China-Seychelles now only require Apostille for official documents |08 November 2023
Seychellois individuals conducting business with China, and vice versa, no longer require the services of the consular office to obtain official documents. As of yesterday, they only need to utilise the services of the Judiciary to obtain Apostilles for their documents.
This announcement was made during a joint press conference at the Supreme Court by the chargé d’affaires of the Chinese embassy in Seychelles, Mu Jianfeng, and the Registrar of the Judiciary of Seychelles, Juliana Esticot.
Consequently, starting from yesterday, the Chinese embassy in Seychelles will discontinue consular authentication services. For documents issued by Seychelles intended to be sent to China's mainland, all applications for Apostilles should be directed to the Registrar of the Supreme Court. The Apostille is a certificate that verifies the authenticity of the person who has signed the document and the seal and stamp placed on the document.
China submitted the instrument of accession for The Convention on Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, the depository authority of the Convention, signifying that China formally joined the Convention on March 8, 2023. The Convention became effective for China on November 7, 2023.
This means that public documents issued by authorities in mainland China will no longer require Consular Legalisation by the Chinese side or the embassy of China. Instead, these public documents should directly apply for Apostille.
The primary purpose of the Convention is to simplify procedures for the use of public documents in other countries, thus facilitating international economic cooperation and people-to-people exchanges. The covered public documents include a wide range of documents such as business documents, birth or marriage certificates, police character certificates, government-issued permits, contracts, litigation documents, passports and more.
Mr Mu explained that “these documents, when originating in Seychelles and intended for use in China, must go through the process of legalisation, which involves several procedures. As of November 7, public documents within the scope of the Convention issued by relevant Seychelles authorities only need to apply for a Seychelles Apostille before they can be sent to China's mainland for use. There is no need to apply for consular authentication by the Seychelles side and the Chinese embassy in Seychelles. Similarly, public documents within the scope of the Convention sent from China to Seychelles for use will no longer require consular authentication by China and the Seychelles embassy in China but will instead require Apostilles”.
For her part, the Registrar, Ms Esticot, outlined the procedures related to Apostille stating that documents brought in by 10:30am from Monday to Friday can be collected by 1:30pm on the same day. However, if submitted after 10:30am, they will be available for collection the following day starting at 9:00am. In urgent cases, same-day collection is possible for documents or individuals from Praslin or La Digue.
The Registrar noted that “all Apostilles have a unique number, and the serial number provides details about who signed the document, including the notary and public servant”. Each document costs R250. Apostilles are applied per document, not per page, and not all documents require Apostilles. “The public is guided on the various procedures and has expressed satisfaction with the process thus far,” she stated.
The chargé d'affaires emphasised that the implementation of the Convention in China signifies China's commitment to further opening up to the world. Over the past 40 years, China's development has presented significant opportunities globally. In the past decade, China contributed more than 30% to world growth and currently serves as the major trade partner for over 140 countries and regions.
Mr Mu added the Convention's implementation in China is a catalyst for economic cooperation between China and Seychelles.
“As one of the world's offshore company centres, we believe Seychelles can play an important role in facilitating commercial activities between China and other countries. The Convention's implementation in China will bring tangible benefits to our peoples, saving both time and money due to simplified procedures. Complex procedures can sometimes deter people from pursuing important matters. With these new procedures, we hope our people will be more proactive in their endeavours,” he said.
The public can contact the Registrar of the Supreme Court for further inquiries about the new procedure.
Photo by Louis Toussaint