What does an apostle certify?
An apostille is a special certificate that authenticates the signature of a public official on a document intended for use outside of the country of its issue. An apostille confirms:
- The authenticity of the signature of the public official who signed the document,
- The capacity in which that public official acted, and
- When applicable, the identity of the stamp which the document bears (for example, a notary public seal)
An apostille never validates the contents of the document. You can only obtain an apostille on a document issued by a country – member of the Hague Apostille Convention and intended for use in a country- member of the Hague Apostille Convention. An apostille can never be used for the recognition of a document in the country where that document was issued. Apostille authentication is intended strictly for the use of public documents abroad.
Why do I need an apostille?
Apostille is required on public documents for the following most common reasons:
- Application for dual citizenship or permanent residency
- Study abroad
- Getting married abroad
- International adoption
- Opening a business abroad
- Settling inheritance
- Buying or selling property abroad, etc.
What documents can receive apostille?
There are three primary types of documents that need authentications:
- Private documents (individual or corporate);
- State/county-issued documents;
- Federally-issued documents.
Depending on the type of your document it can receive legalization by different authorities.
Private documents can be personal (ex: Power of Attorney) or corporate (ex: Articles of Incorporation) and may be issued an apostille by a designated authority, generally by the Secretary of State’s office.
Examples of private documents we obtain an apostille for:
- Articles of Incorporation
- Commercial Invoices
- Copy of a U.S. Passport (identification page only)
- Deeds of Assignment
- Home Study for Adoption
- Income Verification
- Power of Attorney
- Single Status Affidavit
- School Transcripts
State/county-issued documents may be issued an apostille by a designated authority, generally by the Secretary of State’s office. Apostille is always obtained from the state that issued a document. For example, if your document was issued in the state of Texas, only the state of Texas can apply apostille to your document.
Examples of state/county-issued documents we obtain an apostille for:
- Birth Certificates
- Death Certificates
- Divorce Decrees
- Judgments in state court cases
- Marriage Certificates
- Probate Wills
Federally-issued documents are usually signed by:
- American Consular Office
- Foreign Consul Diplomatic Official registered with the State Department Office of Protocol
- Judge Advocate
- Military Notary
- U.S. Federal Officer
Documents issued by U.S. federal agencies require authentication or apostille by the U.S. Department of State Authentication Office.
Examples of federally-issued documents we obtain authentication for:
- U.S. Department of Agriculture
- Animal/Plant Certification
- Animal Health certifications
- U.S. Department of Justice
- FBI – Background check
- U.S. Federal Court Documents
- U.S. Bankruptcy Court Documents
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
- Certificate of Foreign Governments
- Certificate of Pharmaceutical/Export
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security
- Immigration Certifications
- U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
Obtaining an apostille can be intricate. Avoid leaving this task for inexperienced staff or non-professionals who are not fully aware of the complexities of the apostille process and the unique requirements of certain countries. Your application may be rejected, and you lose time and money. Make a better choice!
Our experts are available Monday through Friday from 10.00 AM to 6.00 PM. Please call us at 1-770-447-0360 and we will answer all your questions and offer easy-to-follow detailed instructions.