On November 7, 2023, the Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents, also known as the "1961 Apostille Convention", came into effect in China. The first batch of Apostilles in Guangdong was issued by the Foreign Affairs Office of the People's Government of Guangdong Province.
He Rusheng, Deputy General-Director of the Foreign Affairs Office of Guangdong, pointed out that China's formal accession to the Convention will help improve the business environment, simplify the use of public documents abroad, and expedite international trade.
"Nearly 80 percent of foreign-related documents in Guangdong will benefit from the significant benefits released by the implementation of the Convention, and at least 20 million RMB in annual certification fees for enterprises and citizens will be saved," said He Rusheng.
The first batch of Apostilles issued by the Foreign Affairs Office of the People's Government of Guangdong Province
On October 23, 2023, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China (the MFA) announced that the Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents shall enter into force in China on November 7, 2023.
With the Convention further implemented, procedures for the use of public documents abroad will be simplified, and international trade and people-to-people exchange will be largely facilitated. The Apostille Convention will facilitate the use of public documents abroad by replacing the past dual certifications, including one from China's foreign affairs department and the other from consulates.
The cross-border use of public documents emanating from China and being produced by other Contracting Parties only requires an Apostille issued by the Competent Authorities of China without legalization by the Chinese authorities and the foreign embassies and consulates in China. The MFA is the Competent Authority in China. Similarly, the cross-border use of public documents emanating from other Contracting Parties and to be produced in China also only requires an Apostille issued by the Competent Authorities of other Contracting Parties without the legalization by the local authorities and the Chinese embassies and consulates in other Contracting Parties.
Meanwhile, authorized by the MFA, the Foreign Affairs Offices of provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities directly under China's Central Government can issue the certificates to public documents emanating within the respective administrative areas.
It will only take a few days to get one document ready for use abroad, compared with around 20 days previously. With the cost greatly reduced, it will save Chinese and foreign individuals and businesses more than 300 million yuan every year. The time required to complete relevant procedures between China and other contracting states to the Convention will be slashed by about 90 percent on average.
With China's accession to the Convention, foreign companies investing in or exporting to China will no longer need to seek consular legalization for commercial documents. There will be similar benefits for over 70 percent of China's export-related commercial documents.
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