Apostilles are seals used on documents as proof of authentication by the government where documents originated. Over 90 countries have ratified the Hague Convention that recognises that governments can legalise documents intended for use in other countries where they are required. Marriage licenses are one such type of document that requires an apostille.
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Most island nations in the Caribbean have signed the Hague Convention. They require apostille seals on marriage licenses before they will deem them authentic. Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago are the countries in this region that signed the convention.
Oceana & Pacific Nations
Several countries in the Pacific region are members of the Hague Convention. These include Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Marshall Islands, New Zealand, Niue, Samoa and Tonga. They require marriage licenses issued in foreign countries to bear an apostille seal to be considered legal and valid documents.
European countries are the biggest subscribers to the Hague agreement and comprise Albania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, FYR of Macedonia, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Moldova, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the Ukraine, and the United Kingdom.
Not many Asian countries are members of the Hague convention that recognise the apostille certificates. Brunei Darussalam, Chinese Hong Kong and Macao, India, Japan and Seychelles require apostille seals on incoming marriage licenses. You'll need to present authenticated documents before they will be considered before the registrars.
Only two middle eastern countries require the use of apostille authentication on foreign marriage licenses. These are Israel and Turkey, both of which are Hague Convention members.
Hague Convention member countries in Africa are Botswana, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland. They all require apostille seals on marriage license documents that are presented at courts or registrars.
Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Falkland Islands, Suriname and Venezuela are the only South American Hague Convention countries. Their courts require an apostille seal on incoming foreign marriage license before they will recognise their validity.
Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico and Panama all subscribe to the Hague Convention and abide by rules pertaining to apostille seals. Mexico especially is a stickler to protocol surrounding the use of apostilles. A foreign marriage license is not worth the paper it's written on without one.
The US is a Hague Convention member nation and is the only North American country requiring foreigners to provide apostilles on marriage licenses. Additionally, apostilles are provided by state authorities where the marriage took place. State authorities are located at each respective Office or Department of the Secretary of State, except in Massachusettes where the authority is the Deputy Secretary of the Commonwealth for Public Records, and in Hawaii, Alaska and Utah it's the Lieutenant Governor's Office.
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