Attestation is the process of getting your educational, non educational and commercial documents like degree, birth/marriage certificates/agreements/contracts etc., certified for authenticity, primarily for overseas travel or applying work permit/dependent visas/resident permits for foreign countries.
Attestation is normally a 3 step process, with the exception of countries who adhere to Hague Convention, 1962, as for them it is a 2 step process. The steps are as listed below
1st Level/State Attestation
Also called the Home attestation/GAD attestation depending on the type of the document under consideration, this is the 1st level of attestation which is required from the respective state which issued the certificate originally. This attestation is required from the state education department in case of educational certificates and Home Department or General Administration Department (GAD). Post this the next step is either MEA attestation.
2nd Level/MEA attestation or Apostille
Post state level attestation the document is submitted to Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) for next level of attestation. MEA issues two types of attestation, the regular stamp and Apostille sticker, as applicable.
Apostille is done for countries who follow the Hague convention and currently around 92 countries have become its members. An Apostille stamp does not require any further attestation from the embassy/high commission of the country where the document is to be submitted. It is a square shaped computer generated stamp applied on the reverse of the document
For all other countries MEA affixes a regular stamp on the reverse of the document post which it is submitted further for attestation by respective Embassy/High Commission.
3rd Level/Embassy Attestation
Certificates being attested for non-Hague member countries are submitted to the respective Embassy/High Commission office for final authentication post MEA attestation. In such cases the embassy/high commission puts its own stamp on the certificate after verifying the attestation done by Ministry of External affairs.
What is Attestation or Legalization of a document?
Attestation is the process of getting your documents, educational, non-educational and commercial documents like birth/marriage/degree/agreements/contracts etc. certified for use in foreign countries.
Why is Attestation/ Legalization/Authentication required for certificates and original documents?
To certify the authenticity of documents, primarily for overseas travel/work permit/dependent and resident permit applications and for conducting commercial activities.
The use of a document post attestation varies depending on the type of documents, few of which are suggested below and this may or may not be an exhaustive list.
Educational documents – Are primarily used for the purpose of employment or higher studies abroad.
Non-Educational Documents – Birth/Marriage certificates/Sworn affidavits are the major type of non- educational documents which are attested for applying dependent/reunion visas etc. in addition to employment & higher studies.
Commercial Documents – Agreements/contracts between Indian and Foreign entities, Power of Attorney etc. are required to be attested for commercial, legal and third party representations.
What is an Apostille?
Apostille is a square shaped, computer generated stamp, affixed on the reverse of a document by the Ministry of External Affairs. It is acceptable in countries who follow the Hague convention and currently around 92 countries across the world are part of it. Unlike a regular MEA attestation, Apostille stamp does not require any further attestation from the embassy/high commission of the country where the document is to be submitted.
Does the Indian government accept photocopies of certificates for attestation?
Indian Government accepts only originals for attestation.