Which Documents Require an Apostille?

The California Secretary of State 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.

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.

The California Secretary of State authenticates signatures only on documents issued in the State of California signed by a notary public or the following public officials and their deputies:

  • County Clerks, Registrar-Recorder
  • Court Administrators of the Superior Court
  • Executive Clerks of the Superior Court
  • Officers whose authority is not limited to any particular county
  • Executive Officers of the Superior Court
  • Judges of the Superior Court
  • Notaries Public
  • State Officials

The most common types of documents include (Note: Some documents require a certified copy):

  • Marriage Licenses, Divorce agreements, Divorce Decree
  • Birth Certificates, Marriage Certificates, Death Certificates
  • Single Status to Marry, No record of a Marriage
  • Criminal Record – Criminal Background Check
  • Local Police, Sherriff’s Department, etc…
  • Power of Attorney – General, Special, Finance, Real Estate etc.
  • Notarized copies of Passport, Affidavits, and other documents
  • Papers for Adoption purposes
  • Transcripts (High School, College, University, or any other issuing agency)
  • Diploma, Degree Certificates, Graduation Records
  • Permission to Travel, Consent by Parent(s) to travel with Minor Children

Corporate documents, such as:

  • Articles of Incorporation, Certificate of Incorporation
  • Merger Agreements
  • Authorization letter for Bank, Finance, Office, and related company matters
  • Certificates of Amendment
  • Certificate of Good Standing
  • Certificate of Status
  • Power of Attorney
  • Certificate of Incumbency
  • Corporate Resolution
  • Certification of Free Sale
  • Certificate of Origin
  • Certificate of Analysis
  • Corporate Forms
  • Joint Venture Agreements
  • Stock Purchase Agreement in Foreign Companies
  • Business Letter of Invitation

For vital records such as birth certificates, marriage certificates and death certificates, it must be a “certified” letter size pink-and-blue certificate provided by the local county clerk registrar recorder’s office where the certificate originated.

Your birth, marriage or death certificate should be a letter-size, pink-and-blue document with a blue State of California heading and signed at the bottom of the certificate by a California County Clerk registrar recorder (not a doctor, for birth certificates).

If it is a non-vital record, such as a power-of-attorney document or an affidavit attached to something like a copy of a diploma, 99% of the documents will need to be notarized first. If it was already notarized, we will need to review your document to make sure it was notarized properly for approval with the California Secretary of State and the destination country.

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




Our job is to help you make an informed decision.  Here is a list of the most asked questions…

What is an Apostille? http://www.apostille.la/what-is-an-apostille/

Which countries need an Apostille? http://www.apostille.la/countries-for-apostille-service/

How Does the Apostille Service Work? http://www.apostille.la/how-apostille-service-works/

Which Documents Require an Apostille? http://www.apostille.la/documents-for-apostille-service/

What are the Costs for Apostille Service? http://www.apostille.la/rates/

How do I get started? http://www.apostille.la/getting-started/