Apostilles, Authentications, Certifications and Legalizations

Apostille procedure

The apostille - a special kind of letter and stamp - is the shortest process of legalization. An apostille is not the same as a 'raised seal', these are two separate things.
An apostille can be used if both countries (the country issuing the document and the country in which the document will be used) are part of the international "The Hague Apostille Convention.

The United States is a party to the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents. The Convention abolishes the requirement of diplomatic and consular legalization for public documents originating in one Convention country and intended for use in another. For the purposes of the Convention, public documents include: (a) documents emanating from a court, (b) documents issued by an administrative authority (such as civil records), and (c) documents executed before a notary. Such documents issued in a Convention country which have been certified by a Convention certificate called an "apostille" are entitled to recognition in any other Convention country without any further authentication.

Apostille is  a French word which means a certification. It is commonly used in English to refer to the legalization of a document for international use under the terms of the 1961 Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents. Documents which have been notarized by a Notary Public, and certain other documents, and then certified with a conformant apostille are accepted for legal use in all the nations that have signed the Hague Convention.

For example, if a will is probated in United States, if it then has to be presented in Italy in order to transfer estate assets in Italy to the United States, an apostille must be affixed to the following documents by a Notary Public: 1. The Death Certificate and  2. A copy of the Will.

In countries which are not signatories to the 1961 convention and do not recognize the apostille, a foreign public document must be legalized by a consular officer of the country from which the document is issued.

An Apostille is a special certificate attached to another document, it certifies it has undergone specific procedures established by the Hague Legalization Convention to prove the document’s legality and authenticity for use in a foreign country. An Apostille is internationally recognized by all member nations (at present ther are more than 80 members). Documents sent between Hague Convention countries may be submitted to the member nation without further action.

The Apostille certification is issued from the office of the Secretary of State, after reviewing the document's signature and validating it's legitimacy. The Apostille is an official state government certification. It is a letter page size ( 8 1/2" x 11") certificate and not just an official seal. The Apostille is permanently attached to the original document. The Apostille cannot exist as a separate document; It is valid only together with the document to which it is attached.

Certification and Apostilles are provided attesting to the legal status of notaries public and selected public officials, such as judges, county clerks, and the State Registrar of Vital Statistics. They are often used in transactions involving international document exchange, including adoption transactions. An Apostille is provided if the transaction involves a country that subscribes to the Hague Treaty.

On October 5, 1961, the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Documents resulted in many nations adopting a simplified method of “legalizing” documents for universal recognition. These nations are referred to as “member nations” of the Hague Legalization Convention.

 Documents sent to non-member nations require a Certification of the official’s signature rather than an Apostille. This is performed at the state level. The document may then need to be transmitted to the U.S. Department of State in Washington D.C., and then on to the specific embassy. This process is referred to as “Legalization” of the documents.

Requirements for preparing international documents:

Hague Nations:

• The document must be acknowledged before a notary public

• The notary’s signature and seal must be authenticated by the clerk of the county in which the notary is commissioned

• The apostille is affixed to the document by the Secretary of State of the state in which the document is executed

Non-Hague Convention Nations:

• The document must be acknowledged before a notary public

• The notary’s signature and seal must be authenticated by the clerk of the county in which the notary is commissioned

• The certification is affixed to the document by the Secretary of State of the state in which the document is executed

• The U.S. Department of State in Washington DC may need to authenticate the document

• The document must be legalized by the appropriate embassy

 

Example of Service provided:

Document: Death Certificate

Certified copies of Death Certificate are official copies issued by Vital Records Departments on the state or County level. Apostille confirms that the signature of the Vital Records official is a true signature of this person.

We provide complete range of services, related to preparation of a Death Certificate for submission in foreign countries. We will:

Retrieve a Death Certificate

Obtain Apostille (for Hague Convention countries) or foreign certification (for non-Hague Convention countries)

Translate a Death Certificate into the target language

Have a Death Certificate authenticated by the Consulate or Embassy of the target county

 

Walking distance to the Mercer County Clerks Office and New Jersey Division of Revenue & NJ Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics in the Capital of Trenton, NJ 08646

 

24 hour Mobile Notary service for Apostilles, Authentications, Certifications and Legalizations. No need to leave your home

Visit our web site at: http://usmna.com 

 Call Thomas M Zucchetti at 609-575-5555

Trenton, NJ in Mercer County

 
 
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