Documents Without Borders: WCS Expands Scope-of-Service to the EU, UK, and Canada

As business becomes more globalized, WCS has moved to the forefront, authenticating overseas documents in the EU, UK, and Canada.

We have established a network of affiliate offices in the UK, Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, and Canada, and we are planning for additional expansion. With this network, WCS now processes apostilles and legalizations originating outside the US (OUS). During our launch period in the  fourth quarter of 2021, we successfully authenticated hundreds of documents originating in Europe and the UK. 

Based on customer response, we project accelerated growth in OUS documents in 2022. Our affiliate office in the Netherlands will serve as the hub for the WCS portfolio of EU pharmaceutical companies, due to the 2019 relocation of the EMA (European Medicines Agency) to Amsterdam.

With 38 years’ experience and more than 500,000 documents processed, WCS is a proven service provider for US companies needing international document processing. Since expanding the scope-of-service to OUS markets, we understand the ways this involves each sovereign nation’s distinct regulations.  As subject experts for both Hague and non-Hague countries, WCS is uniquely positioned to chart and manage the navigation of documents through regulatory bodies and embassies.

Critical to our global capability has been a significant tech-forward investment over recent years. Utilizing trademarked technology platforms, our clients save time and money with automated ordering for apostilles and legalizations, irrespective of a document’s point of origination. 

WCS Express™ enables clients, in addition to centralized, automated ordering, to track documents and settle invoices directly from the platform. You can also check estimated dates-of-completion, as well as run activity reports detailing your previous documents with line-item cost analysis.

WCS SecureShare™ ensures safe transfer of proprietary documents. This is a critical feature, as government agencies move steadily toward digital signatures—eliminating the need, in many cases, for original hard-copies to be shipped and handled.

Ever vigilant in the field of cyber-security, WCS recently conducted a PEN test with a licensed third-party. The certification we received enables us to comply with stringent EU cyber-security standards.

What is the future of apostilles and legalizations at WCS? Our roadmap to 2022 includes the Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East Gulf region. Documents-without-borders is the mission, and the 2021 record proves we are uniquely positioned to provide integrated services with global scope. WCS has responded to these growing demands, and we are proud to unveil the success of our efforts. 

WCS will continue to grow our global reach, and we will keep you updated as we expand our services.

To Apostille or Not to Apostille? An Important Regulatory Question for Our Times

When certifying documents for use in foreign countries, it’s all about the details.

  • Does your application for adoption require an apostille?
  • Do your diploma and transcript need to be sent in original form, or is a scanned version ok?
  • Does your pharmaceutical ISO need an authentication from a state Secretary of State, then further certification at the U.S. Department of State, and finally legalization at the Embassy of the destination country?
  • What is a “Hague country,” anyway?

Well, just to get you started, apostille, like so many words from the world of international relations, is French—for annotation.

Apostilles apply to documents which have both origin and destination in countries that are signatories to the 1961 Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents. More than 100 countries have signed the Hague treaty, streamlining the procedures for diplomas, adoption papers, IP certifications, pharmaceutical ISO, CPP, CFG, GMP, CFS, powers-of-attorney, cargo documents, and more.

Over the years, the list of participating countries has grown. In 2021, Singapore and Jamaica became the latest signatories to the treaty.   

On the other hand, Canada, China, Turkey, and Indonesia are “Non-Hague” countries that still legalize foreign documents the traditional way, at their embassies.

At Washington Consular Services, we are the subject experts, navigating our clients’ documents through the maze of procedures and requirements for 38 years. We ensure that documents receive an authentication based on the countries involved and the type of document.

The result is more than 500,000 documents successfully processed to countries around the globe, and an established role as industry leader.

As a vital niche of regulatory affairs, international document processing regulations are subject to change in response to new regulatory edicts and/or technology upgrades. Increasingly, public authorities in the U.S., the EU, and around the globe are issuing documents electronically. There are also inconsistencies in acceptance criteria for document submissions among authorities and country representatives. At WCS, we ensure documents are submitted in the correct format—electronic scans whenever  possible, and mailed originals if necessary.

We often hear our clients ask for an apostille of a document. The first thing we do is some vetting, to make sure an apostille is really needed, rather than a legalization. If there is a non-Hague country involved in the story, either as origin or destination, then several extra steps will be necessary to obtain a legalization.

