The best and most accurate means to describe the Apostille Convention is to use its formal name: The Hague Convention of 5 October 1961 (Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents). As you might already know, if you plan on using legal documents outside of South Africa, you will have to get them apostilled in order to ensure their validity.

In this post, we will be looking at which countries form part of the Apostille Convention and look at what your options are for getting documents legalised for use in a country that doesn�t form part of the Apostille Convention.

What is the Apostille Convention?
The Hague Convention, as it is known in short, replaced the �Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents�, which was a tedious way of having to confirm documents between countries (both countries had to sign two different confirmations in the past. Also known as the Convention de La Haye du 5 October 1961, or the Apostille Treaty, the Apostille Convention is an international treaty created by the Hague Conference on Private International Law.

Basically, it defines how a document issued in any of the member countries (signatory countries) can be certified for use among all the other members countries. Thus, if both South Africa and Japan belong to the Apostille Convention, then an apostille is used to confirm the document between the two countries. Within South Africa alone, an apostille would be the equivalent of a notarisation by a notary public. Who are the Member Countries of the Apostille Convention?
The Hague Conference (Apostille Convention) currently (as of March 2018) has 83 member countries, 82 States and 1 Regional Economic Integration Organization (as of March 2018). South Africa is one of the Apostille Convention countries. The others include:

Albania
Andorra
Argentina
Armenia
Australia
Austria
Azerbaijan
Bahrain
Belarus
Belgium
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Brazil
Bulgaria
Burkina Faso
Canada
Chile
China � Only Hong Kong and Macao, not Mainland China
Costa Rica
Croatia
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Denmark
Ecuador
Egypt
Estonia
European Union
Finland
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
France
Georgia
Germany
Greece
Hungary
Iceland
India
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Japan
Jordan
Kazakhstan
Kyrgyzstan
Latvia
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Malaysia
Malta
Mexico
Mauritius
Monaco
Montenegro
Morocco
Netherland
New Zealand
Norway
Panama
Paraguay
Peru
Philippines
Poland
Portugal
Republic of Moldova
Romania
Russian Federation
Serbia
Singapore
Slovakia
Slovenia
South Africa
South Korea (Republic of)
Spain
Sri Lanka
Suriname
Sweden
Switzerland
Tunisia
Turkey
Ukraine
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
United States of America
Uruguay
Venezuela
Vietnam
Zambia