If you’re planning to move abroad, studying in a foreign institution, or conducting a business transaction in a foreign country, there’s a good chance that you will need an apostille. An apostille is an official certification which verifies the authenticity of a document and makes it legally valid in another country. In California, getting an apostille can be a complex process, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the state’s procedures. In this blog post, we will simplify this process for you and provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to get a California Secretary of State Apostille.
Understand the Purpose of an Apostille
Before obtaining an apostille, you first need to understand its purpose. An apostille is a legal certification used to verify the authenticity of an official document issued in one country and used in another country. This means that an apostille acts as a passport for your documents. It simplifies the process of your documents being recognized in another country by removing the need for lengthy legalizations. Common documents that require an apostille include birth certificates, adoption papers, marriage certificates, and diplomas.
Contact the California Secretary of State Apostille Unit
The California Secretary of State Apostille Unit is responsible for authenticating public documents, issuing apostilles, and verifying notaries and public officials’ signatures. You can visit their website for information on how to file and obtain an apostille. They recommend that you obtain a copy of your document before submitting it for an apostille and ensure it’s the correct version of the record if you have different versions. You may also need to provide additional documentation, such as a notarized affidavit, to prove that the document is authentic.
Provide the Required Information and Fee
To obtain an apostille, you will need to fill out an application form. The application form requires you to provide the document’s name, the country where it will be used, and other relevant information. You also need to pay the applicable fee, which varies depending on the document. The fees are generally affordable and range between $5 – $20.
Submit Your Application
Once you have filled out the application form and provided the required documentation, you can submit your application. The California Secretary of State Apostille Unit allows you to file your application in person or by mail. If submitting by mail, it is recommended that you use a reliable courier service to ensure your document does not get lost.
Wait for the Apostille to be Returned
After submitting your application, you will need to wait for the apostille to be returned. The processing time for an apostille can vary, but the California Secretary of State Apostille Unit aims to complete requests within ten working days (this does not include weekends and holidays). Upon receiving your apostille, be sure to examine it to ensure that it contains all required information.
Obtaining an apostille in California is a straightforward process as long as you follow the necessary steps. Understanding the purpose of an apostille and providing the required information and documentation accurately can save time and money while processing your request. By following the guide outlined above, you can simplify the process of getting an apostille and be one step closer to relocating abroad, studying in a foreign institution, or conducting a business transaction in a foreign country.