California Apostille FAQs

What is an Apostille and when do I need one?

An Apostille is a certificate that authenticates the origin of a public document, for example a birth, marriage or death certificate, a judgment or a notarized document.   Apostilles can only be issued for documents issued in one country party to the Apostille Hague Convention and that are to be used in another country, which is also a party to the Hague Convention.

You will need an Apostille if the following apply:

• The country in which the document is to be used is party to the Apostille Hague Convention

Which countries are members of the Apostille Hague Convention?

Visit this link:

Can you tell me more about your company before I mail in my original documents to you?

Learn more about us here:

How do I get an Apostille?

You have 2 options:

Option 1.-  You can hire our professional service and have your apostille complete within 24-48 hours.

Option 2.- You can go through the complex government agencies and obtain an apostille by yourself.   It is important to note that we do not place the apostille to the documents ourselves.  Apostilles are placed by government agencies.  A public document can only get appostilled by the relevant Competent Authority of the country that issued the document. In California, it’s the Calisfornia Secretary of State.

How much does an Apostille cost?

Visit this page to view our current rates: .  We offer special pricing if you have more than six documents which require an Apostille.

How are Apostilles affixed to public documents?

An Apostille must be placed directly on the public document itself or on a separate attached page (called an allonge). Apostilles may be affixed by various means, including rubber stamps, self-adhesive stickers, impressed seals, etc. If an Apostille is placed on an allonge, the latter can be attached to the underlying public document by a variety of means, including glue, grommets, staples, ribbons, wax seals, etc. While all of these means are acceptable under the Convention, Competent Authorities are encouraged to use more secure methods of affixation so as to safeguard the integrity of the Apostille. Failure to affix an Apostille in a particular manner is not a basis for refusing the Apostille.   You should never detach an Apostille, regardless of whether it’s placed directly on the public document or on an allonge!

What are the effects of an Apostille?

An Apostille only certifies the origin of the public document to which it relates: it certifies the authenticity of the signature or seal of the person or authority that signed or sealed the public document and the capacity in which this was done. An Apostille does not certify the content of the public document to which it relates. Apostilles are not grants of authority and do not give any additional weight to the content of underlying documents. An Apostille may never be used for the recognition of a document in the country where that document was issued – Apostilles are strictly for use of public documents abroad. It is up to the country where the Apostille is to be used to decide how much weight to give to the underlying public document.   An Apostille only certifies the origin of the public document to which it relates, never the content of that document.

Once I have an Apostille, do I need anything else to show that the signature or seal on my public document is genuine?

No. An Apostille issued by the relevant Competent Authority is all that is required to establish that a signature or seal on a public document is genuine and to establish the capacity of the person or authority that signed or sealed the public document. If the Convention applies, an Apostille is the only formality that is required to establish the origin of the public document – no additional requirement may be imposed to authenticate the origin of the public document.

Where can I verify my apostille with the California Secretary of State?

Visit this link:

Do you also apostille documents from other states?

Yes, please visit this page:

Do you apostille federal documents?

Yes, please visit this page:

Do you provide document legalization services through Consul / Embassy offices?

Yes, we can legalize your documents through select Consul / Embassy offices in Los Angeles and in Washington, DC.  Our recommendation is to contact the Consul or Embassy office and obtain specific information in order to avoid any delays.  Some Consul / Embassy offices will require an authorization letter, a company check, etc… in order to help us process your documents quickly.  More information is provided here:

Can Apostilles be rejected in the country where they are to be used?

Apostilles issued in accordance with the requirements of the Convention must be recognized in the country where they are to be used. Apostilles may only be rejected if and when: • their origin cannot be verified (i.e., if and when the  particulars on the Apostille do not correspond with those in the register kept by the Competent Authority  that allegedly issued the Apostille); or • their formal elements differ radically from the Model Certificate annexed to the Convention. While an Apostille should conform as closely as possible to the Model Certificate annexed to the Convention, in practice Apostilles issued by different Competent Authorities vary in design, size and colour as well as in any additional elements that may be included on the Certificate.

Such variations in appearance are not a basis for refusal of an Apostille. Failure to affix an Apostille to the public document Apostille. The mere fact that an Apostille has been affixed by a method that differs from the method(s) employed by the country where it is to be used is not a reason for the rejection of the Apostille. Additional text on an Apostille outside the box with the 10 numbered standard informational items is not a basis for rejection of an Apostille. ‘Apostille Certificates’ issued by countries that are not party to the Convention must be rejected in all other States as being contrary to the Convention.

What documents can you obtain an Apostille on?

We can only accept documents which are of California origin. This means California-issued Birth, Marriage, Death and Divorce documents, as well as documents which have been notarized by a California Notary Public. If your document is from another state or country, we cannot accept it.

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 or Recorders
  • 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
  • State Officials

Visit this link to view a list of documents we regularly provide a California Apostille too:

Can you review my documents before I send it to you?

Yes, you can scan your documents and email to us a copy for review.

Why should my documents be reviewed before I send them to you?

Not all documents can be accepted for an Apostille. Speaking to a representative by telephone will allow us to determine if the Birth Certificate, Marriage Certificate or other document you have will be approved for the Apostille process. When you call our office, please have the document in hand, as our representative will be asking specific questions about what is written on the certificates.

Do I need to come in person to your office?

You do not need to come to our office, if you live far or are unable to travel.  We suggest you send us your documents by FedEx, UPS or Priority/Express Mail from the United States Postal Service for security purposes and always get a tracking number.

Can I Wait for the Apostille to be completed?

It takes a minimum of 1-2 business days for your Apostille to be completed. Please be sure you don’t wait until the last minute to submit your documents.  The California Secretary of State office is only open weekdays and closed on weekends and holidays.

Can I submit a photocopy of my Birth Certificate?

We must be given the original document, so a photocopy is not acceptable. If you submit a Birth Certificate, it must be the County issued pink color document with blue scrolled borders.

What forms of payment is acceptable?

We accept cash, money orders, certified bank checks, paypal, credit cards and checks. If you make payment with a personal or business check, there may be a 7 business day hold time for clearing of funds. For faster processing time please pay online with a credit card.

Do you offer translation services?

No, we do not offer any type of translation service.  Some countries will request the document to be translated in their language before being Apostilled.

Can the Apostille documents be shipped by Fedex?

Yes! We provide FREE return shipping via FedEx Next Day service to anywhere in the United States.

How do I check the status processing of my documents after I submit them?

You can call us at 1-888-810-4054 or 310-876-8489 or fill in the form to your right.

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?

Which countries need an Apostille?

How Does the Apostille Service Work?

Which Documents Require an Apostille?

What are the Costs for Apostille Service?

How do I get started?