Saudi Arabia and China Joining The Hague Convention. Here’s What This Means for Global Mobility and Trade.

The Hague Convention encompasses a series of international treaties that have been instrumental in setting global legal standards. The Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH), currently representing ninety-one member states, meets every four years to negotiate and approve new agreements. 


Treaties are not updated often. International law tends to evolve slowly and amendments require consensus among a large number of countries, which can be a lengthy process. However, when updates do occur, they are significant and are carefully crafted to address emerging global challenges and legal complexities. 


In light of this, we wanted to discuss the recent addition of Saudi Arabia and China to The Hague Convention, the benefits and implications. Let’s dive in.


First, what is the Hague Convention?

The 1954 Hague Convention emerged in the aftermath of World War II, a time when the world had witnessed the extensive destruction of cultural heritage. Nations came together in The Hague, Netherlands to create an international treaty to safeguard and protect cultural property during armed conflicts. 


The convention outlined the measures countries must take before and during hostilities to protect cultural heritage and imposes obligations to respect such heritage within their own and occupied territories. It was the first treaty exclusively charged with safeguarding and protecting the world’s cultural heritage.


A further 40 international conventions have been developed since 1954 with many being ratified by a significant number of the countries, most notably conventions pertaining to Access to Justice, Notification and Transfer of Documents, and Legalization through Apostilles. Conventions related to International Adoption and International Child Abduction have also had a significant global impact. 


Collectively, the Hague Conventions play a pivotal role in setting international standards across various fields, aiding in the harmonization of laws and procedures, and contributing to global cooperation and stability.


New countries have joined and are joining the Hague Convention

When new countries join the Hague Convention, it can have many benefits for the international community as well as for the country itself. Though there are multiple Hague Conventions on different topics, joining the Hague Convention overall reflects a country’s commitment to cooperating with other nations in legal matters. 


Some recent changes include Saudi Arabia and Indonesia joining the Hague Apostille Convention and Mainland China, set to join in November 2023. This is welcome news benefitting both employers and foreign nationals of these countries who are looking to immigrate to other Hague member countries. 


What are the benefits of new countries joining the Hague Convention? 

A new country joining the Hague Convention offers a host of benefits including the simplification of many international legal procedures — one of the most immediate and notable is the streamlining of the legalization process of that country. The 1964 Apostille of The Hague, or simply Apostille, ratified by 124 countries, abolished the need for the lengthy legalization of foreign public documents and replaced it with a more simplified process.


The new, simplified procedure ensures much quicker processing times and is significantly cheaper than the previous legalization procedure. It also allows documents from these countries to be accepted by other countries that are part of this convention, and vice versa, streamlining the entire documentation process.


The Apostille process allows for an expedited authentication of specific foreign documents, including official certifications such as diplomas and birth certificates, legal and administrative documents). The traditional legalization process is lengthy and complicated, as it needs to be processed by a number of officials. The Apostille, however, is just one page affixed to the copy of the public document with an official stamp which is provided by the appropriate authorities. 


This aligns with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s explosive growth as a global trading partner over the past decade, during which the country has grown tremendously. From an improved domestic business environment to energy exports a general eye to growing as a global trade partner, joining the Apostille Convention will make it easier to move both people and goods across borders.


As for China, which continues to be a major global player, the benefits are clear as well. Indeed, China and Saudi Arabia are growing closer, and while headlines may sometimes focus on “world order” of the closeness more than on the practical implications, both of them being part of the Apostille Convention will enable easier cross-border trade, movement and growth.


Lex Documents is a leader in providing apostille and other document procurement and legalization services for Hague Convention countries.

Partnering with a document management company that has experience working directly with embassies and consulates, specifically those party to the Apostille Convention, can help you avoid problems and speed up the authentication process. 


Lex Documents has offices and staff across Europe, North America, and Latin America with expertise in international administration and local and international document management for immigration and global mobility needs. We are experts on document procurement and apostille procedures for Hague Convention countries.


Don’t hesitate to contact our experts to avoid any problems with your documentation legalization!

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