An apostille document is an official certificate from a government that ensures that the documents issued in one country are valid in another. The documents certified by an apostille are only recognized in countries that are members of the 1961 Hague Convention Treaty. The documents generally include public documents like birth certificates, court orders, or other documents issued by an American or international official. This article will help you understand how to apostille documents for citizens with an American passport.
Apostille Requirements for American Citizens
If you want to apostille your documents, please remember that the fee to authenticate official documents has increased. The current fee is $20 per document for all services. You need to use the older Form DS-4194 – Request for Authentication Services but include the new fee of $20 for all required services. It takes around 10 – 11 weeks to process your application; presently, only the mail-in service is available. The in-person service is closed right now.
Things to Keep in Mind
Before you submit all your essential documents for authentication, please be sure to note a few things.
You have to notarize all your documents in front of a notary public
If your notary public is commissioned through the county – you have to get the documents certified by the clerk of court in the county where your notary is commissioned and then certified by the secretary of state in the state where the document has been notarized.
If your notary public is commissioned through the state – you need to get your documents certified only by the state’s secretary of state where the document has been notarized.
To notarize and certify all your documents, kindly observe this order
First, your need to issue all your documents.
Next, you need to notarize your documents.
If needed, you have to get your documents certified by the clerk of court.
Lastly, you need to get your documents certified by the secretary of state.
Important Note: If your documents require authentication from the clerk of court and secretary of state, you need to make sure the dates must indicate that the certification issued by the clerk of court was before the certification was done by the secretary of a state official.
Please note that your documents will not be processed as requested if your notarizations are incorrect.
Every seal and signature should be original
The government will only accept true copies of your documents from a notary public. If your documents are devoid of original signatures and seals, they will not be accepted. In addition to this, a notary public cannot issue documents like marriage certificates, death certificates, divorce decrees, court documents, and other federally-issued documents as true copies. The secretary of state should authenticate these documents.
If you submit your documents in a foreign language, please ensure that they are translated into English by a certified translator and have been notarized as an accurate translation.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Who can apostille a document in the USA?
The State Secretary of State offices can apostille a document in the USA. If the Federal government issues your document, the Department of State office will be responsible for the certification. Moreover, county clerks, statewide officials, and notary public officials can also apostille a document in the USA.
What countries require an apostille?
105 Member countries of the Hague Convention of 5 October 1961 require an apostille.