Apostilles: What They Are, and Why They’re Needed

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To legalize your US document for recognition overseas, you need an apostille.

Apostilles are a type of authentication given to documents. It makes them usable in countries that participated in 1961’s Hague Convention.

The US State Department provides a list of countries that take apostilled documents.

For countries that didn’t participate in the Hague convention, apostilles aren’t accepted. This requires you to send the documents to that country for certification.

Where to Get an Apostille

Authentication and apostille services are provided by the Office of the Secretary of State. The service is given to foreign nationals and US citizens who want to use their documents overseas.

A multitude of documents may be apostilled. They include:

  • Articles of incorporation, company bylaws, and distributorship agreements (for businesses)
  • Power of attorney
  • Diplomas, degrees, or letters relating to degrees
  • Transcripts
  • Marital status documents
  • Adoption papers
  • Job certifications, deeds of assignments, and home studies

Why Do You Need an Apostille?

At its inception, 117 countries signed 1961’s Hague Convention. All signatories mutually accepted that a legal seal on any document of a resident would be accepted by them as authentication proof.

That authentication process is what’s called an apostille.

Apostilles can be given to both foreign individuals and US citizens through the Secretary of State. And they’re necessary for global mobility.

For example, many individuals are planning their careers abroad. Getting an apostille makes it easier for those individuals to move through Hague Convention countries.

Do note however that many individuals struggle to get an apostille, or even notarize their documents before. A professional service can make that easier for you, which we highly recommend you seek.

On Notarization – What Does a Notary Public Provide?

Notary publics provide a preamble for the original document to be apostilled. They’ll provide a government sticker that mentions the following:

  • Applicant’s name
  • Nature of document
  • Name of officer issuing the sticker
  • Certification stamp
  • Issuance date

Notarizing, Then Applying for an Apostille Service

The following are some requirements to be met for an apostille certificate issuance by the New Jersey Secretary of State:

  • The affiant must provide the signature in the notary public’s presence
  • The proper notarial acknowledgement, notarial certification and jurat finished by the notary public reflecting the date of the document signatory’s appearance
  • The Secretary of State’s website should show acceptable acknowledgement samples for reference
  • The public should have the notary public stamp or seal fixed to it
  • Signature of the notary public

Getting an Embassy Legalization or Apostille in New Jersey

Getting a NJ apostille can be a complicated process for the inexperienced. You’re required to provide the original certified document that you’d like apostilled. Plus there are extra requirements you need to meet before a valid apostille can be issued.

Once that document is found, you’re required to submit the original document to the US State Department of Secretary of State for an apostille.

The process in brief involves the following:

  • Obtaining an original or certified document copy
  • If the document is in a foreign language, a translation should also be attached (even the translation must be notarized)
  • Then you must wait to see if your application for the apostille gets approved!
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