Getting a Chinese Apostille

Chinese Apostille

I received my first Chinese apostille today. It’s purpose is to authenticate a Chinese judgment for use in a US case. The process was a little bit more complicated and time-consuming than I would have wished, but it shows that the Apostille Convention is now in effect between the US and China not just in theory but in practice. A few things I learned along the way:

  • A Chinese judgment on its own cannot be enforced; the court must issue a certificate of enforceability. So you should obtain that document first before seeking an apostille, and you should have both the Chinese judgment and the certificate of enforceability authenticated by apostille. Why? Because it’s typically necessary in the US to show that a foreign judgment is final and enforceable in the foreign country.
  • The Chinese authority requires an English translation of the document if it for use in the United States. I don’t mean a translation that I provide. I mean that the Chinese authorities make their own translation. I am not sure of the basis for this requirement.
  • In our case, a Chinese notary certified that the judgment was a true copy of the judgment and that the translation was a true translation, and the apostilles authenticate the notary’s signatures.
  • The whole process took a few months. I expect that time to get better as the Chinese authorities get more and more experienced issuing apostilles. The requirement of a translation did slow things down.

I would like to thank the very knowledgeable Flora Huang of Shanghai for handling the Chinese side of this project.

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