Public documents, such as birth, marriage or death certificates or even notarized documents, are sometimes needed to be used in foreign countries. But before these documents are used elsewhere, it must be authenticated.
An Apostille, is identified by unique reference number, dated and registered. The Apostille certificate is attached to an official legal document. It is used to verify that the document is genuine, contains the signature of a person who is recognized and authorized to act on behalf of the organization that issued the document.
You may be asked to provide legalized documents, attested documents, notarized documents, and certified documents. The Apostille certificate results in the paper being legalized for use in another country that is a member of the Hague Convention.
In the U.S., all 50 states and the Federal Government can issue an Apostille. The recognized standard Apostille contains a seal and 10 mandatory references: name of country from which the document emanates, name of person signing the document, the capacity in which the person signing the document has acted, in the case of unsigned documents, the name of the authority that has affixed the seal or stamp, place of certification date of certification, the authority issuing the certificate, number of certificate, seal or stamp of authority issuing certificate and signature of authority issuing certificate.
When a country is not a member of the Hague Convention, documents are typically legalized with the Apostille before then being processed by the local embassy. The embassy will then add further certification or stamps to ensure the document is valid in their country.
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