Weekly Apostille Talk – Difference Between Notary & Apostille

Apostille Frequently Asked QuestionsThe question for this week is, “What is the difference between a notary and an apostille?

Have you been asked to notarize and apostille a document?  If you plan to conduct business or handle personal affairs in another country, you will be asked to have your documents notarized with an apostille.

The most common notarized documents we receive are Power of Attorney, Affidavit, Travel Consent, Diploma, Transcripts, Copy of Driver’s License, Copy of Passport, and Business Documents.

How Does This Work? A notary authenticates your signature on the document and the State authenticates the notary’s signature and seal.  It’s basically a check and balance.  The notary verifies the signer is the signer who’s name is on the document and the State verifies the notary’s info.  The State then attaches the apostille so the other country will accept the document.  It’s that simple!

Notary and Apostille StepsThe first step is to find a local notary.  You can either travel to a local notary or a notary can come to your location (traveling notary).  It’s important that the notary follows California state notarial laws in order to avoid the rejection of your documents.  You can ask the notary to use the 2015 updated California acknowledgment form provided by the State of California to avoid any delays.  We also recommend that you find a notary who is a member of the National Notary Association.

As soon as your documents have been notarized, the next step is to mail-in your document to either our San Francisco office or our Los Angeles – Burbank office.  The processing time with our San Francisco office is two business days w/FedEx overnight shipping.  The processing time at our Los Angeles – Burbank office is the same-day.  If you are in a rush, please mail your documents to our Los Angeles – Burbank office.

Once we receive your notarized documents, we will present them to the State of California for authentication.  The State of California will verify the notary’s seal and signature and if everything checks-out, they will attach the California apostille.  California Apostille Example
Please note that only the California Secretary of State can attach the apostille.  If you have documents from another State or the U.S. Federal Government, those documents must be apostilled from the State that issued them.  United States Apostille

Once your documents have been authenticated with the California apostille, we will professionally package them up and drop them off at the FedEx shipping center for overnight delivery.  Some of our competitors ship by USPS regular mail.  We believe your documents are far too valuable to ship by regular mail.  Our relationship and volume of shipments with FedEx allows us the opportunity to ship your documents for next business morning delivery without the extra fee.

Your documents will arrive securely and a signature will be required to release your documents.  If you are unable to be home, you can either request the document to be delivered to your office or you can pick up your document at the FedEx shipping center.

From experience, we recommend that you ship your documents by FedEx, UPS, or DHL to the country requesting it.  We also provide FedEx international priority shipping at an additional fee. Thank you.

Written By:
Richard M. Johnston
Calfornia Apostille Services in San Francisco & Los Angeles
International Apostille Services, Inc.