Apostille and Authentication Services for Virginia documents that will be used in foreign countries.
What is an Apostille?
Apostille is a French word which means a certification, and is commonly used to refer to the legalization of a document for international use under the terms of the 1961 Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents.
Why do I need to obtain an Apostille?
When a document is to be used in a foreign country, it may be necessary to have the document authenticated. An authentication certifies the signature and the capacity of the official who has executed the document. The authentication may also authenticate the seal of the official. Most member countries agree that a document which has been legalized with an Apostille Certificate in its country of origin will be accepted in any other member country. This removes the need for further evidence to be obtained to prove the documents authenticity.
The Secretary of State or Lieutenant Governor’s office provides authentication of public official signatures on documents to be used outside the United States of America. The country of destination determines whether the authentication is an Apostille or Certification.
The US Department of State – Office of Authentication authenticates signatures on all Federal Documents including documents which have received a certificate from their respective state.
Apostilles and Certifications only certify to the authenticity of the signature of the official who signed the document, the capacity in which that official acted, and when appropriate, the identity of the seal or stamp which the document bears. The Apostille or Certification does not validate the contents of the document.
Does my document require notarization?
Yes, @AfterHoursVA will notarize the document *free of charge. (Must be local in-person notarization.)
If the document is already notarized, it must be properly notarized by a Virginia notary (as allowed by law) within the past 12 months. The original document is needed to present to the office of the Secretary of State.
Can you authenticate a document that has been signed by a Virginia Electronic Notary Public (eNotary)?
At this time, the Secretary of State’s office cannot authenticate an electronic notarization with an Apostille or Great Seal authentication.
What countries are parties to the Hague Apostille Convention?
Click here for the PDF list of countries that are participants of the Hague Apostille Convention.
The official list can be found at The Hague Conference on Private International Law’s website.
What if the country I need to send my documents to are not parties to the Hague Apostille Convention?
If the country where the document will be used is NOT a party to the Hague Apostille Convention, the document will be sent to the U.S. Department of State to issue a Authentication Certificate in addition to the office of the Secretary of State. This process will take approximately 15 – 21 days, not including weekends or federal holidays.
I am a Certified Apostille Agent and make the process easy. I can come to you to notarize your documents at your home, business or any other location convenient for you if the document(s) requires notarization. You can also mail your documents directly to me if you are located outside of Richmond, Virginia.
I can then take your documents and complete the entire process of obtaining the apostille. This includes all required forms and government fees required by the Secretary of State. I can have your apostilled documents back to you as soon as 24 hours during regular business days.
Common documents that may need an apostille are:
- Birth Certificates
- Marriage Certificates
- Death Certificates
- Divorce Decree
- Adoption paperwork
- Single Status Affidavit
- Background Checks (Local, State, FBI)
- Power of Attorney
- Copy of Passport
- Copy of Driver License
- Authorization Letter
- Travel Consent Letter
- Articles of Incorporation
- Business Letter of Invitation
- Certificate of Good Standing
- Corporate Resolution
- Certification of Free Sale
- Certification of Origin
- Corporate Power of Attorney
- Corporate Forms
- Joint Venture Agreements
- Stock Purchase Agreement in Foreign Companies
- Commercial Invoice
- Shipping Documents
- Corporate Documents to be Used Overseas
- Department of Health and Human Services Documents
- Distributorship Agreements
- Food and Drug (FDA) Administration Documents
- United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
- Other Certified copies of documents