An apostille is a certificate (cover page), which is often attached to the fully executed notarized document. Apostilles validate the seal and signature of the Notary Public so that it can be accepted in a foreign country. The Apostille certificate verifies the Notary Public’s commission at the time the document was notarized. Apostilles are used when public documents are being transferred between countries that are a party to the Hague Apostille Convention of 1961. An apostille is issued by the Notary Public’s Secretary of State’s office. A Notary Public cannot issue apostille. For parties outside of the Hague Convention, the notarized document requires several authentication certificates instead of a single apostille.
According to the U.S. Department of State, the most common documents that may require an apostille for use abroad include the following:
- Articles of incorporation, Trademarks, Company bylaws, Certificates of good standing and other general business documents
- Deeds of assignment
- Income verification
- Powers of attorney
- Warrants and Extraditions
- Adoption papers for parents wanting to adopt a child living in another country