An apostille is a unique seal of a government authority that certifies that a document is a legitimate copy of the original document. In other words, it validates documents to be used in other countries by authenticating them. The apostille works like an international notary.
The countries that have adopted the use of apostilles since the development of this concept in 1961 have eventually become signatory countries. If you are in a signatory country and traveling to another signatory country, you will need an apostille of required documents. However, unless the country you are in has signed the Hague Convention, you would not be able to acquire an apostille. Only with the approval of the Secretary of State can an apostille be deemed valid.
Some specific categories of documents need apostille certificates. Apostille are needed for various public documents which, of course, depend on the country they would be used in. Vital records, corporate documents, legal documents and criminal records require apostille certificates. The following are some categories of personal documents and corporate documents that require apostille certification:
- If you need to transfer your power of attorney to someone else to purchase or sell real estate, to file insurance claims, to take legal actions or simply to control your finances in some other country, an apostille becomes necessary.
- If you want to adopt a child from a foreign land which participates in the Hague Convention, various documents need to be apostilled.
- Many countries ask for birth certificates to be apostilled just to verify the authenticity of the document.
- For the overseas transportation of a loved one’s remains or the settlement of his estate in another country, the death certificate should have an apostilled copy.
- Apostiles are often required for marriage and divorce certificates.
- For both criminal background checks and certificates of good conduct, apostilles are required.
- Academic documents such as diplomas and transcripts also require apostilles. Evaluations of foreign academic credentials also need apostilles.
- Apostilles become necessary in cases of children’s travel consent letters and the letter of invitation necessary for obtaining the U.S.s visa. Foreign driver’s license also need to be apostilled.
In regard to the corporate documents that need apostilles, the following should be noted:
- An apostille-certified power of attorney that belongs to you is needed when you designate someone to handle your corporation overseas.
- Corporations must provide apostille-certified articles of incorporation to verify their authenticity and legitimacy in the countries where they operate.
- A Certificate of Goodstanding, a Certificate of Amendment and a Certificate of Incumbency require apostillles.
- A corporate resolution also requires apostilles.