International documents that are originated in one country, but are intended for use in another country require (embassy) legalization validation to be recognized as authentic documentation by the legal system of the foreign country.
Embassy legalization is the alternative method for authenticating a document that is utilized for countries who are non Hague convention members, please see Hague Convention for a listing of these countries. These countries do not recognize the Apostille as a means to authenticating documents.
The legalization process involves the affirmation of document validity by officials recognized as competent reviewers. The documents are evaluated for original signatures, stamp prints and seals and are separately deemed as authentic components to support the validity of the paperwork.
The type of document to be validated dictates the number of certificate(s) required to obtain a embassy legalization. Additionally, the documentation can potentially undergo review for what is termed as chain authentication, which means that documents are processed at the Embassy, State and Federal enterprise level. The Authentications Office role involves the award of document authentication certificates under the Seal of the U.S. Department of State. The Embassy or the Consulate of the country will legalize the documentation for in-country use via the seal issuance and signatures.
Federal Agency Documentation
Federal agency documents require authentication by the Authentications Office branch of the U.S. Department of State followed by a review conducted by the U.S. foreign embassy or consulate which is the only enterprise authorized to authenticate the seal of the U.S. State Department.
Federal Court Documentation
Federal court documents require authentication by the Justice Management Division followed by the Authentications Office branch of the U.S. Department of State. The final review is conducted by the U.S. foreign embassy or consulate who will issue a seal.
Documents that are originated with a state court of agency must be authenticated by the Secretary of State’s Office. The document is then authenticated by the Authentications office of the U.S. Department of State followed by the U.S. foreign embassy or consulate who will issue a seal.