Apostille is a certificate which verifies and confirms the seal and signature of person who authenticated the document . Some people call this ‘Fast Legalization‘. There are designated authorities in every country to issue apostille certificates or legalizations. At the same time, countries’ designated authorities may turn around and designate other authorities that can produce the Apostilles.
Plain and simple: Apostille is a certificate issued under the Apostille Convention, authenticating the origin of a public document.
In the U.S. territory, Office of Authentications, U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. is the designated party to issue Federal Apostilles and validate the State’s Certifications. However, Apostilles for Vital Records, Notaries, School Transcripts and more, are all Apostille at State level.
The Apostilles ( aka Notarial Certification ) are commonly issued for the international validation of documents to be used abroad. Some of these documents may be related to adoption cases, International commercial documentation, for official documents related to vital statistics that will be presented overseas, court or land records, school documents, patent applications and more.
Not all countries can issue an Apostille, but only the countries that had signed ‘Hague agreement for abolishing the need for public legalization on Apostilled Documents‘. Once apostille is obtained, it is automatically considered ‘valid’ and ‘acceptable’ in all the countries members of the Hague convention. Some small territories or notably some countries, very well recognize apostille, even though they cannot issue apostille (simply because they are not members of Hague Convention 1961). See: Hague Convention Website.
If the country where the document will be used is not a party to the Convention, you will have to begin the cumbersome, time-consuming process of obtaining a series of certifications known as the “Legalization“.
Most likely, documents authenticated by public notaries, or documents issued by a Government entity or State, will not be valid on a foreign country. You will be asked to obtain an ‘Apostille’ or a ‘Legalization’. Then, and only then, the document will be considered valid overseas. Some of the most common documents used overseas that require Apostilles:
The following are considered as public deeds within the meaning of that Hague Convention:
“Apostille” (pronounced a-pos-TEE, not a-pos-TEAL or a-posTILL-ee) is of French origin. It comes from the French verb “apostiller”,
which derives from the old French word postille meaning “annotation”, and before it the Latin word postilla, a variation of the word postea, which
means “thereafter, afterwards, next”.
Article 7 of the Hague convention provides for the use of a standardized authentication certificate called an “apostille” and consists of the following:
Being a Member of the Hague Conference should not be confused with being a Contracting State to the Apostille Convention (or any other Hague Convention for that matter). A Member does not have to be (or become) party to the Apostille Convention and a Contracting State to the Apostille Convention does not have to be (or become) a Member of the Hague Conference.
Not all Members of the Hague Conference have joined the Apostille Convention.
Legalization was the original process used to have documents from one country valid on a foreign country.
However, this process became obsolete after The Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents (HCCH 1961 Apostille Convention) and replacing those with an Apostille, which facilitates the use of public documents abroad.
The purpose of this Convention was to abolish the traditional requirement of legalization, replacing the often long and costly legalization process with the issuance of a single Apostille certificate by a Contracting State to the Apostille Convention in the country where the document originates.
The establishment of Apostille Services, mostly in Democratic countries, has facilitated the exchange of legal documents among countries that have signed the agreements stablished during the Hague Convention of 5 October 1961.
Those Contracting State that have not joined the Apostille Convention Agreement, must continue following the Legalization process.
The different situations we may foresee:
1. Apostille Service. If there is a document that will be used overseas, where State of Origen & Destination, both have joined the Apostille Convention, then all Requirements of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents of 1961 (henceforth HC-1961) are voided. The authenticity of the document should be certified with an Apostille by the competent institution of the relevant state according to provisions of the Convention. The document bearing an Apostille is not subject to any other confirmation by any Diplomatic nor consular missions.
Apostille Service Example. A Birth Certificate originated in the U.S. would be used overseas into a Contracting State to the Apostille Convention, lets say Spain, Italy, etc.
Enclose the document to be authenticated. An original certified copy or certificate of status of a public document is required. A photocopy is not acceptable. Notarized documents must contain an up to date full notarial statement and the original notary public’s signature, stamp and seal.
After presenting the document to the Department of State’s authorities, They will issue an Apostille and attach it to the original document.
