Not sure what an apostille is or how the process works? Read on for answers to our most frequently asked questions or call (415) 655-9455 to ask a human.
What is an apostille?
Every country has different requirements for certifying documents. This can cause delays in international transactions because the receiving country has different requirements than the submitting country.
To speed up the process, countries at the 1961 Hague Conference on International Law signed the the Apostille Convention, which makes any document with an apostille attached acceptable in any other member country. (Apostille is French for “certification.”)
Which countries have signed the Apostille Convention?
As of July 2019, 117 countries are party to the Apostille Convention. The apostille on your document will be accepted in any of these countries:
Antigua and Barbuda
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
São Tomé and Príncipe
Trinidad and Tobago
What about other countries?
Countries that are not party to the Apostille Convention have highly specific authentication/legalization requirements. Select a tab below or contact us to learn more.
India is party to the Apostille Convention, but depending on what kind of documents are being apostilled, additional documentation may be required. Visit the Ministry of External Affairs for details.
Please call us at (415) 655-9455 before mailing any documents that need to be authenticated for India.
China requires an Authentication Application Form, a copy of your driver’s license or passport, and a business card (or photocopy of one). Note: as of November 15, 2017, China has updated the form’s content and requirements. It must now be filled out in ALL CAPS and signed twice in wet ink.
Sound complicated? SF Notary’s China authentication specialists can complete the application for you as your agent. We then bring everything to the Chinese consulate, submit it for legalization, and pick it up when it’s approved. China charges $50 per document for business documents with a 5-day turnaround or $70 for an expedited 3-day turnaround.
Please call us at (415) 655-9455 before mailing any documents that need to be authenticated for China.
Most California documents being legalized for use in Taiwan are processed through the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in San Francisco. Notarized documents must be accompanied by a signed Application Form for Authentication, a copy of your passport or driver’s license, and a business card. When filling out the application, please leave the content in the red box blank. That’s for us, acting as your agent. TECO charges $15 per document for two-day processing or $25 for one-day processing.
Note: federal documents (FBI background check, FDA, State Department, etc.) are authenticated at the Taiwan Embassy in Washington, DC. In addition to the above documentation, the embassy requires a signed, notarized power of attorney allowing our agent in DC to act on your behalf. Please click here to download a template of this letter.
Please call us at (415) 655-9455 before mailing any documents that need to be authenticated for Taiwan.
Whose signatures can be apostilled?
The California Secretary of State only authenticates signatures on documents that are issued in the State of California and are notarized by a commissioned notary public or any of the following public officials or their deputies:
- County clerks or recorders
- Court administrators of the Superior Court
- Executive clerks of the Superior Court
- Executive officers of the Superior Court
- FBI officials
- Judges of the Superior Court
- State officials
Does an apostille validate the content of a document?
An apostille is not a guarantee of the truthfulness of document content, and it does not guarantee that the receiving country will approve the document. It is solely a certification that the official who signed and stamped the document (i.e., a notary public, county clerk, court official, etc.) is properly authorized to do so.
Do you offer pickup/shipping services for apostilles and legalizations?
Yes! We can pick up the documents in San Francisco and select Bay Area locations. We will notarize them if needed. Once the documents are apostilled or legalized, we can ship them back to you or send them directly to the receiving country.
How do I schedule an apostille?
Click the Apostille Order Form button on the right to schedule online. You can also reach us at (415) 655-9455 or [email protected].