The Office of Consular Affairs, under the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) recently released a public advisory, informing the public that the agency would no longer issue Authentication Certificates starting 14 May 2019. In its place the DFA will attach an Apostille certificate to all legal documents as proof of authentication for use in a member country.
According to the advisory, if the country of destination of the authenticated documents is an official member of the Apostille Convention, the authentication of concerned Consulate General will no longer be required after the DFA has authenticated the documents.
Once an Apostille certificate is attached, any legal document executed in Apostille-member territories to be used in the Philippines does not need to be authenticated by the Philippine Embassy or Consulate. However, the existing authentication process still applies in non-member countries.
This means that the documents of a foreigner from a non-member country needs to be authenticated by the Philippine Embassy before this can be used. Legalization by any concerned Foreign Embassy is still required if the territory of destination for the documents is not a bona fide member of the Apostille Convention.
DFA-approved authentication fees will remain at Php 100.00 per document for regular processing while an authentication fee of Php 200.00 will be charged for expedited processing. The number of contracting parties to the Apostille Convention was updated last September 2018.
The purpose of the Apostille Convention
The Apostille Convention is an international treaty created by the Hague Conference on Private International Law, which was intended to nullify the legalization requirements for all foreign public documents among the co-member states. It contains the process through which any document issued in one of the signatory countries can be validated for any legal purpose in all other Apostille-contracting parties.
With the Apostille Convention, the entire legalization process of public documents has been simplified in one specialized certificate. The Apostille certificate will be registered, dated and assigned with an official document number.
When did the Philippines become an official member?
The Philippines officially joined the Apostille Convention last 19 September 2018 upon depositing the instrument of accession at the headquarters of the HCCH through the Philippine Embassy in The Netherlands. The instrument of accession was formally handed over by Ambassador to Hague Jaime Victor Ledda to Coos ‘t Hoen, Head of the Treaties Division, Legal Affairs Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.
The inclusion of the Philippines to the Apostille Convention concurred with the 125th– anniversary celebration of HCCH which was established in 1893. The Philippine Supreme Court Associate Justices Alexander G. Gesmundo, Marvic Mario Victor F. Leonin, and Noel G. Tijam witnessed the accession ceremony.
For the full implementation of the Apostille Convention, the Office of the Consular Affairs will be the sole authority to handle it. However, some provisions of the rules, referring to the use of foreign public documents will be reviewed by the Supreme Court.
AUTHENTICATION APPLICATION AND CERTIFICATE VERIFICATION
Download the Authentication Application form here.
Authentication Certificates may be verified here.
The validity of authenticated certificates are for five (5) years, unless specified by the attached document.
- All applications should be made in person by the applicant except under certain circumstances.
- Applications not paid within 24 hours shall be disposed of.
- All unclaimed DFA Authentication Certificates will be disposed of three (3) months from the scheduled date of release.
- Processed documents subject for verification will only be authenticated upon validation of the authenticity of the document.
- Processed documents that are not in order or pending documents will only be authenticated upon compliance of the Authentication requirements.
- Applications will be accepted from 7AM to 4PM.