2. Legalization (Certification) Services. Either party, State of Origen or Destination are not a Contracting State to the Apostille Convention. In this case, we shall follow the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents of 1961 (henceforth HC-1961). The document has to be legalized by the Foreign Affairs Ministry in the originating country, or it has to be legalized by an office assigned by the Country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Consular Department.
Legalization (Certification) Service Example. A Birth Certificate originated in the U.S. would be used overseas, lets say Rusia, China, Cuba, etc.
Follow same process as with Apostilles. However, Department of State’s authorities will not issue an Apostille but a Certification aka Legalization document and attach it to the original document.
Original document & Certification shall be presented to the Office of Authentications, U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C.
They will produce an additional document that would be attached to the previous two documents.
Immediately after, all these documents shall be presented in the foreign Country’s Embassy or to their Business Council, which is the premier business advocacy organization. Business Council are dedicated to strengthening the economic and commercial relationship between the originating and receiving country.
I will take the Florida Apostille Process as an Example….
The only entity in Florida approved to issue an Apostille is the:
Florida Department of State
The Centre of Tallahassee
2415 N. Monroe Street, Suite 810
Tallahassee, FL 32303
There is no other entity capable of producing an Apostille in Florida.
If you send them your documents by mail, the regular turn around is 15-25 days.
If you walk in, the turn around is from 24 up to 48 hours.
We walk into the FDS all our Apostilles daily. Our turn around is 24-48 hours. Sometimes we get them same day. But that’s not often. Most of the time we get them next day.
If you walk into an office that provides Apostille Services and this vendor immediately hands you an Apostille, or offers you a next day service, you shall be suspicious, be aware of the facts I just mentioned before.
If someone is giving you an Apostille as soon as you walk into their office, most likely that Apostille was issue for another document. This is a forged Apostille, it is a fraud.
This vendor is committing a crime. If you buy him this document, the receiving party overseas may face criminal charges and pay consequences for using forged Apostilles. Please do not fall into those type of scams.
Its not uncommon to have documents presented overseas. As we already know, many of these foreign countries have as their official language, any but English. So if you wish to present your document there, the paperwork shall be accompanied by an official translated document. And that’s when we upgrade our services, providing:
A certified translation is one which fulfills the requirements in the State of Destination, enabling the translation to be used in formal procedures. These requirements vary widely from country to country. We translate and fulfill International Requirements.
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A translation is when a word is taken from an original language and converted into the same word in a different language. For example, the Hebrew word erets translates into English as earth, because they have the same meaning, so we English speakers only read “earth.”
A transliteration is when any given word is simply pronounced the same in both languages, because there is no other word that have the same meaning. So we will read and pronounce it equally in both languages. An example is Hallelujah. Hallelujah is a transliteration of a Hebrew word that literally means, Praise God (Hallel = praise, Jah = God). Instead of being translated as “Praise God,” this word has been left to us to pronounce as it would be in the original Hebrew and continues to be a powerful expression of praise.
We provide Translations Services and also will obtain the Apostille for your documentation.
Many of our Customers are people coming or leaving the US. In both events, the most common papers translated are:
If you are in the process of Asylum or TPS, and you have a document that is not in English, you are required to provide a certified translation of the document in English. USCIS will not consider any document on a foreign language that it’s not accompanied with its correspondent certified Translation.
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Professional translators and interpreters have the education, experience, and know-how to comprehend the subtleties in one language as well as transfer them to an additional.
The best expert will have solid expertise of your sector and also will certainly recognize just how to culturally adapt your content for the target audience you are trying to reach.
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Any U.S. Certified Translation, by itself, is valid within the continental USA. This certification will not be valid overseas, unless this document has been Apostilled or Legalized.
We are a leading company of extensive language remedies. Our job viewpoint is based on consumer complete satisfaction and also an enthusiasm for excellence. Our Team we make use of a job technique that ensures clear and also effective communication in all instances. We offer a complete series of linguistic solutions: public and also personal translations, improvements, revisions, transcriptions. For translations generated by us in the U.S.A., which will certainly exist worldwide, we offer Legalization and also Apostille services. In addition, we are Website developers and also we offer the service of positioning websites in Google.
Warrantee is limited to the value of the work we have performed.