On 8th March 2023,  the People’s Republic of China (PRC) formally acceded to the Hague Apostille Convention of 1961, effectively abolishing the necessity for the legalisation of foreign public documents when exchanged between the Convention’s member states.

The Hague Apostille Convention is set to come into full effect for China on November 7th, 2023, marking a significant milestone in international diplomatic relations. With China’s accession, the Convention now boasts a total of 91 member states. The primary objective of this Convention is to streamline the intricate and lengthy process of document legalisation, replacing it with a more straightforward Apostille procedure. 

As a direct consequence of China’s membership in the Hague Convention, all United Kingdom public documents once attested by the Hague Apostille issued by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), will be legally recognised for direct submission to the Chinese local authorities. This negates the need for additional legalisation by the Chinese Consulate or Chinese Visa Centres in the United Kingdom.

It is worth noting that the Chinese Consulate has officially declared that the final day for document submission for legalisation will be Tuesday, October 31st, 2023. Any documents Apostilled after November 1st will be accepted in China solely with an Apostille attached. The Consulate is discontinuing its legalisation department entirely, with no exceptions for the legalisation of documents in the future once the Apostille is affixed.   

In conclusion, China’s accession to the Hague Apostille Convention, long-anticipated and now realised, represents a profoundly positive development. It is expected to significantly simplify and expedite the exchange of public documents between signatory member states. This achievement is poised to deliver considerable advantages to foreign investors engaging in business activities in China, as well as private individuals seeking visas to work and reside within he country or firms dealing with intellectual property matters in Chinese courts and administrative public departments.

For further information on how to get your documents legalised for use in China, please contact us. 

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