FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is an Apostille?
An Apostille is a form of certification set out in the 1961 Hague Convention, to which the United States became a subscriber in 1981. It is a form of numbered fields, which allows the data to be understood by the receiving country regardless of the official language of the issuing country.
What does an Apostille do?
The object of the Apostille is to “abolish the requirement of diplomatic or consular legalization for foreign public documents”. The completed Apostille certifies the authenticity of the signature, the capacity in which the person signing the document has acted, and identifies the seal/stamp which the document bears.
How do I obtain an Apostille?
Due to the complexity of handling varying documents, San Antonio Apostille and Translation Services provides assistance in obtaining the Apostille Certificate on your behalf. It is not just a case of supplying the original document and the Apostille Certificate gets issued but rather a document is handled dependent on what signatures or seals of authority it contains, country of intended use etc. Many documents will require additional certification prior to the issue of the Apostille Certificate.San Antonio Apostille and Translation Services can provide advice on this and deal with any additional certification required on your behalf. Utilizing our service has many benefits, one of which is speed of service; the second is to ensure your document is issued with the Apostille Certificate on the first attempt.
What kind of documents do I need an Apostille for?
The Apostille may be obtained to transmit public documents executed in one subscribing country to another subscribing country wherein the documents need to be produced. The Hague Convention defines ‘public documents’ as:
- those originating in a court, clerk of a court, public prosecutor or process server,
- administrative documents,
- notarial acts,
- official certificates placed on documents
These types of ‘public documents’ would include birth/death certificates, marriage licenses, divorce decrees, school transcripts and diplomas/degrees, among others.
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The following conditions must be met for all documents requiring authentication:
- All seals and signatures must be originals.
- All dates must follow in chronological order on all certifications.
- All documents in foreign text must be accompanied with a certified (notarized) English translation.
- Whenever a copy (if acceptable) is used, it must include a statement that it is a true and accurate copy.
- Foreign governments require the U.S. Department of State to authenticate documents in order for the documents to be considered legal.
Requirements for authentication: (signed before a notary public)
Certified by the Clerk of Court of the county in which the notary is commissioned*; and
Certified by the Secretary of State of the state in which the document is executed.
Items above are Frequently Asked Questions from Texas Secretary of State website: http://www.sos.state.tx.us