April 21, 2024

The Department of Foreign Affairs is now offering an electronic Apostille (e-Apostille) service for birth and marriage certificates as well as certificate of non-marriage (Cenomar), making the Philippines the first country in Southeast Asia to offer such to the public.

The authentication system, available at apostille.gov.ph, will link the Philippine Statistics Authority e-certificate with the-Apostille, which will then be transmitted to the applicant or end-user electronically.

The DFA said the e-Apostille will be released immediately as soon as it receives the PSA e-certificate.

There are 126 contracting parties to the Apostille Convention which should accept e-Apostilles, but the DFA advised users to check the requirements of the requesting party in the foreign country that has requested the Apostille.

End-users in foreign countries can then check the Philippine e-Apostille using the online e-Apostille verification page at the DFA website or view the e-Apostille using a PDF reader.

For now, the service is only available for PSA civil registry documents via PSA Helpline but will soon cover other public documents in the next phase of the implementation, the DFA said.

The DFA developed the Philippine e-Apostille service in accordance with the technical standards set by the Hague Conference on Private International Law.

The DFA-Office of Consular Affairs formally launched the new system on March 19 after a study visit in Spain and an online conference with the UK Competent Authorities regarding e-Apostille implementation.

“It is noteworthy to mention that the Philippines was the first country in ASEAN to accede to the Apostille Convention. We have continued our leadership in this area by being the first in ASEAN and the third in the Asia-Pacific region to fully implement the electronic Apostille,” DFA Usec. Antonio Morales said during the launch.

Consular Affairs Asec. Adelio Angelito Cruz said the e-Apostille is in line with the DFA’s aim to create end-to-end digital systems for its consular services and provide easy access to the public wherever they may be.

E-payment options are available for PSA e-certificates via the PSA Helpline page while e-payment for the e-Apostille can be made via the LandBank Link.biz portal.

The public will continue to have the option to apply for a paper Apostille for PSA certificates and other public documents since other countries will still require paper-based Apostilles, especially those from Non-Contracting Parties to the Apostille Convention.

Since 2019, the DFA has issued over two million paper Apostilles, more than 40 percent of which are PSA civil registry documents.

Morales expects this number to increase as more Filipinos visit their families and pursue higher education, career advancement, and business opportunities abroad. – PNA