What on Earth Is an Apostille?!


What on Earth Is an Apostille?!

What on earth is an apostille? Is that word even in English? Apostilles are important government documents. You may even need an apostille at some point! This article will explain what an apostille is, where to get one, and how to translate one.

What Is an Apostille?

Before the 1961 Hague Convention, an official record from one country had to be “legalized” in another country for it to be considered valid. First of all, the process to legalize documents was a hassle. Plus, legalization was expensive and time consuming. In 1961, countries gathered at what’s known as the “Apostille Convention”. The countries created an easier way for citizens to bring official documents between countries. This creation was called the apostille. Today, 118 countries are part of the apostille agreement.

An apostille is a document that authenticates the seal and signature of another document. Apostilles look almost the same in every country. In addition, apostilles all show the same information. Apostilles are important for vital records documents. Vital records include birth certificates and marriage certificates. For example, you are getting married in Mexico. This is your dream beach wedding! You are a US citizen so you will bring your marriage certificate back to the US. Thus, you will need an apostille for your marriage certificate. The apostille shows the government that your Mexican marriage certificate is legal.

Where Can I Get an Apostille?

Getting an apostille isn’t hard. Most people go to their local Secretary of State for apostilles. Click here for US apostille requirements. Here are four easy steps to get an apostille:

  1. Get a certified copy of the document. To get a certified personal document you need to request one from your county clerk. For business documents you need to request them from the Secretary of State. You will need an original document for an apostille. Here are some commonly apostilled documents:
    • Birth certificates
    • Marriage certificates/licenses
    • Divorce proceedings
    • Death certificates
    • Articles of incorporation
    • Adoption proceedings
    • Business licenses
  2. Fill out the application. Most states have online apostille applications. The apostille application is very simple! You will need your address and phone number, your name, and the country the document is going to.
  3. Pay the fee. Apostilles aren’t free. But don’t worry! These documents are very affordable. For example, apostilles only cost $2.00 in Illinois. In California, the fee is $20.00. On the other hand, in Wisconsin the fee is $10.00. The price is different for each state.
  4. Send in your application. In most states, you can send your apostille application in by mail or deliver it in person. Just make sure to include an addressed envelope for the agency to send it back to you.

How Do I Translate an Apostille?

How does an apostille get translated? Simple! By a certified translator or translation agency. Many countries require apostilles to be translated into that country’s language. You need to make sure the translation is certified and notarized.

Acutrans notarizes all our clients’ documents, free of charge. In addition, our linguists are professionals who translate apostilles all the time. Finally, our team members understand the ins and outs of apostilles. Let us help you with your next apostille translation. Reach out to us through our website for your free quote.