Consular legalization is the formality by which the diplomatic or consular organ affirm the reliability of the final signature and seal on a notarial certificate or document executed by relevant organ. Consular legalization enables the notarial certificate or relevant document to be recognized as valid in another country.
In accordance with international practices, diplomatic or consular organ is responsible only for the authenticity of the signature and seal of the notary office and those of the relevant organ placed on the document while the organ concerned who accepts the document shall be responsible to examine the authenticity and legality of the content of the document.
I. China’s Consular Legalization organs
The Consular legalization organs in China are the Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Affairs Offices of relevant provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government. Chinese Embassies and Consulates in foreign countries are China’s consular legalization organs abroad.
II. Procedures on consular legalization
A. Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
1. The following certificates shall be legalized by the Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
a. Notarial certificates executed by China’s notary offices authorized to provide foreign-related services;
b. Certificates executed by some specific organs in China:
(1) Certificates of origin and commercial invoices issued by Agencies for Quality Supervision and Inspection and Quarantine in China.
(2) Certificates of origin, detailed lists of goods for delivery, formal invoices, specification certificates, weight memos, packing lists, bills of lading and insurance policies issued or attested by China Council for the Promotion of International Trade and its local branches in provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities directly under the central government, and open cities.
2. Requirements for application
a. Notarial certificates of enterprises and organizations and commercial certificates executed by organs specified in A.1.b may be applied directly to the Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for legalization.
b. Notarial certificates for private purpose may be applied to the Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for legalization through the following organs:
(1) Foreign Affairs Offices of the provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities directly under the central government and some cities specially designated in the stat plan (Harbin, Changchun, Shenyang, Dalian, Jinan, Qingdao, Wuhan, Chengdu, Xi’an, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Xiamen, Nanjing, Qinhuangdao)
(2) Visa Office of China Travel Service
Address: No.8 Dong Jiao Min Xiang, Dong Cheng District, Beijing
Zip code: 100005
Legalization Office Telephone: 010-6559.3748 or 6512.4896
Legalization Mailing Telephone: 010-6559.3747
(3) Beijing Chang Hongqiao Foreign Economic Cooperation Consulting and Services Co. Ltd.
Address: No.13 Dong Jiao Min Xiang, Dong Cheng District, Beijing
Zip code. 100005
Telephone: 010-6526.5271 or 6526.5278
c. Foreign citizens may apply for consular legalization through Foreign Embassies in China or directly to the Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China.
d. The applicants shall fill out Application Form for Legalization.
3. Consular legalization by Foreign Embassies in China shall be applied through Service Bureau for the Foreign Ministry and Overseas Missions. However, foreign citizens may apply directly to the Foreign Embassies in China for legalization.
4. Legalization fee standards (unit: RMB):
a. Consular Department’s authentication fee:
(1) Civil certificate: RMB50 yuan,
(2) Commercial certificate: RMB100 yuan
(3) Urgent fee: RMB50 yuan
b. Service Bureau’s Handling Fee: RMB60 yuan
Service Bureau’s Urgent fee: RMB30 yuan
c. The applicants are kindly requested to inquire the new legalization fee standards to the Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs due to the frequent adjustments of legalization fees by Foreign Embassies in China.
5. The Division of Legalization of the Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Address: Suite 708 Prime Tower, No. 22 Chaoyangmen Wai Street, Beijing
Zip code: 100020
Office Hour: 9:00-11:30 a.m. (Mon.-Fri. Excluding public holidays )
Telephones for Inquiry:
Recorded Message: +86 10-6588 9760 or 6588.9761 or 6588 9762
Manual Service: 010-6588 9763
B. Foreign Affairs Offices of the People’s Governments of the provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government in the Consular Districts of Foreign Consulates in China (hereafter called Foreign Affairs Office)
At present, there are twenty Foreign Affairs Offices authorized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with consular legalization as follows:
Foreign Affairs Offices of Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui, Fujian, Guangdong, Hainan, Yunnan, Sichuan, Guizhou, Hunan, Hubei, Jiangxi, Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning and Shandong Provinces, Foreign Affairs Offices of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Inner-Mongolia Autonomous Region, the Foreign Affairs Offices of Shanghai and Chongqing Municipalities.
Foreign Affairs Offices may legalize certificates, which are executed by the notary offices and the specific organs mentioned in A.1. in the above-mentioned provinces, autonomous region and municipalities, and which will be used in the sending states of Foreign Consulates.
C. Chinese Embassies and Consulates in Foreign Countries
Chinese Embassies and Consulates shall legalize notarial certificates or documents which are executed by notarial offices or specific organs in foreign countries, and which will be used in China.
1. The notarial certificates or documents, executed in the country which has diplomatic relation with China, shall be legalized first by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or its authorized organ of this country and then legalized by the Chinese Embassy or Consulate in this country before being used in China.
2. The notarial certificates or documents, executed in the country with which China has no diplomatic relation, shall be legalized first by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or its authorized organ of this country and second by the Embassy or Consulate of a third country which has diplomatic relation with China in this country , and finally by the Chinese Embassy or Consulate in that third country before being used in China.
3. Legalization fee standards could be acquired from the Chinese Embassies and Consulates in foreign countries where the applicants reside.