The Apostille is a validation stamp ensuring that a particular document is recognized in certain foreign countries (countries that signed The Hague Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents).

Basically, a document is only valid in the country in which it was issued.  Validation for recognition in another country used to be a very complicated and time-consuming matter and involved, in hierarchical order, several authorities of the issuing country, and, as a final step, validation by the consulate of the country, in which the document was to be recognized.

In order to facilitate recognition of a document abroad, an international treaty regarding mutual recognition of documents was entered into by many countries, including the U.S. and Belarus. This treaty is called the The Hague Convention.

According to this treaty a document originating in one Convention country is recognized in all other Convention countries if it bears the so-called Apostille stamp, which is a validation performed by the superior office in the country and state where it was issued.  In the United States the Secretary of State and the Deputy Secretary of State of the individual U.S. states provides the Apostille.

The Embassy is not authorized to provide apostilles or assist in obtaining them.

If you have a document which needs an apostille, you should contact the relevant authority in the State where your document was issued.

• Information on apostilles on the State Department travel website, including the U.S. authorities that issue apostilles

Please note that where both countries have signed The Hague Convention, the Apostille procedure has to be followed.

If you need to obtain an apostille for a Belarusian document that you intend to use in the U.S., please see the page on legalizations of the Belarus Ministry for Foreign Affairs.