Apostille247 Call Us
What is an Apostille?

An Apostille (pronounced “ah-po-steel”) is a French word meaning certification.

An Apostille is simply the name for a specialized certificate, issued by the Secretary of State. The Apostille is attached to your original document to verify it is legitimate and authentic so it will be accepted in one of the other countries who are members of the Hague Apostille Conventiom.

In the United States, all 50 states and the Federal Government (US Department of State – Office of Authentication) can issue an Apostille.

In 1961, many countries joined together to create a simplified method of “legalizing” documents for universal recognition. Members of the conference, referred to as the Hague Convention, adopted a document referred to as an Apostille that would be recognized by all member countries.

Since October 15, 1981, the United States has been part of the 1961 Hague Convention abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents.

The Apostille Convention provides the simplified certification of public (including notarized) documents to be used in countries that have joined the convention. Documents destined for use in participating countries and their territories should be certified by one of the officials in the jurisdiction in which the document has been executed.

The Apostille Convention requires that all Apostille’s be numbered consecutively, with individual numbers applied to each Apostille issued. 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.

Prior to the introduction of Apostille certificates the burden on international courts and authorities to judge foreign documents as authentic was quite considerable. On the October 5, 1961 the Hague Convention abolished the requirement of legalisation for foreign public documents. The Convention reduces all of the formalities of legalisation to the simple delivery of a certificate in a prescribed form, entitled “Apostille”, by the authorities of the State where the document originates. This certificate, placed on the document, is dated, numbered and registered. The verification of its registration can be carried out without difficulty by means of a simple request for information addressed to the authority which delivered the certificate.

Who issues an Apostille Certificate?

Only designated “Competent Authorities” are authorized to issue Apostille Certificates in countries participating in the Hague Convention. In the USA the Secretary or Department of State in each of the 50 states and the US Department of State are the designated “Competent Authorities” that are authorized to issue an Apostille Certificate.

Does an Apostille validate a document or make it legal?

An Apostille does not certify the content of the underlying public document. An Apostille does not relate in any way to the content of the underlying public document. While the public nature of the document itself may imply that its content is true and correct, an Apostille does not enhance, or add any legal significance to, the legal effect that the signature and / or seal would produce without an Apostille. The effect of an Apostille is limited. It only authenticates the origin of the underlying public document. It does so by certifying the authenticity of the signature on the document, the capacity in which the person signing the document acted and, where appropriate, the identity of the seal or stamp which the document bears.

What is Legalization (or Legalisation)?

Legalization is the process of authenticating foreign public documents through a country’s Embassy or Consulate. This process is still used for countries that are not members of the Hague Convention and therefore do not recognize Apostilles. Apostillisation has the same effect as Legalization but is the result of the simplified process established by the Hague Convention and recognized by countries that are members of the convention.

What is Embassy Legalization?

The Embassy Legalization of a document is usually used in countries that are NOT members of the Hague Convention Apostille. If you need to get an Embassy Legalization for your document to take it into another country or present it at a consulate or embassy, we offer you this additional service.

We are certified to get Apostilles and/or Embassy Legalizations on your documents. Our services allow you to use your documents overseas or at any Consulate/Embassy.

Which Countries Are The HCCH MEMBERS?
What is document Authentication?

The purpose of document authentication is to certify the validity of the signature on a legal document, the authority of the signature on the document and identify the stamp or seal on said document.

Who benefits from Authentication?

Anyone traveling or moving to another country. Examples may be:

- Individuals or families relocating due to a job.

- Corporations opening new branches or offices in other countries.

- Teachers who will be teaching ESL in foreign countries.

- Individuals who need to present US issued documents to Government Authorities in another country.

What types of documents can be Authenticated?

The types of documents that need certification vary depending upon the Embassy requirements of the host country. Common examples of documents that require authentication/apostille include:

- Birth, Marriage and Divorce Certificates

- Background Checks

- Educational Documents

- Incorporation or Operational Documents for Corporations

- Personal or Corporate legal documents

What countries do you provide Authentication services for?

