Faster Authentication of Documents under the Apostille Convention

One problem we encounter in law practice, including in cases for recognition of foreign divorce decrees, is the difficulty in securing authenticated copies of the divorce decree and related documents. Authentication of documents is a long and expensive process. Great news — the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) recently announced that the Philippines has acceded to the Apostille Convention eliminating steps in authenticating documents. This Convention will enter into force between the Philippines and other States Parties which have raised no objection to its accession on 14 May 2019. According to the DFA:

With the Apostille Convention, foreign public documents from Apostille-contracting countries need not be authenticated abroad by Philippine Embassies and Consulates General in order to be recognized and accepted in the Philippines.

Conversely, Philippine public documents need not undergo diplomatic or consular authentication in order to be used abroad in fellow Apostille-contracting countries.

“The DFA takes pride in spearheading measures to streamline and simplify processes and services for our Filipino nationals, which is the spirit of our accession to the Apostille Convention,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano said.

“The Apostille Convention cuts down the procedure for the processing and use of foreign public documents, which helps facilitate cross-border trade, investment and personal relations. This is particularly beneficial for the millions of Filipinos abroad who need to use and present public documents from the Philippines in their country of destination,” Secretary Cayetano explained.

Based on the last update on 12 September 2018, there are 117 contracting parties to the Convention (the term Contracting Party “covers both cases in which the Convention has, and cases in which the Convention has not yet, entered into force for that Party following the deposit of its instrument of ratification, accession, acceptance or approval” (see Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents). Full text of DFA’s announcement: PH Accedes To Convention Eliminating Steps In Authenticating Documents.

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