San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

New process simplifies authenticating foreign documents

As of Wednesday, authenticating foreign documents for official use in Costa Rica, and Costa Rican documents for use abroad, will be easier.

Costa Rica joined Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement for Legalization for Foreign Public Documents and is now making the process better with the use of the Apostille.

Apostille is a certification attached to an official document such as a birth certificate or criminal record that makes documents official in multiple countries.

The new procedure is valid for all documents from countries having adopted the Hague Convention. A total of 100 countries have signed the convention, including all European Union countries, the United States, Colombia, Panama, Honduras, Mexico, Japan and Hong Kong, among others. Canada and Nicaragua are not signatories of the convention.

The Costa Rican Foreign Ministry is now issuing the Apostille for Costa Rican documents in the same office as previous authentication processes (behind the Foreign Ministry, or “Casa Amarilla,” in Central San José). Foreign documents need to receive the Apostille in their country of origin.

On Wednesday, Costa Rica’s first Apostille certificate was issued. Costa Rican Foreign Minister Enrique Castillo presented Luis Felipe Alfaro, a university student traveling to Mexico, with an Apostille for his college grades.

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