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Apostille: A Certification of Authenticity

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Apostille is a certification of authenticity that is used for documents originating in one country and going to another. It typically certifies the signature, seal, and sometimes the wording of a document. The word “apostille” comes from Greek meaning “to certify.” 

In many countries, an apostille must be attached to export or international documents in order to make them valid in foreign jurisdictions. An apostille can be requested from your local government office when you sign your document there. Once it arrives back with the certificate, attach it carefully to your original signed copy before sending it abroad!

What is Apostille?

An apostille is a certificate that is issued by the United Nations. It is an international agreement that was made between 115 of the 196 countries of the world are part of it. Basically, this means that you can authenticate any notarized document with an apostille no matter the country it came from, whether it’s Bangladesh or Belgium. All 196 signatories agree to recognize signatures for financial documents notarized by someone else in their own home country without requiring another notarization abroad.

What Are the Benefits of An Apostille?


The legalization or Official Authentication of a document in order to confirm its validity and add credibility. An Authorized official, such as a Secretary of State, legalizes the signature on an original document by placing his seal on it and certifying that the signer has been authorized to sign for the authority represented.

A notary or other certified authenticating officer then places his seal on this legalized document making it capable of being given legal effect in any country which recognizes this type of certification. This translates into significant savings of time, money, avoiding complicated procedures abroad etcetera with respect to the receiving equivalent country’s institutions.

The Hague Convention states that documents such as marriage certificates, death certificates and birth certificates will not need an apostille when sent from one member country to another. For example, when sending a birth certificate in the United States to China it would not require this certification because both countries are members of the Convention and its documents do not need any additional certification (besides your passport) if sent within their borders. But when sending a birth certificate in China to France you would need it…

How Do You Get Apostille in the US?

The Department of State’s Office of Authentications offers a service to authenticate signatures on Hague Apostille Certificates. First, the authenticated signature is translated into English.

Then, the signature and translation are certified by a Notary Public in your home state or district. The certificate should be notarized before being taken to the Office of Authentications for certification with their seal.

You will need to bring either a notarized copy made from your local Registrar’s office or the original apostille certificate issued by that Government agency in order for our office to certify it with our seal and process through normal mail delivery (within 15 business days) or FEDEX (within 5 business days).

For more information about general US Law, click here.

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