Tips for Certificate Attestation in India for NRIs, PIOs & OCIs
Attestation marks legal approval
Attestation implies validating a document. A certificate is just a piece of paper until it is attested by the authority. Consider an example of medical certificate. As per government rule, a government employee submitted medical certificate for taking medical leave. On finding no attestation of the MBBS doctor, his senior rejected its acceptance.
A signatory holds authority. His/her power to attest documents depicts it. Government, semi-government and recognized entities endure legal authorities in India.
Non-residents of India (NRIs), Person of Indian Origin (PIO), Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) and Indian nationalists would require certificate attestation services at any phase of life. The emigrants visit the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) for legalizing their documents. It’s the topmost authority in India. But before, they have to visit some other authorities at district and state level.
The authorities cross examine originals and photocopies. Subsequently, they verify and stamp their approval. The stamp marks authentication. Thereby, an individual can emigrate easily. It’s legal also. But a person with unauthenticated documents can be detained. Alternatively, the foreign police penalize him/her.
MEA provides two types of attestations:
Apostille: The Hague Convention was setup on October 5, 1961 for the global community. India has been its member since 2005. It renders attestation facility to its members. Approximately 105 countries have joined it. It simplifies the complicated procedure of attestation. Once getting its approval, one can emigrate to any member-country hassle freely.
It permits attestation on personal and educational certificates. These include:
• Birth certificate
• Death certificate
• Marriage certificate
• Power of Attorney
• Matriculation & secondary education certificate
Normal attestation: It covers member-countries of the Hague Convention as well as other ones. But this procedure follows hierarchical approval. The applicant must have original certificates along. Then, all the documents are verified.
This process has various levels. Union territory/State authentication is its first level. Its home department or General Administration Department validates personal documents, including birth certificate, death certificate, marriage certificate, cenomar and affidavits. But the education-based certificates are stamped by the Education Department of the concerned state/union territory. The Chambers of Commerce authenticates commercial documents. Government has set up regional centers in all states and union territories.
MEA is the apex authority for attestation. For final validation, all documents are sent to it. Its head-office is located in the national capital, New Delhi. This legal government body legalizes documents. It conducts no personal verification. It marks legal approval on the basis of the state/ union territory government’s stamp. Thus, it is exempted from the responsibility of the documents’ content.
Outsourcing for attestation:
None loves delays. Attestation can take a month or more. So mostly, people prefer outsourcing over in-person involvement. The advent of digitization has speeded every work. Outsourcers use this technology benefit. In return, they charge minimum.
Now, the MEA does not accept attestation application from the applicants directly. It has appointed outsourcers intermediaries. They collect documents and deliver attested papers. The apex authority, also, charges fee for validating documents.