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Process for Hague Apostille Countries

US birth certificate apostille

A Hague Apostille is a certification or authentication that is added to documents to verify their legitimacy and authenticity for use in foreign countries that are part of the Hague Apostille Convention.

What is Hague Apostille?

Hague Nations is a group of 117 Countries that have come together to make several agreements to make international commerce, People’s movement easier and prevent international crimes as well.

The Hague Nation has an Agreement called the Apostille agreement. Where any document originating from Hague member countries will be accepted throughout 117 countries with a simple certification called Apostille.
Any document with Apostille is considered as Original, Genuine and given by the rightful authority. The Apostille is provided by the Government. In US there are Mainly 2 Government bodies that can issue an Apostille 

  1. Secretary of State 
  2. US department of State

4 Easy steps to get US Apostille on the documents

  1. Register on Apostille Portal 
  2. Collect certificates that need US Apostille
  3. Deposit the photocopies / original certificates
  4. Receive Documents with Apostille directly at your doorstep

What is Legalization?

For Hague Nation countries the method of document verification is called apostille. For countries that are outside the Nague Nation list the document verification method is a more complicated and time consuming process.
Legalization is a broader term it simply means to verify, any document given in a country needs to verify the authenticity of it before it is being used outside the country. This makes sure that only genuine documents are being submitted or used in different countries. This removes fraudulent documents being used for illegal purposes.

Legalization for Hague country is called Apostille 

Legalization for countries outside Hague nations is called Embassy Attestation.

Process of Getting Hague Apostille

Different Countries have different processes to provide Hague Apostille. In the US as mentioned earlier 2 Government bodies provide apostille.

When it comes to attestation or apostille process there 2 types of document 

  1. Documents that are issued under state Government
    1. Documents such as Birth certificates, Marriage Certificate, Medical Certificate etc 
    2. Apostille will be done by Secretary of State also known as SOS Apostille
  2. Documents that are issued under Federal Government
    1. Documents such as FBI Background check, U.S. Federal Court Documents, U.S. Bankruptcy Court
    2. Apostille will be done by Federal Government Also known as USDOS Apostille

Process of getting Secretariat of state apostille

There are 2 ways you can get apostille on the State issued document 

  1. Apostille on the original state issued document 
  2. Apostille on the Photocopy of the Document 

Below are the steps for Apostille on the Original State issued document

  • You need to submit original State issued document 
  • State secretariat will check the details for correctness and if the corresponding entry is available in the registrar for the document then the document will be moved further to secretariat attestation department 
  • Attestation department will verify the documents and finally provide the SOS Apostille on the document.

Below are the steps for apostille on Notary Attested State issued document

  • Present the photocopy of the original document along with the original document to Notary Public 
  • Notary Public will cross verify both the original and photocopy if both found to be correct Notary attestation will be provided 
  • Submit the Notary Attested copy to the State Secretariat office  
  • State secretariat will apostille the photocopy on the basis of notary public attestation

Most Hague countries Accept both types of Apostille but however some countries mandate Apostille on the original document hence it is always advisable to verify with the authorities to whom you are submitting the document, whether they accept photocopy attested documents or not. 

If you are Submitting any state issued documents to countries other than that are mentioned in Hague nation list then the process is different and more complicated than that of Hague country apostille 

Below are the Process of attesting State issued documents for Non Hague Countries also known as Embassy Attestation

Step 1 – Notary attestation ( for photocopy documents only, original documents no need to go through this Attestation)

Step 2 – Apostille by state ( the state in which the document is issued will provide the state apostille on the document 

Step 3 – Authentication by the USDOS ( US department of state or federal government) also called as federal attestation

Step 4 – Embassy attestation – After all the above attestations are done, the document is submitted to the embassy of the target country and embassy attestation is obtained.

Note – In case of the Photocopy attestation Notary public attestation is mandatory for the photocopy some countries accept photocopy for embassy attestation check with the expert for the information.

For Federal documents you don’t need a State Apostille so you can skip step 2 for federal issued documents.

Suggestion – Some countries’ embassies accept direct submission after state apostille( Step 2)  for state issued documents such as US Marriage certificates.in this case you can skip the Step 3 USDOS Federal authentication this will save valuable time and cost.

This complete process of 4 steps is called the full legalization process. This will take 8-12 weeks and the cost verified depending on the document, state attestation, federal attestation and embassy time. Please check with Apostille experts for suggestions.

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