The last step in the legalization process is a stamp at the destination country’s local authority or embassy located in the origin country. Sometimes, there is no embassy located in the country where the document originated. Not to worry! At WCS, we know how to find the workarounds, quickly and efficiently.

It’s important to note that WCS can process any apostille or legalization right here in the State of Maryland, regardless of the state in which your document originated.

A good bottom line for the myriad rules of regulatory compliance is to set up an account on www.wcss.com and send us your documents. We’ll take care of them (and you), relying on our 38 years of experience and expertise.

If your business is corporate and your document authentication needs ongoing services, call us to discuss projected volume and business-type. From food & drug to intellectual property, academic records, adoption papers,and freight forwarding documents, WCS is the go-to company for white-glove service and supreme reliability.

businessman on laptop

The FDA Marches Forward with Digitalization

Following the government’s guidelines to reduce paper consumption, the Federal Drug Administration began, on December 3, 2021, issuing electronic CPP’s (Certificates of Pharmaceutical Product).

The European Union and Canada and several other countries have already implemented electronic pharmaceutical certificates, using secure electronic signatures, as requested by the World Health Organization.

A critical document in the export of pharmaceutical products to overseas markets, the new eCPP will continue to require apostille and legalization, depending on the countries to which they are being exported.

WCS, who had previously worked closely with the U.S. State Department to resume normal turnaround times for document processing, is now verifying the workflows, yet undefined, that will allow for timely processing of the FDA’s new e-documents.

On behalf of our pharmaceutical customers, we will print out the e-certificates and deliver them to the State Department for processing, as per the usual practice.

Whenever the State Department authorizes electronic processing, we are prepared to cut-over to a paper-free processing environment.

Stay tuned for further developments and contact us with any questions.

Tech Security Upgrade: WCS Achieves “Pen Test” Success

WCS recently engaged a cybersecurity firm to conduct a penetration test. 

The testing confirmed that our processing application, WCS Express™, exceeds software-industry requirements—including the stringent data-privacy standards of the European Union.

The recently completed “pen test” highlights a commitment to advanced customer solutions and technology investments that have been hallmarks of our enterprise. A major advancement in this area was completed in 2018, when we developed and rolled out WCS Express™, enabling state-of-the-art online ordering. With WCS Express™, customers can place and track document orders, include special instructions, and submit questions. 

WCS Express™ does even more: Customers can track payments and pay invoices directly from the application. Do you want to know if your document is currently at the U.S. Department of State or an Embassy? Do you need to confirm your document was shipped? You can check and confirm it in your WCS Express™ account. You can also check on estimated date-of-completion, as well as run activity reports detailing your previous documents with line-item cost analysis.

Soon after launching WCS Express™, we created and trademarked another tech platform, WCS SecureShare™. This platform secures the highly confidential documents we handle, as well as the growing number of documents with exclusive electronic handling. With WCS SecureShare™, documents are scanned and sent between WCS and our customers in an encrypted format, guaranteeing confidentiality. This platform, combined with the recent pen test, confirms and enhances this commitment to ironclad cybersecurity. 

For 38 years, WCS has successfully processed over 500,000 US-origin documents. Now, with our cyber certification, WCS is expanding our services to clients with documents originating outside the United States—including international documents from the EU, UK, Latin America, Asia-Pacific, and the Middle East. 

Put another way: our services are now global, your sensitive information is safe-and-secure, and our network of service providers gets the job done economically and efficiently.

Let us navigate your vital documents through regulatory channels and provide an ultimate level of professional support for document apostilles and legalizations.

Set up an account today, directly from our website www.wcss.com , and let’s get started!

WCS APRIL UPDATE

Dear Valued Client:

We want to update you on communications we’ve had with the U.S. Department of State, Office of Authentications, as organized by the Senator Van Hollen’s office.

In a recent conference call, the Managing Director of Consular Services pledged to enlist additional staff to assist with working the current backlog.

This should put DOS on a schedule to have the backlog caught up by June, with a steadily improving turnaround time for your submitted documents.

With an accelerated schedule of vaccines and gradual return-to-normal work routines, by late Summer DOS expects we can bring you much-improved turnaround times.

Please know, meanwhile, that we continue working diligently with government officials to reduce and ultimately eliminate the delays.

Thank you, as always. We are grateful and working diligently for your business.

The Team at Washington Consular Services

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