Definition of Apostille and Legalization

Call David now at (323)393-5822 if you  are ready to order your California Apostilles!

What is Legalization of Documents?
Legalization is the process that a Public Document in an origin country must go through in order for it to be able to be used legally in a destination country. Legalization of Public Documents can involve one step if it is going to a Hague Convention Apostille country, or it can take two or more steps if going to a Non-Hague Convention Apostille Country.

What is an Apostille? An Apostille is a special certification from an issuing Authority, and is the simplest kind of legalization of documents. Each state of the United States has an issuing authority for Apostilles, and every Hague Convention Country has at least one authority for issuing Apostilles.  For most U.S. states,  the issuing authority is the Secretary of State of that particular state,  although there are exceptions.Apostilles always have the word “Apostille” at the top of the document.  The word “Apostille” in French means “Stamp”.   Apostilles are certificates which allow documents to be used in certain foreign countries without any further legalization procedures. Apostilles were created at the Hague Convention of 1961, in order to simplify the legalization process for documents going to certain countries. Apostilles come in the form of a Certificate, which are affixed to the document that is being certified.  The Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) is the global,  inter-governmental organization which established the Apostille, and which oversees its use in global commerce and civil matters.  The Apostille used by California is modeled after the Tri-Lingual model created by HCCH.  This certificate is in English, French, and Spanish.   In California, the issuing authority is the office of the California Secretary of State



With an Apostille, the Secretary of State certifies the Signature and Official Seal of the public official who signs the document, and that the person was acting in his or her authorized capacity within the State of California. For example, the Apostille will assure the person, company or receiving agency in the foreign country where the document is going that the document was really signed by a particular Notary Public, who was acting is his/her capacity as Notary Public.  Since the document has an Apostille from California, there is no further legalization required for the document to be used in the foreign country- it has the approval from the California Secretary of State, who is authorized under the Hague Convention to issue Apostilles to countries that accept Apostilles. 

Do all Countries accept Apostilles?

All countries do not accept Apostilles. For countries that do not accept Apostilles, documents from California must first be legalized according to the instructions of the receiving country.  In general, documents must be notarized if necessary, and then authenticated by the Secretary of State (where they receive a special certificate with a gold seal, which looks different than an Apostille- see the example below:)

The stated Country of Destination determines whether an authentication will be an Apostille or a Certification.

The California Secretary of State asks on its paperwork which country a document is going to, and based on that they know whether or not they will issue an Apostille on a document, or a Certification instead (the process of obtaining an Apostille or Certification from the Secretary of State is called the Authentication process.)

Why Use Our Apostille and Authentications Services? 

There are several reasons why you may want to use Hollywood Notary Dot Net’s  Apostille and Authentication Services.   First, we are in the business of Authentication of Public Documents and Apostilles, and we know all the pitfalls.  We can literally save you hours of wasted time and ensure that you get your documents back quickly, and done right!  We have literally processed thousands of Apostilles and Authentications for hundreds of satisfied clients, including major, well-known corporations!  Please click here to download our Apostille Service Order Form!

For more information about our fantastic and affordable Apostille and Authentication Services, please call David Ransom at (323)393-5822. Para servicio en Espanol, por favor llame a Jaime a (323)523-7430.

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