Hague Convention

The Hague Convention is the international treaty in charge of preserving and safeguarding the cultural heritage in case of a worldwide war.

The Hague Convention was held in 1954 in the Hague (Netherlands), after the massive destruction of cultural heritage by the Second World War, this being the first treaty exclusively charged with safeguarding and protecting the world’s cultural heritage in case of conflict armed where a specific protection is proposed for each country that recognizes the cultural heritage of its people.

Currently, the Organization aims to work for a world in which people, both physical and legal, have a high level of legal security even when there are differences between different judicial systems. This Organization meets every four years in the Plenary Session (Ordinary Diplomatic Session) to negotiate and approve new agreements, in the same way, that it is decided on what will have to be carried out in the future.

The agreements are prepared by Special Commissions or working groups that meet on numerous occasions throughout the year, usually at the Peace Palace in The Hague, and it is increasingly common for them to meet in different countries of the Member States.

Likewise, Special Commissions are organised to verify the operation of the Agreements and to be able to apply recommendations, with the purpose of improving efficiency and thus promoting a regular practice and interpretation.



Between 1954 and 2008, 38 international conventions were adopted. Even without being ratified, the Conventions influence the legal systems of each of the States, whether or not they are members. Creating a source of inspiration for the efforts of unification of private international law at the regional level.


The Conventions with the highest number of ratifications are:

  • Access to justice.
  • Notification and transfer of documents.
  • The suppression of the requirement of legalization (Apostilles).
  • International adoption.
  • International abduction of children.
  • Obtaining evidence abroad.
  • The form of the testamentary dispositions.


For some years, agreements have been implemented that concern other types of laws such as; Law Applicable to Certain Rights on Securities Deposited  on an Intermediary (2006), the Agreement on Choice of Forum Agreements (2005), the Convention on International Collection of Food for Children and Other Family Members, etc.


The apostille of The Hague

Thanks to the agreement that was signed on October 5, 1961, the requirement of legalization of foreign public documents was eliminated, speeding up the process. From that moment on in all the countries signing the agreement, to legalize a document, it is enough with an apostille instead of having to follow a long chain of legalization.

The Apostille of The Hague (or simply apostille) is a simplified method of the legalization of documents, is a certification issued by the competent authorities that authenticate documents for use abroad. The primary function of the apostille is to ensure that a document is genuine and valid and are required by the countries of the Hague Convention. Physically it consists of a sheet that is added (attached to the back or on an additional page) to the documents that the competent authority stamps on a copy of the public document.

The Apostille of the Hague is an international legislative act by which several countries formalised an agreement. Thanks to this agreement, it is possible that people who need to use a specific document do not have to comply with the requirements of the legalization of said document, and in this way expedite the process.


What kind of documents can be apostilled?


Public documents such as;


  • Legal documents: Documents issued by an authority or official from the State, including those that come from the Public Ministry or a secretary, officer or judicial agent.
  • Administrative documents.
  • Official certifications on private documents, such as the certification of the registration of a document, the certification on the certainty of date and the official and notarial authentication of signatures in private documents.


What documents cannot be apostilled;


  • Documents issued by diplomatic or consular agents.
  • Administrative documents directly related to a commercial or customs operation.
  • Documents that, in the application of other International Agreements, are exempt from being legalized or apostilled.



Benefits of the Hague Apostille


The advantages that the Apostille of The Hague provides in front of the traditional document legislation is the reduction of both the cost and the time required to carry out the necessary procedures to obtain and legitimise certain documents.

Therefore, the main advantage of the Apostille of The Hague is that it greatly facilitates the legalization of public documents that have been issued in a country so that they can be used abroad without any inconvenience. That is why the Apostille of The Hague eliminates the long chains of legalizations in one, where only one special seal is applied.

For this to be possible, it is necessary that the country involved in this procedure be included in the agreement of the company, otherwise the distinctive seal of the apostille will not be valid..

Although not usual, the apostille does not work in all countries that were part of the Hague Council. For example, it is worth highlighting the case of Peru and Canada, which although they were part of the Council of The Hague when the agreement to suppress the legalization of documents was signed, they did not sign the agreement. Therefore, in this case, the jurisdiction that applies in the countries with the Apostille has no validity.

That is why it is essential that if you need to do this type of procedures verify the country where you will use it and also, of course, the country from which it comes.

In conclusion, citizens should only go before a notary and then send the document to the chancery to put the stamp that gives validity internationally.

Countries contracting the apostille agreement that are also members of the Hague Convention:

  • Albania
  • Andorra
  • Argentina
  • Armenia
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Azerbaijan
  • Belarus
  • Belgium
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Brazil
  •  Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • China
  • Costa Rica
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Georgia
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Honduras
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • India
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Mauritius
  • Mexico
  • Monaco
  • Mongolia
  • Montenegro
  • Morocco
  • Namibia
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Nicaragua
  • North Macedonia
  • Norway
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Republic of Korea
  • Republic of Moldova
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Serbia
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • South Africa
  • Spain
  • Suriname
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Uruguay
  • Uzbekistan
  • Venezuela


Countries contracting the apostille agreement that are not members of the Hague Convention:
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Bahamas
  • Bahrain
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Bolivia
  • Botswana
  • Brunei Darussalam
  • Burundi
  • Cape Verde
  • Colombia
  • Cook Islands
  • Dominica
  • Eswatini
  • Fiji
  • Grenada
  • Guatemala
  • Guyana
  • Indonesia
  • Jamaica
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Kosovo
  • Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Malawi
  • Marshall Islands
  • Mongolia
  • Niue
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Palau
  • Rwanda
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Saint Lucia
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Samoa
  • San Marino
  • Sao Tome and Principe
  • Senegal
  • Seychelles
  • Tajikistan
  • Tonga
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Vanuatu

If you need more information about the Hague Convention, don’t hesitate to contact us at info@lexdocuments.com

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