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.

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