On Nov. 7, 2023, China officially acceded to the Hague Convention abolishing the requirements of Consular legalization for foreign public documents. The Convention has entered into force between China and the United States. Documents originating from the United States need to be Apostilled by the relevant Secretary of State or the US Department of State before they can be used in China, without the need of Consular legalization.
Apostille is a method of certifying a document for use in another country. Apostille authenticates the seals and signatures of officials on public documents such as birth certificate, marriage certificate, certificate of good standing, court orders, background check, etc. or confirms the name and signature of a notary public on other non-government issued document such as diploma, transcript, etc.
The Apostille certificate will verify that the named individual and his/her position is a matter of record in the Secretary of the State's Office. The certificate will only be prepared if the official has in fact executed the document properly and can only be attached to a signed original or a sealed certified copy from a public record keeper, such as a Town Clerk.
Here is the outline of two major steps for document apostille for China
1) Notary: For non-government documents such as affidavit, diploma, passport copy, power of attorney, bank letter, etc., a notary public must notarize the document first; For government documents such as birth certificates, good standing certificates, etc., you will need to obtain a certified copy from the state; notary is not required.
2) Secretary of State Apostille: The State Apostille Office must certify the notary seal or the certified copy by adding a certificate page with big state seal. Some states require county clerk to certify the notary seal first. Federal documents such as FBI background check will require apostille from the US Department of State.
Civil Documents (Such as: Adoption, Birth/Death/Marriage Certificate, Affidavit of Single Status, Personal Declaration, Personal Real Estate Transaction, Inheritance, Foster Care, Name Change Order, etc. )
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