Apostille Service for International Documents
Since you are reading this, you most likely have been advised that your international document requires an apostille. Obtaining an apostille need not be stressful or complicated. Just call me, Linda, at 760-505-9956. I will explain what is required and facilitate the entire procedure.
International acceptance of notarized documents often requires authentication by the Secretary of State – a process called apostille. My expedited apostille service includes notarization of the document, conveyance of the signed and notarized document to the Secretary of State’s office, authentication by the Clerk of the Secretary of State, and return of the completed document.
Once your document is signed and notarized, I will send it to my associate in Sacramento who will hand-carry your paperwork to the Secretary of State’s office, obtain their authentication, then immediately forward the documents back to you.
Apostilles may also be required for articles of incorporation, licenses and other business documents signed by state officials. I can obtain certified copies of these documents for you from the Secretary of State so they can be apostilled.
With expedited apostille service, turnaround time is as little as 2-3 business days. The cost is $195 for the first document plus $75 for each additional document. If the document requires notarization, that service is included at no extra cost. Trackable shipping to and from Sacramento is also included. Premium FedEx shipping can be added at market rates.
What Is an Apostille?
An apostille (pronounced “ah-po-steel”) is a certificate issued by the Secretary of State verifying that a public official or notary’s signature and seal are valid. Apostilles do not authenticate the contents of a document. Apostilles confirm and attest that the notary or public official who witnesses the signer’s signature is valid and in good standing with the state government. An apostille may be required for documents to be filed or otherwise utilized in a foreign country.
Effective January 1, 2017, the California Secretary of State’s office began issuing a single Authentication Certificate for documents to be used outside of the country rather than issuing either an apostille or certificate depending on the country of destination.
The apostille is permanently attached to your notarized document. Note that removing the staples from the apostille documents is forbidden.
The California Secretary of State authenticates signatures only on documents issued in the State of California signed by a notary public or the following public officials and their deputies:
- County Clerks or Recorders
- Court Administrators of the Superior Court
- Executive Clerks of the Superior Court
- Officers whose authority is not limited to any particular county
- Judges or Executive Officers of the Superior Court
- State Officials
A document sent for apostille must be signed in “wet ink” (written in pen) or be a certified copy of the original document. Photocopied signatures and faxed or stamped signatures are not acceptable for authentication.
Apostille Tips – How To Avoid Rejection
The apostille or authentication process allows no room for error, so a flawless notarization is the crucial first step. Since the Secretary of State must approve the notarization of your document, the notary work must pass their standards.
The foreign receiver of the document must accept and approve what is generated by the Secretary of State in the apostille process. Requirements of your foreign agency may differ from what the Secretary of State is able to provide. Make sure the document to be apostilled is correct before we begin the process with the Apostille Tips below.
Apostille Tip #1
- Make sure the notary verbiage is correct and up-to-date.
Does the notary portion of your document conform to California’s latest standards? If I notarize your document I guarantee that the Secretary of State will accept it. If you use a different notary who makes a mistake or is not up-to-date your document will be rejected.
Apostille Tip #2
- Get approval for a “loose notary certificate” first.
Make sure the notary wording is complete and up-to-date. The notary portion of your document must conform to California’s latest standards. If it does not, I will attach a loose certificate to your document that contains the required verbiage. However, some foreign agencies do not allow a loose certificate. ASK first!
Apostille Tip #3
- “Rolling Stamps” are not allowed.
Some foreign agencies require a notary stamp imprint across all page edges of a document. California notaries are prohibited from using their stamp in this manner and if this is done a document will be rejected by the Secretary of State. Make sure your receiving agency understands that this is not possible.
- Stamping each page is not permitted.
A notary cannot place her stamp on every page of a multi-page document. This is strictly forbidden by the Secretary of State and if this is done a document will most definitely be rejected. If the receiver of your document requests this you should advise him that this is not permitted.
Apostille Tip #4
- Do NOT remove the staples.
Removing the staple from your paperwork, either on the notary page to your document or the stapling from the Secretary of State, invalidates the apostille. Do not undo your paperwork to feed it through a copier.
Apostille Tip #5
- Copy Certifications are not performed by a CA Notary.
Except for Powers of Attorney, California notaries cannot certify copies of any document such as a passport, diploma, driver’s license, business record or vital record. Please call me to discuss how to deal with copy certification.
Check with your receiving entity to confirm that what we will be submitting is what they can use.
Which Documents Require an Apostille?
The receiving party or entity will need to instruct you as to what documents they require. Examples of documents submitted for authentications are:
Corporate documents including articles, by-laws, mergers, agreements, amendments, powers of attorney
Powers of Attorney
School records including diplomas, transcripts, letters relating to degrees
Deeds of Assignment
References and Job Certification
How Do I Begin?
I make it easy. Before we meet to notarize your documents I will send you an apostille request form. Once your documents are ready to be authenticated, I will manage the entire process. Immediately after completion, your apostilled document will be sent directly to you or to the destination of your choice.
Obtaining a California apostille can be complicated. Don’t leave this to anyone who is not fully informed and up to date on the California apostille process. Allow me to take care of the authentication process from start to finish.