In order for your documents to have legal recognition abroad, you do not need to carry out costly legal processes in those countries. Thanks to the apostille it is possible to certify them in the United States and have them valid in the world.
In this article we will tell you what types of documents you can apostille and what is the administrative procedure that you must follow so that your documents can be recognized in the eyes of the law.
What is an apostille?
This is a procedure in which it is certified that a trade or license has been issued by a competent authority in another territory. With this, an apostille document can enjoy legal certainty in any member country of the Hague Convention.
What documents can I apostille?
It is possible to apostille any official letter or resolution issued by a public entity. For example, you can do it with your birth certificate, your university studies certificates or your marriage certificate. It is necessary that these are registered in the public book of the authorities so that they can be legally recognized in other countries.
When you request that a document be apostilled, you must verify that it meets the following requirements:
- It must be issued by a competent authority and the name of the agency must appear.
- It is mandatory that you have the autograph signature of the person responsible for the issue, along with their full name and public position. In the case of a document issued by digital means, you must verify that it contains the electronic signature of the official.
- The folio with which the certificate was registered in the books of the institution.
- The date it was issued.
- If this document is written in a language other than English, you must make the official translation into this language.
When do I have to do it?
You will need to apostille your documents in case you carry out a procedure abroad. This certification will only serve you in those countries that are part of the Hague Convention.
What is it for?
By apostilling your certifications, they will enjoy a presumption of legality in any country in which you use them. When you enter a procedure abroad you will have no obstacles to having the validity of the documents of North American origin that you present recognized.
What is the procedure and the price?
The embassies and consulates of the United States of America are not empowered to carry out the apostille process. You will need to go to any of the departments listed below:
If the documents were issued by federal authorities, go to the State Department.
If it is about sentences or agreements issued by federal judges, you have to request the procedure with the officials of the Federal Court.
When you want to apostille a text that has received public faith from a notary or has been issued by administrative authorities, go to the Secretary of State.
Once you have selected the corresponding authority, you must go to their offices. We recommend that you request an appointment to be attended. Present the original document to be apostilled and your official identification. You will attach the application filled with your data and you will enter it at the window.
The price may vary. At the Department of State to apostille a document you must pay the sum of 20 US dollars. You can request reports on the costs in each of the dependencies that we already mentioned.
How long does the procedure take?
The process can take up to 7 days. You will be notified via email when your document is ready. You can follow up on the procedure via the Internet with the sheet that will be provided to you.
How to request an apostille by mail
Another way to request an apostille, if you are not in the USA, is to do it through the postal service. Everything will depend on the context, since due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the procedure may take longer. But now, let’s see how you should make the request to receive your document with the apostille you need.
As specified by the official government site, check first of all what the certification requirements are for your documents. That said, below we will detail the steps to follow to make the request:
- Complete a DS-4194 form requesting authentication services, in which you must specify the country of use of the document.
- Attach the documents that need to be apostilled.
- Payment for apostille service of 20 dollars that must be made by personal or commercial check or money order payable to the “US Department of State.”
- A prepaid envelope with the address to which the document should be delivered.
You must send the envelope to the following address:
- Office of Authentications
- S. Department of State
- 44132 Mercure Circle
- O. Box 1206
- Sterling, VA 20166-1206
Important information: FedEx services are not accepted as return mail. The request may take between 2 and 3 weeks to be processed from the date of delivery. From the United States government they advise using USPS tracked mail.
Are you ready to request the apostille of your documents? In the US the process will be easy. We hope that you have resolved your doubts about this procedure and that you can simplify your procedures abroad with documents of American origin.