An apostille refers to an official certificate the government issues. It is normally added to documents so they can all be recognized when presented to other countries.
When a Department of States authenticates documents with a certification or an apostille, the department usually verifies that the individual who signed the documents has given credit to an official’s signature and seal.
Who Issues and Authenticates Apostilles
Every subscribing nation can designate authorities that can issue apostilles and certifications for their jurisdiction.
For instance, in the US, the Secretary of State of different states is appointed as the said authority. Some states, like Texas, have extended this authorization to include the division directors and the Deputy Secretary of State.
The Secretary of State can issue an apostille on documents that an individual on file has issued with this authority. This may include the following:
- Notaries public
- County clerks
- Statewide officials
Death and birth certificates that local registrars have issued recently should have been given out within the last three years so that the Secretary of State can issue apostilles. But the most competent authority when it comes to the issuance of an apostille that the federal government has issued is a clerk in a federal court.
Apostille agents are mandated to authenticate signatures and seals of officials on public documents, like court orders, birth certificates, or other documents that a federal agency issues by a foreign consul.
The same day apostille service involves agents certifying documents so they can be acknowledged in a foreign country belonging to the 1962 Hague Convention Treaty. Before submitting any documents, you will need to notarize the document in front of the notary public using a notary that county or state commissions.
Apart from that, you will also need to ensure signatures and seals are original. Apostille service agents don’t accept copies unless they are original certified copies.
Not to mention, every document in a foreign language should be notarized as the true translation and translated into English. A qualified and certified translator can do this.
The office of the Secretary of State has the authority to authenticate documents to use in foreign countries which a notary public has notarized.
The documents required for certifications or apostilles should be submitted to the authority office for proper review before the final submission. This helps to ascertain that the requirements for certifications or apostilles are all fulfilled.
Getting a Certificate or Apostille of Authentication
The first step in this process involves getting copies of the documents you need to be authenticated. For more information on where to get copies of important records, including marriage, birth, and death certificates, ensure you refer to the local authorities. The next steps in the process may involve the following:
- Having documents certified by a County Clerk or the State’s office.
- Submitting documents with the right certifications to the Department of State.
- Submitting prepaid envelopes for express delivery – this is optional.
Apostille service is important for the authentication process. It helps to confirm whether signatures and documents that foreign public authorities issue are genuine so they can be used legally.