Apostilles - FAQs

What is an Apostille?

An Apostille is the cover page that certifies that the Secretary of State (SOS) has authenticated the signature of the signing authority of a public document, and added a certificate for that document to be used outside the USA pursuant to the 1961 Hague Convention abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents.

What’s the effect of an Apostille?

It certifies the origin country of the public document to which it relates, and it certifies the authenticity of the signature and/or seal (if it applies) and capacity of the person who signed the document.  An Apostille does not certify the contents of the document, only the capacity of the person signing the document.

How long does the process take?

Due to COVID-19, many state and federal process times have inflated. Processing times do not include travel.  Legalization and attestation can take significantly longer since the process is lengthy.

The Apostille processing time given is an estimate based on experience. Variables out of our control can affect processing time, so plan accordingly. Expedited services are available.

Do you process non-US documents?

No.  We process U.S. documents only.  If the document is notarized in the U.S. then it is a U.S. document even if it was written abroad.

Do Apostilles work in every country outside the USA?

Only countries that are party to the Hague Conference’s Apostille Convention accept Apostilles.

What about the countries that are NOT a party to the Hague Conference’s Apostille Convention?

You will need to contact the Embassy or Consulate of the country where you’re going to use the document in order to find out your options.

Can I scan my birth certificate and email it to you for Apostille?

You can email a scan for verification purposes only.  Vital documents such as birth, death, marriage, and divorce documents must be original and recently issued.  You may be able to order a new document at www.vitalcheck.com.  All notarized documents must be original.

What kind of documents typically get an Apostille?

Many documents each year get apostilled including:

⧫    Birth certificates

⧫    Marriage licenses

⧫    Death certificates

⧫    Divorce decrees, other court judgments

⧫    Adoptions

⧫    Single Status Affidavit

⧫    Power of Attorney

⧫    Background Checks (state, local, FBI)

⧫    Copy of U.S. Passport

⧫    Copy of Driver’s License

⧫    Transcripts - High School, College, University, Trade School

⧫    Diplomas - High School, College, University, Trade School

⧫    GED Diploma and Transcripts

⧫    Authorization of Agent

⧫    Certificate of Naturalization

⧫    Travel Consent Letter

⧫    FBI Background Check

⧫    Petition for Name Change

⧫    Vehicle Title Registration - DMV

⧫    Car Title

⧫    Articles of Incorporation

⧫    US Patent and Trademarks

⧫    Certificate to Foreign Government

⧫    Federal Aviation Administration Letters - FAA

⧫    Certificate of Free Sale

⧫    Will and Trust Apostille

⧫    Corporate Power of Attorney

⧫    Other records, and more.

Sample of a CA Apostille

Sample CA apostille

What if you need translation services?

Tell us what language and what type of document, we'll refer you.

How can the recipient of your Apostilled document verify the Apostille itself?

The recipient can contact the SOS to have them check that the number assigned to your Apostille matches the SOS register. They may check for themselves on the State’s online electronic register.

What’s the process of getting an Apostille (from ATN)?

  1. You scan all document pages and email to ATN at JA@AcrossTownNotary.com – Tell us the destination country.  Note that “one” document can be more than one page.
  2. If the documents you need authenticated need to be notarized, and have not been notarized yet, ATN can notarize your document(s) for you.  ATN reserves the right to bill for notarization as an additional fee.
  3. Then we either meet to collect, or ship the original document(s) needing Apostilles to ATN (address for shipping to be provided at time of order).  You’ll tell me which Apostille services you need.  If you ship the documents, use a service with a tracking method.  Originals only. 
  4. ATN will get your documents authenticated at the Secretary of State of the application origin state (depending on whether it’s California or another state).
  5. ATN will ship (or hand deliver) your processed documents.  I can send you photo confirmation if you need me to ship the documents to another entity.

What if your document originated in a state other than California?

We can handle getting our documents authenticated by any state in the USA.