By: Julia Desiree L. Dy, Apprentice
Public documents issued by foreign governments to be presented in the Philippines no longer need to be authenticated by the consular office of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) located in said countries (a process that has earned the term “consularization” or “red-ribboning” among Filipinos). It is now enough that the Competent Authority of a foreign country (usually its foreign ministry or department or department of state) issues a certification called an apostille and this will be adequate to prove the origin of the foreign public document to which it relates.
In the same manner, Philippine public documents to be used in other countries need only an apostille certification from the DFA.
An apostille (pronounced “ah-po-steel”) is a French word that means “certification.”
The Apostille Convention is an international treaty, which is a part of the Statute of the Hague Conference on Private International Law. An apostille is issued by a country that is party to the Apostille Convention, to authenticate the origin of a public document. After authentication, the public document may be used in another country, which are also parties to the Convention.
A public document, as defined by the Apostille Convention, is any of the following:
- Documents emanating from an authority or an official connected with the courts or tribunals of the State, including those emanating from a public prosecutor, a clerk of a court or a process-server (“huissier de justice”);
- Administrative documents;
- Notarial acts;
- Official certificates which are placed on documents signed by persons in their private capacity, such as official certificates recording the registration of a document or the fact that it was in existence on a certain date and official and notarial authentications of signatures.
Welcome to the Convention
The Philippines formally acceded to the Apostille Convention on September 12, 2018. Starting May 14, 2019, public documents to be used in other countries (which are also parties to the Apostille Convention, except Austria, Finland, Germany, and Greece) need only to be authenticated by affixing an apostille.
The effect of an apostille is that it certifies the origin of the public document to which it relates. It does not certify or authenticate the content of the document. Moreover, each country is also allowed to decide how much weight is given to the underlying public document.
Procedure for Authentication
Each country party to the Apostille Convention must designate specific entities that are entitled to issue apostilles; they are called Competent Authorities. The country of origin (which issued the public document) is the same country where the apostille is requested for and affixed. For instance, if a birth certificate was issued by Hong Kong, and to be used in Norway, it is Hong Kong (the country of origin) who shall affix an apostille. The rules of the country of origin should be followed.
Apostille Process before the DFA
The procedure for authentication can be found in the DFA website using this link: https://consular.dfa.gov.ph/individually-filed-documents. Authentication may be done by any of the following DFA Offices:
|DFA Main Consular Office||Macapagal Blvd., Parañaque City|
|DFA NCR-Northeast||Ali Mall Government Center Level 2, Ali Mall Cubao, Quezon City|
|DFA NCR-East||7th Flr., Bldg. C, SM Megamall, EDSA cor. J Vargas, Mandaluyong City|
|DFA NCR-West||5th Flr., SM City Manila, Conception St., Manila|
|DFA NRC-South||4th Flr., Metro Alabang Town Center, Alabang, Zapote Rd., Muntinlupa City|
|DFA Aseana||Bradco Avenue corner Macapagal Boulevard, Aseana Business Park, Parañaque, 1714 Metro Manila|
|DFA Pampanga||2F Robinsons Star Mills, City of San Fernando, Pampanga|
To apply for authentication, submit a completed application form and the documents for authentication, and present a valid ID. The authentication fee for regular processing is P100 per document (which will take about 4 working days) or for expedited processing, P200 per document (which will be released after 1 working day).
To claim the authenticated documents, drop the official receipt in the releasing drop box. A valid ID is required to be able to claim the authenticated documents. The submission and claiming by a proxy is allowed, provided that the authorized representative presents an SPA, a copy of the applicant’s identification bearing the applicant’s signature, and a copy of the authorized representative’s identification.
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