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Apostille Documents

Apostille documents are usually issued by the Hong Kong High Court. There are two board categories of documents which can be accepted for apostille service. They are public documents that bear the signature of an official party. If the document does not have a signature of an official party, then the document must bear the signature of a notary public or the commissioner for Oaths in Hong Kong.

What does “official party” mean? 

An official party means that the signature is made by a Hong Kong Government officer. For example, the certificate of incorporation has the signature of the Companies Registrar. Hence, it will be accepted for apostille service.

However, customers shall note that not all company documents bear the signature of an official party. For example, the business registration license does not have any signature from the Inland Revenue Department. Similarly, the incorporation form NNC1 and the Articles of Association only have signatures of the directors and shareholders.

What if my document does not have any signature of an official party?

Since the business registration license does not have signature of the government officer, we can liaise with the Hong Kong Inland Revenue Department and ask them to prepare a certified copy document. Once the Government officer signs and certifies the business license, the document will become eligible for apostille service at the Hong Kong High Court.

Similarly, if you need to have the incorporation form NNC1 apostilled, we can liaise with the Hong Kong Company Registry and they can countersign on it. If you have any difficulty, you can always contact our Hong Kong incorporation team at info@getstarted.hk and we can offer you the best solution.

When do I need Apostille document?

Apostille document is often needed if you want to make an application overseas. For example, if you want to open a corporate bank account outside Hong Kong, they might ask you for Apostille document. If the banker is not familiar with the practice in Hong Kong, he might find it difficult to verify the authenticity of a document. Hence, some banks outside Hong Kong will require your documents to be apostilled by the Hong Kong High Court.

In general, apostille documents are accepted by countries which are members of the Hague Convention. If the country is not a member of the Hague Convention, we can arrange legalized document from its embassy in Hong Kong.

What are the common elements in the Apostille document?

Not all apostille documents will look the same. However, they will usually have the following elements. There will be a seal or stamp on the document. The seal will show the name of the authority. If you choose our service,  the stamp will be from the Hong Kong High Court. The document will further list out the issuance country, location, department and the name of the person who issues the Apostille document. Apostille document is normally valid for a period of 3 months.

How long does it take to arrange Apostille documents?

Depending on the documents you need, the apostille document can be ready as fast as 1 week. If the document bears the signature of an official party, the process is usually much faster. Conversely, if your document does not have any signature from an official body, i.e. an incorporation form NNC1, then the process might take slightly longer time. If you are interested in our apostille service, you can contact us at info@getstarted.hk and the cost for apostille documents starts at US$320 depending on complexity and number of documents needed.