The Convention applies to public documents. Whether or not a document is a public document is determined by the law of the country in which the document was issued. Countries typically apply the Convention to a wide variety of documents. Most Apostilles are issued for documents of an administrative nature, including birth, marriage and death certificates; documents emanating from an authority or an official connected with a court, tribunal or commission; extracts from commercial registers and other registers; patents; notarial acts and notarial attestations (acknowledgements) of signatures; school, university and other academic diplomas issued by public institutions.
The Apostille Convention does not apply to documents executed by diplomatic or consular agents.
The Convention also excludes from its scope certain administrative documents related to commercial or customs operations.