What is apostille and do i need to translate it

Apostille from State Department

Apostille - an internationally accepted form for filling in information confirming the validity of a document (stamp “Apostille”). Apostille clearance is a simplified procedure for checking and certifying the legitimacy of documents exported abroad.

This procedure has been used since 1961, when the Hague Convention was adopted, abolishing the requirement of consular legalization of documents for signatories or acceding countries.

Why do you need an apostille?

Each country has its own legal and regulatory framework, its own procedures for processing and issuing official documents, which are valid only in the territory of their country. For recognition in one country of a document issued in another, there are special international procedures: authentication from the court and actual apostille from Secretary of State or State Department  if the country is not part of Apostille convention. In addition, in some countries it is sufficient to provide a notarized translation of the document.

What does an apostille look like?

Apostille - standardized form with details for filling. Sample forms and details regulated by the Hague Convention. Ways of putting an apostille varies by country. A wax seal, self-adhesive stickers and other apostille designs can be used in different countries. The difference of forms and methods is possible if it does not go beyond the limits of the Convention.

Where does the apostille work?

Apostille is recognized only in member countries of the Hague Convention. The list includes 193 countries and territories, including the USA, Great Britain, Germany, France, most other European countries. Here you can find all countries which are part of Apostille Convention.

Recognition of the apostille is mandatory for parties to the Convention and countries that have joined it. However, many states retain the right not to recognize the apostille if it does not comply with the provisions of the Convention.

What documents requires an apostille?

The list of documents in general form is determined by the Convention itself - these are official, administrative, judicial, judicial-executive documents, notarial acts and official notes (registration, endorsing, notarial signature of the signature). Of greater practical importance is the list, which is determined at the level of the country where the document was issued and the country of its presentation.

In USA, apostilled documents:

archival origin: extracts, documents, copies from archives;

on education: certificates, diplomas, certificates, etc .;

notarial: notarized documents, their copies, translations;

on civil registration: a certificate of birth, death, marriage, divorce, etc .;

statutory and registration documents of legal entities: charter, certificate of registration, TIN and others (only in a notarized copy);

documents issued by courts, prosecutors, Interior Ministry: decisions of courts, prosecutors, certificates of conviction (non-conviction), rehabilitation (disqualification); other official documents of the authorities.

What documents do not need an apostille?

Apostille is not affixed:

on customs, commercial documents;

on consular and diplomatic documents;

on identity documents, including a passport, military ID;

on the originals of labor, pension books, driving licenses;

on unofficial documents (certificates, personal, business correspondence, internal documents of organizations, etc.);

on documents that cause doubts about authenticity, including the seal and (or) signature, or signed (signed) by an unauthorized person (body);

on damaged, unreadable documents, as well as containing blurred (erased) seal, signature;

on other documents that are not included in the list of subjects to be apostilled.

It is recommended to clarify the requirements for the recognition of the document. For example, in some countries, bank documents, although they are commercial, are accepted with an apostille.

Where do they put the apostille?

The apostille is issued exclusively in the country where the document is issued, and by the body to whose jurisdiction national legislation refers to the issue of the apostille on a specific document.

In USA, an apostille is issued by Secretary of State if they part of Hague Convention or from the State Department.

Important: for many documents, it is possible to affix an apostille only in the territory of the region where the document was issued. Such as birth certificates, death certificates and marriage certificates.

What can I apostille original or copy of the document?

This depends primarily on the type of document to be apostilled, and secondly, on the requirements of the country and the authority where the apostilled document will be presented. Somewhere only accept originals, somewhere you can provide notarized copies. Documents whose status does not allow any marks (passport, driver's license and others), apostille exclusively in notarized copies.

Sometimes a double apostilization is required: the original of the original document, then the notarized translation into the language of the host country. This is rare, but some countries only take this form.

Is there an expiration date of the apostille?

Apostille has no expiration date, but it may have a document. Therefore, the apostille is valid as much as the document itself.

How much does the apostille cost?

Apostille clearance is a public service that is provided after payment of the fee. Additional costs associated with the apostille may include the cost of notary and intermediary services. Most Secretary of State has different prices.  For example: The price of Apostille in Maryland is $2 and authentication in  Montgomery Circuit courts is $1. The price for the Apostille at the State Department in Washington DC cost is $25

Translation process
Translation process

Do I need to translate the document for the apostille?

It is necessary to proceed from the requirements of the host country and the government. Most countries requires  translation.

How can I easily get an apostille and avoid the hustle.

The easiest and fastest way to get an apostille is to use the apostille agencies. Advantages - no need to burrow with unnecessary information. It is only necessary to submit a document and set tasks, and after a short time get the finished result in your hands.

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