Do you need an Apostille? Here’s how to find out.

A certification placed on a document for cross-border use.

over view

Apostille- is a certificate that can be affixed to the underlying document (public document) or on a slip of paper "allonge" attached to the underlying document, issued by a competent authority. A type of authentication for the Notary Public official, document custodian and/or certifying official signature and seal.

A document typically requires Apostille when the document is to be presented or used in another country, specifically for contracting parties that have entered into force. For non-member countries
they undergo a different process called legalization, where many of the competent authority including U.S. Department of State in which the document originates, they issue what's a equivalent to a "Certificate of Authentication," for further processing. Competent authorities ONLY issue Apostilles and/or Certificate of Authentications for public documents originating within their territory.

There are two main types of Apostilles, 1) Hardcopy/paper base Apostilles and 2) Electronic/paperless Apostilles. The first is the traditional form of requesting an Apostille to be applied to an underlying public document. The second is the electronic/digitized or paperless form of requesting an Apostille to be applied to an underlying public document regardless if the document emanates privately or from an official custodian in local government. Some documents requiring an Apostille originate from the state of the issuing authority and other documents requiring an Apostille originate from federal agencies or institutions.


Reasons why people would need an Apostille:

Employment abroad, studying abroad, moving to another country, destination wedding, getting married abroad, verifiable documents to secure pension benefits across-borders, land/real estate purchase abroad, conducting international business, etc..

Probant Sese Ipsa
Acta Probant Sese Ipsa is the traditional legal maxim otherwise known as the "legalization" method.
Although such method proved to be a seamless process if the source of the document emanated from a known institution within a country in its official language, resulting in an authenticated document. The same is not internationally applicable due to the burdensome task of the receiving party in determining the authenticity of such foreign document.

Old Abolished Method:

  1. Public Document
  2. 1st Authentication
  3. 2nd Authentication
  4. 3rd Authentication
  5. 4th Authentication
  6. 5th Authentication
  7. Public document
  1. (executed in the state of origin);
  2. (e.g. civil registry);
  3. (ministry of Justice);
  4. (ministry of foreign affairs);
  5. (consulate of state of destination);
  6. (ministry of foreign affairs of state of destination); and
  7. (document is ready to be presented in the state of destination)
of Certificate(Apostille)

Allonge- Slip paper (front page cover) attached to the public document, on which an Apostille is affixed.
The allonge must contain the title "Apostille," with the convention title in French "Convention de La Haye du 5 Octobre 1961" plus the 10 point numbered standard informational items may be in the language of the issuing authority.
  • Contracting Party (country)
  • Certifying Official (has been signed by)
  • Capacity of Official (acting in the capacity of)
  • Bears seal/stamp (1st official)
  • Location (at)
  • Date (the)
  • Competent Authority (by)
  • Document # (No.)
  • Seal/stamp (s
  • Signature of competent authority

A Competent Authority in fact may design their allonge without restrictions as long as the 10 numbered standard appears affixed to the underlying document.

Documents that are used across-borders can originate from a state or federal agency such as vital records, court orders, or any other document properly executed or issued as a public document. Apostilles are only enforced on countries that are members of the 1961 Apostille Convention.

If a document's origin is privately held and not retrieved from a custodian official, the document
must be:
1) Notarize document in front of a notary public; i) using a notary commissioned by the county [verify/certify the document with Clerk of Court then submit for authentication from the Secretary of State, ii) using a notary commissioned by the state [verify/certify and authenticate with the Secretary of State.
2) All seals/stamps and signatures must be originals (whether paper base or electronically produced); copies of any document must be a properly executed "Certified Copy," from a Notary Public, otherwise it will be rejected and an Apostille will not be applied to the public document. Vital records, court documents, and federally issued documents are maintained by a custodian official and can not be certified by a Notary Public; 3) All documents in a foreign language must be translated into the English language to receive an apostille and some document emanating from USA might require translation in the language of the intended country of use. All translations should be by a certified translator.
Electronic Apostille
Pilot Program (e-APP)

e-APP - electronic apostille pilot program an initiative aimed at promoting and facilitating in the implementation of technology under the Apostille Convention. The e-APP comprises of two components: the issuance of e-Apostilles and the operation of e-registers. These components can be implemented separately or together. (HCCH 2023)

e-APP - A certificate issued under Article 3(1) of the Apostille Convention, when issued in electronic form. It is signed with digital signature. Subject to domestic law or policy, e-Apostilles may be issued on electronic public documents or on paper public documents that have been scanned into electronic form or otherwise digitized. The issuance of e-Apostilles is one of the two components of the e-APP [the other being the operation of e-Registers]. (HCCH 2023)

e-Register is the register kept under Article 7 of the Apostille Convention, when that register is kept in electronic form and publicly accessible online. An e-Register may include records of both paper Apostilles and e-Apostilles. The operation of e-Registers is one component of the e-APP[the other being the issuance and use of e-Apostille]. (HCCH 2023)

THE FOLLOWING STATES HAVE IMPLEMENTED the e-Apostille "Pilot" Program in the following:

CONNECTICUT: Commenced [e-APP] September 19, 2023.

MONTANA: Commenced (Limited basis) June 2019, commenced [e-APP] February 1, 2023 until 
Spring of 2024, at which time Montana anticipates transitioning to a permanent e-Apostille solution.

RHODE ISLAND: Commenced [e-APP] November 1, 2023.

UTAH: Commenced [e-APP] September 19, 2023.

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