In order to be able to move around abroad, the French public documents must initially be the subject, except in the case of an exemption, of an apostille or legalization, to confirm the veracity of the signature and the quality of the signatory.

The apostille, provided for by the Hague Convention dated October 5, 1961, is a unique simplified formality: it consists, after verification of the quality of the seal and the signature of the author of the document, in the affixing on the act itself of a stamp, conforming to a model annexed to the aforementioned convention. The issuance of apostilles (and legalizations) has been profoundly modified to relieve the general prosecutors of the courts of this formality for the benefit of the notary (with some exceptions) and to dematerialize the procedure.