Apostille Requirements

Apostilles authenticate the seals and signatures of officials on public documents such as birth certificates, court orders, or any other document issued by a federal agency or certified by an American or foreign consul. An apostille certifies the document(s), so the document can be recognized in foreign countries that are members of the 1961 Hague Convention Treaty. We only issue apostilles for federal documents to use in countries that are members of the 1961 Hague Convention.

Before submitting documents requiring authentication, you must:

1) Notarize each document in front of a notary public:

  • For notaries public commissioned through the county: Documents must first be certified by the clerk of court in the county where the notary is commissioned, and then certified by the secretary of state in the state where the document was notarized.
  • For notaries public commissioned through the state: Documents must only be certified by the secretary of state in the state where the document was notarized.

2) Follow this order for notarizing and certifying your document: 

  • Your document is issued to you
  • Get your document notarized
  • If it applies, get your document certified by the clerk of court
  • Get your document certified by the secretary of state. NoteIf a document requires certification from both the clerk of court and secretary of state, the dates must show that the clerk of court certification was done before the secretary of state certification.

If you do not have the correct notarization(s) before you submit your documents, we will not be able to process your request.

3) All seals and signatures must be originals

  • We cannot accept copies unless they are “true certified copies” from a notary public. Please note that birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates, divorce decrees, court documents, and federally-issued documents cannot be certified by a notary public as “true copies.”  These documents must be certified by the secretary of state.

4) All documents in a foreign language must be translated into English by a certified translator and notarized as a true translation.

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U.S. Department of State-Issued Apostille Requirements

Federally-issued documents for use in countries that are members of the 1961 Hague Convention may need to be authenticated with an apostille issued by the U.S. Department of State. Documents signed by the following officials require an apostille issued by the U.S. Department of State:

  • U.S. federal official 
  • U.S. consular officer 
  • A military notary, judge advocate (10 USC 1044a), or a foreign consul diplomatic official registered with the U.S. Department of State's Office of Protocol  

Note:  All certifications must include a legible signature of the official's name, title, and seal of the agency.

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State-Issued Apostille Requirements

State-issued documents for use in countries that are members of 1961 Hague Convention must be authenticated by the competent authority in the state where the document was executed.

A state-issued document with an apostille does not require additional certification by the U.S. Department of State or legalization by a U.S. embassy or consulate overseas to be recognized in a participating country.The U.S. Department of State will not issue an apostille for state-issued documents.

State-issued documents for use in countries that are not members of the 1961 Hague Convention may be authenticated with an authentication certificate from the U.S. Department of State. Please see Authentication Certificate Requirements for more information.