The Secretary of State in Los Angeles authenticates documents as either a Certification or an Apostille. The country of destination determines whether the authentication is an Apostille or Certification.
For example, India is a member of the Apostille convention. If presented with a document that requires authentication by the California Secretary of State, then an Apostille will be attached. China is not a member of the Apostille convention and thus will only be issued a Certification. You can view a list of member countries by visiting this link: Apostille Member Countries.
The Apostille, which contains a stamped red seal, is attached to your original signed document to verify it is legitimate and authentic so that it will be accepted in one of the other Apostille member countries.
Here is an example of a California Apostille:
The Apostille Convention requires that all Apostille’s be numbered consecutively, with individual numbers applied to each Apostille issued. The recognized standard Apostille contains a seal and 10 mandatory references: name of country from which the document emanates, name of person signing the document, the capacity in which the person signing the document has acted, in the case of unsigned documents, the name of the authority that has affixed the seal or stamp, place of certification date of certification, the authority issuing the certificate, number of certificate, seal or stamp of authority issuing certificate and signature of authority issuing certificate.
Here is an example of a California Certification:
The California Certification actually looks more official than the Apostille. For example, the document has blue borders and a gold seal of the state of California. The red Secretary of State seal is present and is generaly stamped on the right hand side.
For documents sent to countries who are not members of the Apostille convention, a California Certification will be used.
Regardless on if the document will recieve an Apostille or Certification, the Secretary of State will authenticate the document.
Click to download our California Apostille order form. Our Apostille service is fast, convenient, and saves you time and money.