Apostille and Authentication Services for Virginia documents that will be used in foreign countries.
What is an Apostille?
Apostille is a French word which means a certification, and is commonly used to refer to the legalization of a document for international use under the terms of the 1961 Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents.
Why do I need to obtain an Apostille?
When a document is to be used in a foreign country, it may be necessary to have the document authenticated. An authentication certifies the signature and the capacity of the official who has executed the document. The authentication may also authenticate the seal of the official. Most member countries agree that a document which has been legalized with an Apostille Certificate in its country of origin will be accepted in any other member country. This removes the need for further evidence to be obtained to prove the documents authenticity.
Does my document require notarization?
Yes, @AfterHoursVA will notarize the document *free of charge. (Must be local in-person notarization.)
If the document is already notarized, it must be properly notarized by a Virginia notary (as allowed by law) within the past 12 months. The original document is needed to present to the office of the Secretary of State.
Can you authenticate a document that has been signed by a Virginia Electronic Notary Public (eNotary)?
At this time, the Secretary of State’s office cannot authenticate an electronic notarization with an Apostille or Great Seal authentication.
What countries are parties to the Hague Apostille Convention?
Click here for the PDF list of countries that are participants of the Hague Apostille Convention.
The official list can be found at The Hague Conference on Private International Law’s website.
What if the country I need to send my documents to are not parties to the Hague Apostille Convention?
If the country where the document will be used is NOT a party to the Hague Apostille Convention, the document will be sent to the U.S. Department of State to issue a Authentication Certificate in addition to the office of the Secretary of State. This process will take approximately 15 – 21 days, not including weekends or federal holidays.