An Apostille is a form of authentication certificate issued to documents for use in countries that participate in the Hague Apostille Convention of 1961. An Apostille enables a public document or a notarized document issued in one country to be recognized as valid in another country.
An Apostille is attached to your original document to verify its authenticity. The Secretary of State issues Apostilles on documents originated in that state.
All 50 states of the USA and the Federal Government (US Department of State – Office of Authentication) are authorized to issue an Apostille.
The Hague Apostille Convention, currently consisting of 117 member countries, was created to simplify the process of legalization of documents for universal use among the convention participants. An Apostille issued by a competent authority in a country – a member of the Hague Convention is recognized as a legal document by all member countries. To authenticate your public document, you need to contact a specific authority. For instance, if your document needs to be notarized (like Power of Attorney), then the apostille will authenticate the Notary’s seal and signature. The Notary in this case will be a competent public authority. For vital records (such as Birth, Death, or Marriage certificates) the competent authority would be the County Clerk or the State Registrar.
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!
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