man typing on keyboard

WCS Announces Major IT Roll Out

In constant pursuit of enhanced Customer Experience, WCS has entered the final stage of our latest investment in online service-delivery. 

Leading the way in apostilles and legalizations, WCS has already placed many of the new features online, including a new Conversation Tab, accessible on the Order page. 

In one consolidated folder, clients can conduct dialogues with our expert document-processors, as well as review document orders, including pricing, timeline, geographical distribution, and more.

Another significant feature, nearing completion, is the consolidation of WCS Express™ (our ordering platform) and WCS SecureShare™ (our encrypted document transmission platform) into a unitary sign-in.

In June, we established our International tab, enabling clients to designate documents with OUS origination (Outside of U.S.).

We have also upgraded our reporting and data-management capabilities, enabling advanced and customized reports for revenue performance, customer spend, and ancillary costs. 

Additionally, clients will be automatically prompted to upload shipping labels when placing an order, saving time and money later in the process. As always, however, we provide the convenient option of providing shipping via Fedex. 

Even better than sending original documents is having a process that can be completed with digital copies. We keep you current on the growing number of document-types and destinations that qualify for 100% digital transactions. Our client simply uploads the document—and we take it from there.

Recently, we had a certified third-party run a PEN test, and we achieved the highest levels of cyber security. Specifically, we passed the stringent security requirements of the European Union.

Taken as a whole, these enhancements serve a core purpose: to alleviate your staff’s workload and increase your speed-to-market. 

Set up an account today—at www.wcss.com. . . and let WCS manage your documentary needs, with apostilles and legalizations made easy.

Indonesian flag blowing in clear skies

Indonesia Joins the Apostille Treaty

On June 4, 2022, Indonesia, a powerhouse nation with a growing population of 270 million, joined the Apostille Treaty, marking the 61st anniversary of the treaty’s accord. 

Created in 1961 at the Hague Convention in the Netherlands, the Apostille Treaty currently has 121 signatory nations—participating in a simplified process for transborder documents. The apostille system greatly reduces the red tape required for vital transactions. Pharmaceutical approvals, shipping documents, academic records, adoption papers, powers-of-attorney—all these transactions benefit from the streamlined apostille process. Largely replaced has been the traditional methods of legalization requiring Embassy review and approval of documents.

Today, any document having both origination and destination in apostille countries can be authenticated in one step. Traditional legalization can take up to several weeks—or in some cases months—under Covid restrictions.

The work of the Hague Convention, however, remains incomplete. Indonesia’s signing of the Apostille Treaty signals a milestone for a treaty which has yet to attract the approval of countries as diverse as Canada, China, Egypt, Vietnam, and Saudi Arabia. 

Underscoring the significance of this event, is Indonesia’s presence in the global pharmaceutical market. Pharmaceuticals and medical devices comprise a significant portion of transborder documentation. In 2021, Indonesia ranked as the largest market in the ASEAN regions, with a value of USD $10.11 billion.

The road to the Hague was a long one for Indonesia. The Hague Convention itself, little known in most circles, has a storied past, dating back to the 1890’s and including matters of diplomacy that range from arms control and rules-of-war to cross-border adoptions. The Apostille Treaty has been among its most successful contributions to international relations and global trade.

In recent times, its application has shifted largely to pharmaceuticals and medical devices. Highly regulated to protect the public, pharma has become a fully globalized industry. Transborder mergers and acquisitions mark a commercial landscape where manufacturing is frequently off-shored and medicinal products are then distributed to countries around the globe. 

For Indonesia, the move to apostilles promises to improve the business climate. By offering this time-and-cost-saving method, the giant South Pacific nation intends to enhance its competitive position.

And for companies and individuals doing business in Indonesia, life just got easier.

globe against tan background

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.

Apostille Sample

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.

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