Know Your Rights: Getting an ‘apostille stamp’

Question: I was born in London and I have an Irish passport. I am getting married later this year in Dublin. I have been told that I must provide a birth certificate with an apostille stamp. My Irish fiancé has not been asked to produce this certificate. Why is this?

Answer: The Civil Registration Act 2004 requires both people getting married in the Republic of Ireland to provide evidence of their identities, civil status, age, and nationality. If either person was born outside of the State, an authenticated birth certificate is required. Since you were born in the United Kingdom, you need such a birth certificate, even if you are entitled to an Irish passport.

The Hague Convention (1961 ) specifies how a document issued in one of the signatory countries can be authenticated or certified for legal purposes in all the other signatory states. Such a certification is called an apostille (in French this means certification ). An apostille stamp is an international certification, like a notarisation in domestic law, which authenticates or legally certifies a document.

The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (including staff in Irish embassies, consulates and honorary consulates overseas ) can authenticate documents for Irish-born people getting married abroad.

In the UK apostille stamps are issued by the Legalisation Office of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO ). Visit fco.gov.uk/legalisation to find out more about the process. You can also email [email protected] or telephone +4420 7008 5959.

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre.

Know Your Rights has been compiled by Westmeath Citizens Information Service which provides a free and confidential service to the public. Tel: 0761 07 6610 Address: Athlone CIC, St Mary’s Square, Athlone, Co Westmeath.

Information is also available online at citizensinformation.ie and from the Citizens Information phone service, 0761 07 4000.

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