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Process of getting USA Apostille for Marriage Certificate in Portugal

US Marriage Certificate Apostille

US Marriage certificate apostille is mandatory if you are trying to use your US issued marriage certificate in Portugal. Marriage certificate with apostille has lots of Advantages in legal or official affairs in Portugal. 

What is Apostille?

Apostille is a quality check Process for vital documents issued in the United States, Apostille ensures document’s originality, authenticity, and accuracy. The Apostille Increases the credibility of the document, making it widely accepted as genuine document in 117 countries called Hague nations. These nations have collectively made a rule that the U.S. Apostille on US documents will be enough to consider the US document as a legal document in Portugal.

However, when traveling to a country beyond the Hague network, obtaining an Apostille alone is insufficient. Additional Steps, such as legalization, become necessary for the recognition of documents in non-Hague countries. Legalization acts as an additional layer of approval essential for international use.For  further information can be found towards the end of this article.

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

Why is Apostille for a US Marriage Certificate Required?

When Using a US Marriage certificate in Portugal, Getting an Apostille is a prerequisite before Using the document. A US document with an Apostille holds higher value in Portugal, Making it suitable for various official purposes without any issues.

Below are the Reasons why you need to get Apostille on US Marriage certificate

  1. To Register Your US marriage in Portugal
  2. To obtain Portugal or Other Country Dependent Visa for Spouse 
  3. To Obtain Portugal CItizenship

Procedure to Obtain Apostille on US Marriage Certificate in Portugal

In the United States, documents are commonly issued by either the State government or the Federal government. Birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates, and similar documents are classified as state-issued, so apostille will be done by the state government.

There are 2 kinds of documents when it comes to apostille process 

  1. Documents issued by State Government – State Apostille ( SOS Apostille )
  2. Documents issued by federal Government –  Federal Apostille ( USDOS Apostille )

US Marriage Certificate comes under state issued document hence Apostille is done by the Secretary of State ( SOS)

Secretary of State Apostille

The apostille for vital documents issued by state governments, including U.S. Marriage certificates, Birth certificates, and death certificates, are provided by the respective state authorities.

There are 2 ways in getting the State Apostille on US Marriage certificate 

  1. Apostille on Original US Marriage certificate 
  2. Apostille on Notarized photocopy of US Marriage certificate

Original US Marriage certificate Apostille in Portugal

Apostille will be done by the state secretariat office. We need an Original US Marriage certificate to get the direct apostille. Before putting the apostille on the original US Marriage certificate, the State government will check the details given in the documents with vitals.

Once these details are approved the document will be moved to the secretariat office. The  Marriage certificate will receive an Apostille Certificate. An Apostille Certificate will be attached with the original document.

If you don’t have the original document you can request the state government to issue you a new Marriage certificate.

Apostille on Notarized copy of US Marriage Certificate in Portugal

You can also get an apostille on Notarized copy of the Marriage certificate. Notary will be done by the competent notary authority in the state. After varying the details of the original document Notary Public will do copy certification by document custodian certification.

Based on the Notary Verification, the photocopy will finally be apostilled by the State Government

Note – Portugal & Most of the Hague nations accept Apostille done on photocopy but some authorities will insist on getting apostille on original document only, so check with the authorities to whom you are submitting apostilled document,  whether they accept the apostille done on photocopies or not.

How much time will it take to get the US Marriage certificate apostille in Portugal?

The processing time for obtaining an apostille on a U.S. Marriage certificate depends upon the issuing state government’s procedures. Factors influencing the timeline include whether the apostille is required for the original document or photocopy and the specific policies of the state involved. Certain states offer expedited processes, allowing for same-day or 3-4 day apostille services.

If you need apostille on Original document you need to send original document to US office 

So timeline will be like this 

  1. Sending Documents to US ( 3-4 working days )
  2. Apostille ( 3-4 working days or 1 day ) time varies with issuing state
  3. Returning original document to Portugal from US ( 3-4 working days )

If you need an apostille on Photocopy Step 1 can be removed this saves cost and time.

For precise information on the availability of expedited processes, it is advisable to consult with Apostille experts who can provide guidance tailored to the specific document and state requirements.

How much does it cost for an Apostille US Marriage Certificate in Portugal?

Like time, the cost also depends on the state in which the document is issued. And whether you need expedited service or not. Check here for the cost details for each state. 

For US Marriage certificate holders in Portugal if they are traveling to non Hague countries then need Embassy Attestation from the Target country Embassy In US.

US Marriage certificate Legalization process for non Hague countries in Portugal

For Non Hague countries you need embassy attestation along with the apostille on the document.

Below are the processes required to get embassy attestation for US Marriage certificate

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 as 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.

Apostille is a little complicated process and requires thorough knowledge about the complete process in order to suggest the best route to get apostille quickly. Speak to us or start the application form we will guide you throughout the apostille process.

What is the difference between Legalization and Apostillation


Legalization is a broader term encompassing the verification of any document for use in a foreign country. In the context of attestation or apostille, legalization refers to the authentication process required for non-Hague countries. The process of authentication for legalization is more intricate compared to apostille. For a comprehensive understanding of the legalization process, you can find detailed information here.

Note: A list of Hague nations is provided here.


Apostille, on the other hand, is a process of authentication specifically designed for Hague countries. It is a simpler procedure compared to legalization. Now, let’s explore the apostille process specific to the United States.

Register for Online Apostille

Provide applicant details

Frequently asked questions

You have to have original document to get apostille.
you can get apostille on photocopy through notary attestation 

Below are the steps in Getting the apostille for US birth certificate

  1. Fill the Apostille Application form
  2. Courier the original document or submit online document.
  3. Get the apostille from US state government.
  4. Make the payment for the service.
  5. Provide the courier address.
  6. Get the document delivered to home.

To get apostille on any US document you must submit the original document along with any Government ID scan copy as a suppoting document 

Yes, if you are using US birth certificate for any official purpose outside United states of America then you need to get apostille to US birth certificate.