Apostille in Europe
Speaking about Europe we can surely say that all European countries are Hague Convention participating states. It means that official documents should be apostilled, for example, for Spain, Great Britain (UK), Italy, Germany, France, Portugal, Sweden, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Estonia, Russia, etc. It's supposed that an official document made, for example, in Slovakia should bear apostille stamp and then it can be used in Europe (EU and other states) as well as around the world in Hague Convention states.
What is special about apostille in Europe (including EU)? In general its form is similar to apostille stamps from states, other than European. However, such European countries as Spain, Estonia, Ukraine, Georgia and others provide electonic register of apostilles on certain categories of documents. Moreover, in Europe there are agreements between some countries simplifying the process of acceptance of official documents, meaning that some documents can be accepted even without apostille stamp. It's applied between Ukraine and Poland, Czech Republic and Ukraine, Russia and Belarus, Latvia and Lithuania, etc.
How fast is a document apostilled in Europe? Normally, it can take from 1 to 20 business days, depending on the country and document for apostille procedure. But averagely it can be ready within 2-5 business days.
Who certifies apostille stamp in European countries? As a rule, apostilled documents are certified by chiefs or other senior staff empowered to do these actions.
What is apostille for in Europe? In Europe, for instance, in Spain, Great Britain (UK), Italy, Germany, France, Portugal, Sweden, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Estonia, Russia, Finland, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, Croatia, etc., like in other countries of the world apostille just acknowledges signature, seal and capacities of the certifying officer and not its content.
How does it work to apostille official documents in Europe? You should present original documents to a competent authority and then get an apostilled document within a specified period of time. But some documents require a list of special procedures, that's why it's wiser to ask a translation company (translation agency) to prepare all the documents you need properly.