Apostille Guide Frequently Asked Questions

What is an apostille and why do I need one?

An apostille is form of authentication recognized by countries who belong to the Hague Convention. It provides a uniform method of validating documents to be used in foreign countries. If you have been told that you need one, it is because your documents need this type of verification in order to be valid for use in another country. This is an important step that cannot be skipped or it will cause you more headaches down the road. (Back to top.)

Does your e-guide cover Mexico or Canada?

No, my e-guide only covers obtaining apostilles for documents originating from the U.S.A. Documents that need apostilles must receive them from their place of origin. Email me for some tips on getting your apostilles from Mexico or Canada, and I will be happy to send you in the right direction. (Back to top.)

What's the difference between an apostille and certification, and how do I know which one I need?

Both are forms of authentication and both are given by the same government agencies. The difference lies in whether the country where you will use your documents belongs to the Hague Convention or not. If it does, your documents will receive an apostille, and if not, they will need a certification and may need further notarization from a foreign consulate or embassy. Here is a link to a list of the countries currently listed with the Hague Convention: Hague Convention Status Table (Back to top.)

What documents can be apostilled ?

Practically any document, public or private, can qualify for an apostille. Federal and state governments each carry different requirements. It can vary by age of document, origin, type of notary, etc. It’s important to know if your documents qualify or will qualify before you make the next step. My e-guide covers all of this.(Back to top.)

Can a copy of a document be apostilled ?

In some cases, copies can receive apostilles if they are notarized properly, but it will be the notarized copy this is apostilled , and not the original. With a private document, such as a diploma or transcript which cannot be apostilled by themselves, in many cases you can created an affidavit attesting to it's validity. Then you will have the attached affidavit notarized, and then that can receive an apostille. (Back to top.)

What do apostille services do exactly?

It’s important to know that apostille services have no added authority to certify or authorize your documents. They have to work within the same constraints you do, and they have to obtain your apostilles from the same government authorities that are just as available to you. Some services have notaries on staff, and this can save you a step, but that doesn’t mean that they can always legally notarize your documents for receipt of an apostille.

For example, only a custodian of vital records can properly certify an original or copy of a birth or death certificate. Additionally, some states, including California prohibit Notaries from certifying copies of any document.

The worse part is that you may waste valuable time sending in your documents to a service only to find out later that you cannot have them apostillised . There have even been complaints where a service did not return payment after informing the customer that their documents could not be apostillised .

The fact is, you still have to ensure your documents qualify for an apostille; you still have to mail them off; and you still have to wait for them to be returned. Using a service just adds on some extra money and time, in addition to the worry they may fail you, scam you, or return your documents to you with a note saying, "sorry, we can't apostille these." (Back to top.)

What if I have a unique situation and I need additional help getting my apostille, or I have questions that your e-guide doesn't seem cover?

Well, that’s what I’m here for. I wrote the e-guide for the average person to understand (kind of like “The Dummies Guide” series ) but I also realized that my customers may need even more guidance and help given the complexity of the subject matter and the numerous types of documents that are handled around the world. All my customers will have me at their service for additional research pertaining to their own particular circumstances. I’m prompt in returning questions and I know where to get all the answers. So you will have your own personal “apostille service” as a bonus to buying my e-guide. That’s my guarantee, and my former customers can attest to quality of my service. (Back to top.)

How long does it take to get an apostille?

Depending on the type of documents you have and where they need to go, it can take as little as 24 hours to several days. Apostille services cannot guarantee anything faster than what you can do for yourself, because they are bound by the same limitations you are for each state. But with my e-guide, you will know all the options you have for your own particular situation, and I will give you recommendations based on your own unique timeframe. (Back to top.)

I'm out of the country. Can I still get my apostille fast?

Of course you can! As a matter of fact, you’ll save a step by handling your documents yourself, as opposed to using a middle-man (who has to process and re-send your docs before they are processed and re-sent again). (Back to top.)

Are there any alternatives to getting an apostille?

Yes, there are in very few cases, usually working with a foreign embassy -- and this depends on if the embassy offers this service. (Back to top.)

I still would like to hire a service. Are there any legitimate apostille services that you can recommend?

Although I cannot speak for anyone's repuation, there are a few services that have been operating for several years. I would take a careful look at apostille.us and apostilla.com. Both are located in the U.S. and handle apostilles for numerous countries. See my article How To Spot A Fake Apostille Service for more tips on recognizing a legitimate service. (Back to top.)

Can't I just find all this information online for free?

Sure, you can find some of it online (like I did when I was looking for apostille help for myself) but then you’ll soon realize a lot of the information is outdated or irrelevant to your own situation. The truth is, getting an apostille can be very tricky in some cases and this is something you don't want to mess up, especially if you're on a deadline. If you have hours and hours to spend making phone calls and researching on your own, and months to wait for your apostille, then yes, you can afford to learn the whole system by yourself. But if your time is precious, I’ve already done all the work for you for a pretty cheap price. (Back to top.)

How do I know I'm not going to just waste my money by buying your e-guide?

A guarantee is a guarantee. If you are not happy with the guide, I will be happy to return your money to you. I have already helped plenty of customers who will testify that I go above and beyond to ensure they have all the information they need. I will hold your hand each step of the way, if you need me to. (Most customers find everything they need in the e-guide.) (Back to top.)

How much does an apostille cost?

Well, that all depends on how you get one. If you use a reputable service, one apostille can cost $200 or more PLUS shipping. If you work directly with the correct agency, it can cost you mere dollars depending on the state and the method you choose. For example, one state gives out apostilles for free. Conversely, California is one of the most expensive states at $20 per apostille. Add on shipping or expediting charges, and that's all you pay. (Back to top.)


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