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apostille

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Definition
Additional authentication required for international acceptance of notarized documents including (but not limited to) adoption papers, affidavits, birth certificates, contracts, death certificates, deeds, diplomas and degrees, divorce decrees, incorporation papers, marriage certificates, patent applications, powers of attorney, and school transcripts. Instituted by 'The Hague Convention Abolishing The Requirements Of Legalization For Foreign Public Documents' of 1961, its objective is obviate "the requirements of diplomatic or consular legalization" and thus replace the cumbersome 'chain authentication method' that called for verification by multiple authorities. As prescribed by the convention, an apostille (French for, notation) is a preprinted small (minimum 9 x 9 centimeters) form having ten numbered items of information with blank spaces to be filled in by the designated authority in the issuing country. It is obligatory upon every signatory country to accept apostilles of the other signatory countries.