Definition: What is an Apostille?
An Apostille is French for “certification” and represents the authentication of an official gold seal or signature of a document. The Apostille certificate is issued by one of the country officials in the jurisdiction in which the document has been originated.
This official must be designated as a competent issuer of the Apostille certification and is normally conducted through the office of the Secretary of State. The Apostille signifies that the document has been reviewed, approved and certified as an authentic copy of an original and that the certifying party has the authority to conduct such a review.
Legal documentation utilized to conduct international business or trade is required to display an Apostille seal for countries who are members of the 1961 Hague convention, which did away with the requirement of legalization for foreign public documents.
Hague convention countries are entitled to a more simplified legalization and regulation process to execute international transactions. To date, there are currently 60 Hague convention member states and in addition to these countries, many other countries will also recognize an Apostille (please see our listing of country members).
An Apostille certification provides authenticity and therefore requires no additional certification from the U.S. State Department, embassy or consulate to be considered a legal transaction.
Embassy Legalization for Authenticating Documentation
Embassy Legalization is the alternative option of authenticating a document and is utilized for countries who are non Hague Convention members. These countries do not recognize the Apostille as an authentication for U.S. legal documents. Conversely, the consular, embassy or a country representative would manage the document legalization in collaboration with our in-house document experts.
Which Route to Choose? Apostille or Embassy Legalization
Countries that are members of the Hague Convention will require an Apostille and non members would require authentication through the embassy legalization channel.
How to get an Apostille?
International trade transactions absolutely demand proper, authentic documentation every time.
Acquiring an Apostille authentication can be somewhat of a cumbersome, complicated process which is why Washington Consular Services can be a highly valued partner in executing your international document authentications.
Your documentation can be greatly expedited as we utilize our vast network of established contacts and capitalize on our reputation for excellence insuring that documentation will not raise “red flags” or require revisions and resubmission.
During our twenty five years plus of international business services, we have managed almost every type of situation and obstacle that our clients could encounter.
We are considered to be the experts in this international certification arena so you won’t have to be. WSC has a renowned reputation for excellence through rapid processing, personalized service, secured document management, and expertise in the industry.
Countries that require an apostille: