This is in addition to the people get a Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) attestation (commonly known as APOSTILLE [and commonly misspelled as APOSTLE]).
This info is current as of April 20, 2009.
Where is it done?
It is done in the Consular, Passport and Visa (CPV) division of the MEA. It is located on TILAK MARG. There is a big Blue sign on TILAR MARG inscribed with capital English Letters in white marking the entrance of the CPV-MEA. To get there take the metro to Pragati Maidan. From there ask someone to tell you to guide you to India Gate (also to Patiala House). You should also see India Gate as the metro travels outside the tunnel in that stretch). The CPV is on TILAK MARG and a walking distance of about 1.5 KM or 2 bus stops (a 3 Rupee ride). For new people I recommend walking the distance. The auto will not like to take you there as it is a max 10-20 rupee fare. The meter doesn’t even tick it is so short a distance.
What is the complete address of the CPV-MEA?
Ministry of External Affairs
CPV Division (Attestation Cell)
Patiala House Annexe
What time and days does it open for acceptance and delivery?
The documents are accepted Monday-Friday (except holidays) from 0930-1200 9:30AM-12PM) and are delivered the same day around 1500-1700 (3PM-5PM).
Does it cost anything?
Yes it does. It costs at the time of this writing 50 Rupees. Cash is NOT accepted. The ONLY ACCEPTABLE form of payment is an “Indian Postal Money Order” for Rupees 50. It should be drawn in favor of “PAO MEA, New Delhi”. You can buy this from any post office in any part of India. At the moment the Postal Order is also sold in the premises of the CPV-MEA but only after 10 AM. People do a “black” of the Money Order to the tune of Rupees 200 sometimes (as the gossip went in the line/queue). I would strongly recommend you to get the money order before you join the line. A better idea is to buy it from your own city.
What do I need? Just the original document?
Well duh! The answer is no. You need a verified and countersigned document. In my case it was my marriage certificate issued from Chandigarh. It was first counter signed by the SDM then the DC office and then the JOINT HOME SECRETARY. The MEA actually also countersigns the document based on the Home Department’s signature. You also need a photocopy of the document after it has been countersigned by your respective home department, and you need the 50 Rupee money order.
Can this be done by mail?
Yes and no. The right answer is NO. Someone needs to stand in line for you (usually 1-2 hours) and then collect the document also. This can be you, your friend or a host of touts that make a living by doing this for you and returning the document by courier. So the answer now seems YES if you have a friend or a known tout there. The tout rates at the time of writing to just get the attestation done are about 100 Rupees (they will tell you hoe they want the money transferred to them). If the document has a problem, means you can’t get it signed by the SDM/DC/Home Dept then of courser the rates are high (about 1000 Rupees, but worth it as they save you the headaches, but I would strongly be against that unless the time factor is against you or you cannot get the document countersigned).
How much time it took you to get your document done?
Except for the wasted trip to Delhi for the lack of the above information, it took me 2 days for the SDM, same day for the DC Office and the Home Dept. But this is for Chandigarh. For other parts of the country it will be difficult.
Do I need to get my documents countersigned?
The bottom line is YES. Be it any certificate. The educational certificates like mark-sheets have a special procedure. There is an older post just like this which is also a must read before you do something (http://abisurd.blogspot.com/2007/10/attestation-by-mea-ministry-of-external.html).
Describe the Apostille, use, and validity for me?
An Apostille is a government issued stamp or sticker applied to the original document thus legalizing it in all the signatories of the Hague convention which took place on October 5, 1961. Yes, that single stamp/sticker has so much power. The Apostille issued in New Delhi is a sticker about 10x10 cm (don’t panic if the size increases or decreases). It is a colorful sticker. It has printed material on it stating who issued it and why. Then 2 stamps are also affixed on the sticker so that you cannot peel it off and put on another document. It is put either on the document or on the back of it. IT CANNOT BE PUT ON A LAMINATED DOCUMENT. So please do not get that document laminated just yet. The Apostille is valid only for sometime in certain countries (to the tune of 6 months). They may ask for a fresh stamp and Delhi people are really fussy about revalidating an originally issued Apostille sticker. Better get the sticker issued about a month before you intend to use the document for any embassy, study abroad, etc.
Any exceptions for tout and procedural prices?
A tout told me that “Divorce Decrees” and “Adoption papers” are very costly. She told me that they are in the tune of 10,000-30,000 Rupees. I don’t need them but I am just listing it for the purpose of knowledge. I cannot confirm this. If you are spending that amount better to go in person or have a known person make that query for you.
The telephone number of the MEA is really now answered by no one. You will be pleasantly surprised to find always having to hear a fax tone since the number +91-11-2338-7931 is a Tel/Fax.