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Apostilles or Certificate of Notarial Authority

posted May 29, 2016, 4:33 PM by AG Pro Serve Intl.

Do you need to get an Apostille or Certificate of Notarial Authority to send it to another country? If you don’t need one now, you might one day. But first, if you don’t already know, let me explain what they are.

If you need to notarize a document here in the United States to send it to another country, you will need to get also an Apostille (a French word that means “note”) or a Certificate of Notarial Authority that verifies the legalization of the notary’s signature and official capacity. That’s what an Apostille is.

In most states (47 out of 50), it’s issued by the Secretary of State or one of his or her deputies or assistants, and it is accepted by all countries who are part of the Hague Convention. This facilitates the acceptance of foreign public documents by any country part of the convention, makes the document fully recognizable by the country of destination, and no further authentication is needed by the country’s Embassy or Consulate.

Apostille convention

Image via Wikipedia

  • What if the country that you need to send the document to is not part of the Hague Convention?

You may need to get the document notarized, but instead of requesting an Apostille, you need to get a Certification of Notarial Authority that is also issued by the Secretary of State. Depending on what documents you have, you will need to go to your county's embassy or consulate. 

The Dept. of State determines which ones is appropriate so you don’t need to worry about if the country is part of the Hague Convention of not. 

A sample of a notarized document from Pakistan.

Image via Wikipedia



Important Note: 
Some may require you to go to your country's embassy or consulate instead of getting an Apostille from the U.S. Dept. of State or from the State Dept. of any of the U.S. states.

If the document is a public record or a publicly recordable document, like birth, death, or marriage certificates, recorded deeds, etc., 
from countries others that the U.S., you will probably need to go to the corresponding country's consulate or embassy since the country where the person was born is the only country that can authenticate its own document(s). 

Be careful with notaries providing Apostilles, Certificates of Notarial Authority, for foreign vital record documents. 
Notaries can notarize certain documents, original or copies, and provide you with Apostille service but NOT issue them on the spot!
According to the Florida Department of State, notaries cannot make copies, "certify," or issue Apostilles for public record documents, and ONLY the State Dept. can issue Apostille for documents, if they are U.S. documents, that need to be used in foreign countries that are part of the Hague Convention or Certificate of Notarial Authority for the countries that are not part of the Convention.

Please check the post: Prohibited Acts for Notaries (FL)

  • Are notaries responsible for requesting an Apostille or Certificate of Notarial Authority?

No. According to the Hague Convention treaty, the signer or bearer of the document is the one responsible for making the request.

Seal of the United States Department of State.

Image via Wikipedia


The current turnaround time is 5-10 working days according to the FL Dept. of State. 

If you need Apostille services, I can help you with that. Please click here for more information.



Additional information from ASN: The Apostille & Certificate of Notarial Authority

Apostille—An apostille is an official document certifying that the notary who performed a particular notarial act was a notary in good standing at the time of the notarization. It also certifies the authenticity of the notary’s signature and seal. Documents that will require an apostille will be destined for countries that have signed the Hague Convention on Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents. It is important to understand that the apostille does not authenticate the contents or effect of the document in any way. It pertains strictly to the notary’s authority to perform notarial acts on the date of the specific notarization and the authenticity of the notary’s signature and seal on that particular notarial certificate.

Certificate of Notarial Authority—Documents destined for jurisdictions within the U.S., or for countries that have not signed the Hague Convention, will not receive an apostille but will receive a certificate of notarial authority. The format of this certificate can differ according to the state that issues it. This certificate also authenticates the notary’s signature, seal and authority to act as a notary on the date that the notarial act was performed. It does not authenticate the contents or effect of the underlying document in any way.


by Alessandra Jackson

AG Pro Serve Intl.
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