What is an Apostille?
An apostille or an authentication is a document that certifies the authenticity of the signature, seal and position of the official who has executed, issued or certified a copy of a public document. It allows a public document issued in one country to be recognized as valid in another country. Apostilles and authentications are often needed in adoptions, extraditions and certain business transactions. An apostille is a certification form set out in a treaty called The Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents (1961).
What does an Apostille do?
The object of the Apostille is to "abolish the requirement of diplomatic or consular legalization for foreign public documents". The completed Apostille certifies the authenticity of the signature, the capacity in which the person signing the document has acted, and identifies the seal/stamp which the document bears.
I have a certified copy of a divorce decree from the clerk of the court. How do I obtain an apostille or authentication?
A court document bearing the signature of the clerk of the Chancery, Circuit or other Court having divorce jurisdiction must be notarized. The notary’s signature must then be notarized by the county clerk. Both documents must be submitted to the Secretary of State’s office in order to obtain an apostille or authentication.
Which countries require apostilles and which require a standard certification?
Countries which signed the Hague Treaty require apostilles. All others require standard certifications
What kind of documents do I need an Apostille for?
The Apostille may be obtained to transmit public documents executed in one subscribing country to another subscribing country wherein the documents need to be produced. The Hague Convention defines 'public documents' as:
those originating in a court, clerk of a court, public prosecutor or process server,
official certificates placed on documents
How do I get an Apostille?