Apostille certificates have a date of issue. This is clearly recorded in section 6 of the certificate. Whilst there is no expiry date we are often asked by customers “how long does an apostille last” or “when do they expire”.
An apostille issued by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office only has a date of issue. It does not have an expiry date once physically attached to a document. When an apostille is issued to a certificate it should always be valid for use overseas in countries that recognise the apostille. However, some organisations may request the apostille has been issued within a specific period of time.
Occasionally customers are asked by authorities overseas that a newer version of an apostille is issued to a document. Unfortunately there is no way of pinpointing exactly which authorities will do this and in some circumstances it is purely bureaucratic and without a logical reason.
There are documents that should be recently issued and therefore bear a newly issued apostille. Examples of this include criminal record checks and Certificates of No Impediment that confirm someone is free to marry. People’s circumstances change so requesting recent versions of these documents with an apostille is understandable. It is common that these documents will be rejected if they are over 6 or 12 months old.
There are documents that are a record of fact and do not change. Requesting newer versions of these documents or more recent apostilles is unnecessary. This includes documents such as birth, death and marriage certificates or company registration certificates. These documents do not change over a duration of time so requesting a new apostille does not change the document itself. Unfortunately you may find that an overseas authority will decide that they would prefer you to have a recently issued apostille affixed to your documentation to satisfy their requirements.
We recommend that if you are unsure on whether you require a newer version of an apostille, that you contact the authorities you are dealing with overseas to check on their procedures. Ultimately if someone requests a more recent apostille then you will probably have to accept their decision and order a new apostille for your document.