What is an Apostille?

What is an Apostille?

I get asked this question several times a day.  Quite simply, an Apostille authenticates the signature of the person who signed the document.  In the State of California, the California Secretary of State can verify hundreds of different signatures including ones from the County Clerk, Superior Court, California Notaries, and other State officials.

Not every document issued in California qualifies for an Apostille.  Please call us prior to mailing in your documents for verification.  Most of the documents we receive are either documents issued by the County Clerk or notarized by a notary in California.

Every industry has their own special lingo.  In the document authentication business, we only have a handful but they are sometimes used interchangeable.

1. Apostille – a document issued by the Secretary of State which is destined to a country who is a member of the Apostille convention.

2. Certification – a document issued by the Secretary of State which is destined to a country who is not a member of the Apostille convention.

3. Authentication – this is what the California Secretary of State does.

4. Legalization – refers to what the Consul or Embassy does.  Authentication is another word used to process documents through their offices.

5. Attestation – refers to being sworn in that everything is true and correct written on the document.  Basically taking an oath.

Here is an example of a California Apostille.

Each Apostille is numbered and can be verified at the California Secretary of State’s website.  You’ll need the Apostille number and the date of the Apostille.

The Apostille is attached to the page which bears the signature of the person who signed the document.  The California Secretary of State will staple the Apostille to the signature page. This helps prevent separation and in order to protect the integrity of the document,  a read seal is stamped overlapping the Apostille to the signed page.

Click to download our California Apostille order form. Our Apostille service is fast, convenient, and saves you time and money.

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