Countries Party to the Hague Convention of 1961 (Apostille Process)

Albania Andorra Antigua & Barbuda Argentina Armenia
Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain
Belarus Belgium Belize Bosnia &Herzegovina Botswana
Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria China (Hong Kong) China (Macao) Colombia
Cook Island Croatia Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark
Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador El Salvador Estonia
Fiji Finland France FYR of Macedonia Georgia
Germany Greece Grenada Honduras Hungary
Iceland India Ireland Israel Italy
Japan Kazakhstan Korea, Republic of Latvia Lesotho
Liberia Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Malawi
Malta Marshall Islands Mauritius Mexico Moldova
Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Namibia Netherlands
New Zealand Nicaragua Nieu Norway Oman
Panama Poland Portugal Romania Russian Federation
Saint Kitts & Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino
Sao Tome & Principe Serbia Seychelles Slovakia Slovenia
South Africa Spain Suriname Swaziland Sweden
Switzerland Tonga Trinidad & Tobago Turkey Ukraine
United Kingdom USA Uruguay Vanuatu Venezuela

Countries Not Party to the Hague Convention (Authentication Process)

Algeria Afghanistan Angola Bangladesh Barbados
Benin Bolivia Brazil Burkina Faso Burma
Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Chad
Chile China Congo Republic Congo Democratic Costa Rica
Cote d'Ivoire Cuba Egypt Eritrea Ethiopia
Ghana Guatemala Guinea Haiti Indonesia
Iraq Jamaica Jordan Kenya Kuwait
Kyrgyzstan Laos Lebanon Libya Macedonia
Madagascar Malaysia Mali Mauritania Morocco
Myanmar Nepal Niger Nigeria Pakistan
Palestine Paraguay Peru Philippines Qatar
Rwanda Saudi Arabia Senegal Sierra Leone Singapore
Sri Lanka Sudan Syria Taiwan Tajikistan
Tanzania Thailand Tunisia Turkmenistan UAE
Uganda Uruguay Uzbekistan Vietnam Yemen
Zambia Zimbabwe

Why do some documents need an Apostille Certification and others need Authentication?

A document may require an Apostille or Authentication certification depending on the country in which it needs to be submitted. Most countries in the world are divided into two categories. Countries which are signatories to the Hague Convention require the Apostille Seal. Countries which are not part of the Hague Convention require documents to follow the Authentication Process.

How are the required certifications obtained?

The certifications are obtained by following the State and/or the Federal authentication process. The documents are submitted in person to the required Departments and Foreign Embassies (where applicable) which are located in Washington DC. For Embassies and authorities located outside of Washington DC, we mail documents to the relevant offices.

Is my personal information protected?

Yes, we value our clients' confidentiality. Your information will always be handled in a safe and secure manner.

Do I need to fill out the application forms for the US Department of State Certification?

No, we will prepare the application form for the US State Department on your behalf.

How long does it take to get documents certified?

The time to get documents processed differs based on the type of documents and the country the documents are to be used in (whether they require an apostille or authentication). The timelines quoted are estimates and there could be delays based on several factors which include: processing times at the Embassies and Government Departments, weather related closings, mail or shipping delays, etc.

What are the most common documents submitted for Apostille and/or Embassy Legalization?


- Adoption Documents

- Affidavits

- Bank Letter

- Bills of Sale

- Birth Certificate

- Car Titles

- Certificate of Naturalization

- Death Certificate

- Divorce Decree

- FBI Background Check

- Identity Documents or Passports

- Marriage Certificate

- Police Records

- Power of Attorney

- State Background Checks

- School Diploma(s) / Transcript(s)

- Single Proof (to marry)

- University Degrees

- And More...


- Articles of Incorporation

- Bylaws

- Certificate of Amendment

- Certificate of Good Standing

- Certificate of Incumbency

- Certificate of Origin

- Commercial Invoice

- FDA Certificate

- Free Sale Certificate

- General Agreements

- IRS Form 6166

- ISO Certificate

- Letter of Invitation

- Patents / Assignments

- Pharmaceutical Certificates

- References and Job Certifications

- Trademark


- And More...

What type of payments does your company accept?

We accept Paypal, Credit Cards (Visa, MasterCard, and American Express), Check or Money order.