Apostilles and Legalizations

When documents need to be used abroad, additional authentication requirements may be required. These documents can either be apostilled or legalized, depending on the country where it is issued and/or needs to be used in.

The most common scenario an apostille or legalization may be needed is if a foreign individual or entity is forming an entity in the United States and their corporate documents need to be authenticated with an apostille or legalization to be processed at the Secretary of States office. On the flip side, if a U.S. based entity is forming an entity overseas, their documentation may require an apostille or legalization. 

What is an Apostille? How does it differ from a Legalization?

Ratified in 1961, The Hague Convention is an agreement among many countries to certify documents for use in the countries party to the agreement, without further legalization. If you have a document originating in one Hague member country, for use in another Hague member country, the Convention certification called an “apostille” must be affixed to the document by a competent authority. Only those nations party to the Hague Treaty will recognize the apostille certification.

For countries not party to the Hague Convention, documents must go through various channels in order to be authenticated for use in another country. In most cases documents would need to be certified by the relevant government authority in the country of origination and then ultimately certified through the consulate, or embassy, office of the receiving country. This process is called a Legalization.

If you need assistance with determining if your document needs an apostille or to be legalized, please Contact Us. Our office can assist with obtaining and legalizing notarized documents as well as government, corporate and civil documents from any Hague or non-Hague convention country.