What is Apostille?

Document Attestation in the United States

The Apostille Certificate is an official attestation testifying the originality of the document’s signature, the signer’s capacity, and the authenticity of any seal affixed to the document.

The Apostille Stamp does not verify the content of the document; rather, it only approves the authenticity of the signer and the capacity, in which he/ she acted.

What does the word “Apostille” mean?

Apostille is pronounced as a·pos·tille \ə-päs-’til\

The term “Apostille” is a French word, which means “to certify”, was first suggested by the signatory countries to the Apostille Treaty Hague Treaty 1961 to describe the accepted international form of authentication to legalize foreign public documents. The word is also pronounced “ Apostila” in Spanish.

A Sample of US Apostille Certificate

The accepted Apostille attestation in the United States must contain fixed information in order for the document to be recognized abroad. Although every state issues different form of Apostille Stamp, However, each Apostille must contain this information regardless of the designated authority that issued the Apostille

US Apostille Certificate must contain the following:-

  • The Country (The origin country in which the document was issued)
  • This Public document has been signed by ( The name of the person that signed the documents)
  • Acting in the capacity of (The position/ function of the signer)
  • bears the Seal/ Stamp of (The designated authority of the signer)
  • At ( in which State it was certified)
  • The ( the date of issuance the apostille)
  • By ( Name )
  • No. (The number of the Apostille certificate)
  • The Seal/Stamp ( the golden Apostille stamp of the authority that issued the apostille).
  • Signature ( the signature of the designated authority that issued the apostille).

The Hague Convention 1961 | Apostille Treaty

The Apostille Convention is an international treaty, held in the Netherlands on 1961, to abolish the requirements of foreign documents.

Each signatory country to the Apostille Convention designated a competent authority to affix the Apostille Certificate to public documents destined for use in one of the other Hague Treaty members.

The U.S.designated authorities| Procedures to issue an Apostille Stamp

The US government has assigned TWO different authorities to issue the Apostille attestation on documents destined for foreign use depending on the document type:-

The Secretary of State office || Apostilles and Document Authentication

The Local Secretary of State offices in all 50 states in the designated authority to issue the apostille attestation on public state documents such as:

  • Court documents.
  • Notarized documents by local Notary Public Like Power of Attorney, Affidavit
  • Vital Records like Birth, Death, Marriage, and Divorce Certificate.
  • Corporate documents like Agreements, Certificate of Formation.

The US department of State in Washington DC

It is the designated authority to issue the Apostile Stamp on documents issued by the federal Agencies in the United States such as:

  • The Federal Drug and Food Administration (FDA).
  • The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI).
  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
  • The Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
  • The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
  • The Homeland Security Agency.
  • Social Security Agency

The Hague Convention Participating Countries

Since 1961, many countries have ratified the Apostille treaty to abolish document legalization procedure of foreign public documents. Here is a list of the countries that accept the Apostille form as an evidence of the document’s authenticity: