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01 Dec 2021

The Apostille Act 2020: A brief note on obtaining an Apostille in Singapore

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Singapore has acceded to the 1961 Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents (the "Hague Convention"). The relevant local statute which gives effect to the Hague Convention is the Apostille Act 2020.

The Hague Convention replaces the cumbersome formalities related to the legalisation process. Instead, under the Hague Convention, a competent authority is responsible for issuing certificates (the "Apostille") which acts to certify the origin of public documents (e.g. court documents, marriage certificates, birth certificates, notarised documents etc.) produced by that contracting state. Contracting states to the Hague Convention are obliged to accept Apostilles as sufficient for the purposes of verifying the origin of a document. The Singapore Academy of Law ("SAL") is the authority in Singapore tasked with affixing Apostilles onto all documents requiring legalisation irrespective of which country the document is destined to be used.

A document intended for use in a contracting state will no longer need to be authenticated at the respective foreign embassy or consulate in Singapore, and can instead be submitted directly to the overseas recipient, after the document has been certified by Apostille by SAL. For outgoing public documents intended to be used in non-contracting states, the original method of authentication or legalisation at the respective foreign embassy or consulate remains to be the procedure to be used.

Procedure to obtain Apostille

The following are the steps to undertake to obtain an Apostille for outgoing documents:

  1. Submit an online request at https://legalisation.sal.sg/.
  2. Make payment online and an e-mail confirmation with the invoice will be sent to the registered e-mail address.
  3. Visit SAL between 9:00am to 4:30pm, Mondays to Fridays, to have the document certified by Apostille.
  4. Produce a copy of the e-mail confirmation and invoice when you present your documents* for apostilling at the SAL Office. The apostilling will be done on the spot.

* Documents must be original versions and copies are not acceptable.

Public documents

SAL will directly certify Singapore public documents by Apostille at a fee of S$10.70 (inclusive of GST) per document. Take note that if the public document is a computer-generated document, SAL will only apostille such documents after they have been first certified by the issuing department that had issued that computer-generated document.

Private documents

SAL will only certify private documents (i.e. non-government documents) by Apostille after they have been referred to a Singapore Notary Public** for notarisation. After an authentication fee of S$85.60 (inclusive of GST) is made to the Singapore Notary Public (and this excludes whatever charges the said Notary Public may charge for notarising the document) and the notarisation is complete, the document should thereafter be brought to SAL along with the Singapore Notary Public's invoice showing the aforesaid authentication fee. SAL will then affix the Apostille*** onto the Singapore Notary Public's notarial certificate.  

** Please do note that our firm has an in-house Notary Public who is able to assist with notarising documents.

*** Any recipient of the Apostille certificate will be able to search and verify the authenticity of the document via the search register at https://legalisation.sal.sg/AuthenticationCert/Search.

Location

SAL is located at 1 Coleman Street, #08-06 The Adelphi, Singapore 179803. Their contact details are as follows: +65 6332 4388; legalisation@sal.org.sg.

There is no requirement to be personally present at SAL for your documents to be apostilled. For example, if you are overseas, a proxy can be appointed to complete the authentication process on your behalf. No authorisation letter is required.

 

The Singapore law advice were written by Colin Jarraw from Virtus Law LLP (a member of the Stephenson Harwood (Singapore) Alliance).

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KEY CONTACT

Colin Jarraw

Colin Jarraw
Partner at Virtus Law

T:  +65 6661 6852 M:  Email Colin | Vcard Office:  Singapore