the fee for the stamp only.

The notary work required before the apostille stamp – the certification of a signature, the certification of a notarial translation, the certification of a notarial power of attorney, the certificate of a copy of documents, and so on, will be charged in accordance with the binding and fixed tariff in accordance with the Notary Regulations.

Certification Documents in a Foreign Country for Submission in Israel

What about a document which has been issued in a foreign country which is a member state of the Hague Convention and which is needed for submission in Israel?

If the document has been stamped with an apostille stamp in the foreign country which is a member state of the Hague Convention, the document ought to be admissible in Israel.

If there is no possibility of obtaining an apostille stamp on a document (for whatever reason), you can contact the Israeli consulate in the country in which the document was issued to see whether they can be of assistance. In many cases the consulate may indeed be able to assist, for example: certificate of copy, certificate of signature, etc.

However, at the same time, the waiting lines at the various consulate departments may be very long. During the corona period some of them even reached waiting times of nearly one year. In such cases you should check whether it is possible to certify the document through local notary + an apostille stamp.