Printers are really good at making copies of documents. Businesses and Governments around the world needed a way to tell if a document was genuine. Originally an international system called authentication was created. This allowed governments to stamp documents that they could verify were true and correct. Governments could authenticate documents that were issued by the government like birth certificates and marriage certificates. For documents that were not issued by the government the government relied on a network of notaries to verify the authenticity of the document.

There was only one problem with the authentication system and that was that documents that were authenticated needed to be legalised by the country where the documents were going. The legalisation could be done at the countries embassies which are located in major cites although smaller countries may only have one embassy to support a whole region.

The Hague Convention of 1961 proposed a new system to replace the authentication system which would not require documents to be legalised at embassies. Many countries signed onto the Hague Convention and began issuing apostilles. Having an apostille on a document meant that a document did not need to be legalised at a countries embassy after being authenticated. Some countries to this day have not signed onto the Hague Convention and still require a document to be authenticated and legalised.

You can see a list of countries that accept apostilles here: List of Countries accepting an Apostille

Getting an apostille still has the same requirements as getting an authentication. Documents that are issued by the government can be directly apostilled. Documents that are not issued by the government need to be verified by notaries. Since 2018 documents that were translated by a NAATI translator can also be apostilled.