What is an Apostille?

Entrepreneur “X”

While preparing documents required to establish a business in Korea,

Entrepreneur “X” was told to obtain apostille certification on a number of

occasions. What is an Apostille and what functions does it serve?

What is an Apostille?


An apostille is the name for a certificate attached to a document to

verify that it is legitimate to use in other countries.

In this era of globalization, a document issued in a signatory country

to the Apostille Convention can be certified to be used in

other signatory countries, and an apostille-certified document is

recognized to carry the same effect as

an official document in the country concerned.

In Korea, the Apostille Convention entered into effect on July 14, 2007,

and as of May 2019, the convention had 117 member countries. 

Authority of the apostille certification


There is no case where a signatory country has entrusted

the authority of the apostille certification for documents originating

internally to its embassy located in another country.

Therefore, an apostille certificate should be issued in compliance

with the procedure defined by an authorized agency designated

by the country that issued the document.

The apostille certification is applied to “the original document”

in principle.

What about countries that are not

members of the Apostille Convention?


In the case of a country that has not signed the Apostille Convention,

documents issued in the country for use in Korea must be notarized

and then certified by the Korean Consulate in the country concerned.

Certification by the Korean Consulate is deemed valid only for countries

that have not signed the Apostille Convention, but documents from

signatories to the Apostille Convention must be

apostille-certified regardless.