Our clients often ask “What are Apostille services?” Here, we will answer that question and explain how the process works and explain its benefits. The Hague Convention Apostille, or simply Apostille, is a procedure that simplifies the legalization of documents to verify their authenticity. It essentially makes the documents valid internationally. The Apostille meaning in French translates to “certification.” An international certification, it is most comparable to the domestic validation of documents known as notarization. If the origin country and the receiving country are Hague convention members, an Apostilled document does not have to be notarized.
The Apostille was introduced as an alternative to legalization, through the Hague Convention of October 5, 1961. If a state hasn’t signed the Convention, it must have a process for certifying foreign legal documents. An Apostille simplifies the process because legalization requires a document to be certified by a foreign ministry in the origin country and the foreign ministry of the government of the country it will be used, meaning it must be certified twice.
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Apostilles authenticate the seals and signatures of state officials that are placed on various types of public documents. To receive an Apostille, a document must be issued or certified by an officer recognized by the issuer of the Apostille. This can be a document signed by a notary public in a U.S. state. Not all document offices are directly recognized, meaning the appropriate procedure must be followed to make a document eligible for an Apostille, which can vary from state to state and country to country.
The purpose of an Apostille is to certify documents so they’re recognized by Hague Convention members, so double-certification is eliminated. A certified document recognized by one member country is valid in another. A stamp or printed form, the Apostille itself has ten numbered fields with a title written in French. The Convention requires this to make the Apostille valid. The information added to the fields can be in the issuing authority’s official language or a second language.
Once a document gets an Apostille, you will receive a certificate. This document will state the origin country, who signed it, and what their role is. It will also identify whose seal/stamp the document bears. The exact location of certification, date, and record number are included as well, as is, most importantly, an official seal and signature.
To prepare documents for an Apostille, they must first be notarized by either the clerk of a county court where a notary public is commissioned or, for notaries public commissioned through the state, documents must be certified by the secretary of state. Documents certified in a county court must then be notarized by the state.
The correct notarizations are required before submitting documents. To ensure your request is processed, receive the original document, and then get it notarized and certified by a clerk of court. Next, get it certified at the state level. Any documents that require county and state certification must be dated such that the clerk of court certification is completed before that of the secretary of state.
Our certified Apostille agents can get Apostilles and Embassy Legalizations on any U.S. document you need to use overseas. We manage the entire process for documents, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, passports, driver’s licenses, transcripts, corporate documents, powers of attorney, police reports, and more. Our notaries are licensed by the State of New York, and we offer mobile and virtual notary services. Apostille International serves all 50 states. Call 844-606-8719 or request your free quote online.