Apostille China: How companies can legalise their certificates in China in the future
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Apostille China: How companies can legalise their certificates in China in the future

2 min.

From 8 November 2023, companies in China will be able to have documents that they want to use abroad certified faster and more easily. The Ecovis experts in Germany and China explain the details.

Good news for companies. From the end of this year, the process of certifying documents will be a lot more simple. This includes essential public documents for opening a company and liquidation. Application processes are expected to become 90 percent faster than in the past, when they could be a nerve-racking and time-consuming procedure of great significance for foreign businesses in China.

What is the Apostille Convention?

The Hague Convention of 5th October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents, or “Apostille Convention”, is an international treaty simplifying the authentication process of public documents for use in foreign countries. It has been ratified in over 120 countries worldwide.

In practice it means that if member A issues a public document, it can be used for legal purposes in member B through an apostille from a relevant authority designated by the issuing country.

Our colleagues at ECOVIS Ruide China in Shanghai will be happy to provide you with the certifications you need.
Richard Hoffmann, Lawyer, Ecovis Heidelberg, Germany

Why has China joined the Convention and what is the current process?

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs states that this will facilitate international trade and heavily reduce the time and cost involved. It is estimated that the process will become up to 90 percent shorter.

This is the current process for the authentication of a German certificate / public document:

Source: Ecovis

In future, the complex and expensive legalisation requirements will be exchanged via an apostille.

How foreign companies can benefit

Notarial acts or attestations are essential when setting up companies or closing them down, for litigation, commercial register extracts, patents etc. These and more are all covered by the convention, as well as documents for the day-to-day operation of companies involved in cross-border businesses such as import-export. Normally, the accreditation and legislation process could take up to 3 months. Crucial documents for opening companies and liquidation took a long time to legalise and often came with problems along the way (documents being declined etc.). However, from November it should only be a couple of working days. Moreover, foreseeable deadlines will bring more stability for lawsuits and litigation. The changes are expected to provide great benefit to foreign businesses.

For further information please contact:

Richard Hoffmann, Lawyer, Ecovis Heidelberg, Germany
Email: richard.hoffmann@ecovis.com

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Contact us:

Richard Hoffmann
ECOVIS European China desk
Lenaustrasse 12
69115 Heidelberg
Phone: +49 6221 9985 639
ECOVIS Ruide Certified Public Accountants Co., Ltd.
Unit 302, Lujiazui Fund Tower,
1528, Century Avenue, Pudong New District
200122 Shanghai
Phone: +86 21 6105 7333