Notarial Services Legalization and Apostille

Legalization and Apostille

Legalization and apostille are processes used to authenticate documents for use in foreign countries. The specific method you need to follow depends on the country where the documents will be used. Here are general steps to obtain legalization and apostille:


Legalization is a process where a document is authenticated by various authorities to ensure its validity in a foreign country. The process typically involves the following steps:

  1. Notarization:
    • Ensure that the document is notarized by a Notary Public. The notary will verify the identity of the signatory and witness the signing of the document.
  2. Authentication by Local Authorities:
    • Depending on the country, the notarized document may need to be authenticated by local authorities. This can include state or provincial government offices or a designated authentication authority.
  3. Consular Legalization:
    • In some cases, the document may need to be legalized by the consulate or embassy of the country where it will be used. Contact the relevant consulate or embassy to inquire about their specific requirements.
  4. Foreign Affairs or State Department:
    • Some countries may require further authentication by the foreign affairs or state department of your country. Check with the appropriate government office for guidance.


An apostille is a simplified form of legalization and is typically used for documents that will be used in countries that are part of the Hague Apostille Convention. The steps include:

  1. Notarization:
    • Start by having the document notarized by a Notary Public. The notary will verify the identity of the signatory and witness the signing of the document.
  2. State Authentication:
    • In most cases, the notarized document needs to be authenticated by the state’s Secretary of State office. This is the first step in obtaining an apostille.
  3. U.S. Department of State Authentication:
    • After state authentication, the document may need to be further authenticated by the U.S. Department of State. This step is required for federal documents.
  4. Apostille Certificate:
    • The final step is to obtain the apostille certificate. This is usually issued by the Secretary of State’s office or a designated authority in the state where the document was notarized. The apostille certifies the authenticity of the document for international use.

Important Considerations:

  • Document Type:
    • The types of documents that can be apostilled or legalized vary. Common documents include birth certificates, marriage certificates, academic transcripts, and legal affidavits.
  • Check Country Requirements:
    • Research the specific requirements of the country where the documents will be used. Some countries have different procedures and may require additional steps.
  • Timelines and Fees:
    • Be aware of processing times and associated fees for each step in the apostille or legalization process. It’s advisable to start the process well in advance of when the documents are needed.
  • Professional Assistance:
    • If the process seems complex or if you encounter challenges, consider seeking professional assistance from agencies that specialize in document authentication and legalization.

Remember that the procedures outlined here are general guidelines, and the specific requirements can vary by jurisdiction. Always check with the relevant authorities or consult with a legal professional for the most accurate and up-to-date information.