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Apostilles and Authentication Services FAQs
What is an Apostille?
An apostille or an authentication is a document that certifies the authenticity of the signature, seal and position of the official who has executed, issued or certified a copy of a public document. It allows a public document issued in one country to be recognized as valid in another country. Apostilles and authentications are often needed in adoptions, extraditions and certain business transactions. An apostille is a certification form set out in a treaty called The Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents (1961).
How is an apostille different from an authentication?
Countries who have subscribed to The Hague Convention use the apostille to legalize and transmit public documents between member countries. An authentication is obtained to transmit similar documents to countries which have not subscribed to the Hague Convention.
How do I obtain an apostille or authentication?
The document must be notarized by a notary public. The document bearing the notary’s signature must then be verified by the county clerk. All of the documents should be submitted to the Secretary of State’s Office by mail or in person.
I have a certified copy of a divorce decree from the clerk of the court. How do I obtain an apostille or authentication?
A court document bearing the signature of the clerk of the Chancery, Circuit or other Court having divorce jurisdiction must be notarized. The notary’s signature must then be notarized by the county clerk. Both documents must be submitted to the Secretary of State’s office in order to obtain an apostille or authentication.
How can I get my child’s birth certificate apostilled or authenticated?
A birth certificate that has been signed by the state registrar is sufficient to obtain an apostille or authentication. If the birth certificate has only the signature of the county registrar, you will need to obtain a new certificate from the state registrar’s office or your local health department. Always be sure that the certificate has the state registrar’s signature. A former state registrar’s signature will also qualify. Documents submitted by mail must include a statement indicating whether the documents are being submitted for an apostille or an authentication. Documents that do not specify which service is desired will be returned to the submitter.