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How to Apostille Your Documents in India

Getting attestation/apostille for your documents can be a complicated process for most people since it involves many steps before a paper is legalized. In India, the Ministry of External Affairs attests original or authentic copies of original documents for overseas use, and this attestation is of two types. While normal attestation is done for countries which are not a part of the Hague Convention, an apostille is sufficient for countries which are a part of the convention.

More than 116 European countries and the United States of America are part of the convention and accept apostille documents. An apostille comes in the form of a sticker at the back of the required documents and a stamp, which officially legalizes and verifies the document.

Apostille is required for long-term foreign purposes like education, employment, residence and migration, and short term stays. In simple terms, an apostille is a document legalization process that helps you prove the authenticity of the documents you require in your country of preference.

An apostille is a way to quickly legalize a document for foreign use without excess certification issued by the embassy of the country where the apostille is legalized. This is done through a unique identification number that can be verified by the foreign country, which the Applicant requires. Three different types of documents are covered under the apostille certification;

a. Personal documents, including marriage certificates, divorce certificates, adoption certificates, death certificates, migration and experience certificates, Police Clearance certificates, and passport copies.

b. Educational documents, like SSC Certificate, Degree certificate, transfer certificate, transcript certificate, mark sheet copies, school leaving certificate, engineering certificate etc.

c. Commercial documents like Memorandum of Association, property papers, partnership deeds, Power of Attorney certificate, Authority Letter, Board Resolution, Commercial Invoice, Insurance certificate.

These are the following steps for getting an apostille in India, as confirmed by the Ministry of External Affairs.

Step1. E Sanad: Under the larger digitization of governmental processes, the MEA also provides online verification and apostille of documents. This can be done by accessing the E Sanad website, after which the Applicant will be asked to pay a fee to the portal. For E Sanad portals, the MEA charges a fee of 50/-. The details and documents of the Applicant will be made available to the MEA, which in turn would digitally apostille the documents. The attested copies with necessary apostille stickers are then sent to the address provided by the Applicant.

Step 2. Offline Apostille (Documents not covered under E Sanad): The Government of India has decentralized the apostille and attestation process for easy access. The services have been extended to Branch Secretariat and RPO in 15 cities, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Chennai, Chandigarh, Cochin, New Delhi, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, Panaji, Raipur and Thiruvananthapuram. The Applicant whose documents do not come under the E Sanad portal must reach out to Regional Authentication Centres or RACs. Different kinds of documents come under the jurisdiction of specific RACs.

a. Personal documents: Notary Attestation followed by Home/General Administration Department of State/Union Territory. In India, this consists of the Home Department or SDM certification.

b. Educational documents: Notary Attestation, followed by Educational Department of State/Union Territory, Home department attestation (Only for Maharashtra) /SDM attestation. Countries which require HRD verification follow a process where University verification is followed by HRD verification.

c. Commercial documents: Respective institution/Chambers of Commerce

Step 3. The Applicant must submit the required documents to their respective government-sanctioned/authorized Agency. The official Agency offers the Applicant’s documents to the RPO or Branch Secretariat, returning the legalized documents to the Applicant.

There are different types of attestation required for other states/types of documents that are being submitted for apostille.

Essential Types of Attestation in the Apostille Process:

  •  Notary Attestation
  •  Home Department Attestation
  •  HRD attestation
  •  SDM attestation
  •  Chamber of Commerce Attestation
  •  MEA Attestation
The Ministry of External Affairs legalizes the documents only after the attestation of the designated signing authorities of the respective institution/administration/Chamber of Commerce of the State/Union Territory, which is why it is advised that the Applicant thoroughly check their documents for any mistake or change before submitting them to either the E Sanad portal or the Outsourcing Agency.

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