The Hammocks Apostille Service
Apostille is a certificate which verifies and confirms the seal and signature of person who authenticated the document . Some people call this ‘Fast Legalization‘. There are designated authorities in every country to issue apostille certificates or legalizations. At the same time, countries’ designated authorities may turn around and designate other authorities that can produce the Apostilles.
Plain and simple: Apostille is a certificate issued under the Apostille Convention, authenticating the origin of a public document.
In the U.S. territory, Office of Authentications, U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. is the designated party to issue Federal Apostilles and validate the State’s Certifications. However, Apostilles for Vital Records, Notaries, School Transcripts and more, all are Apostille at State level.
The Apostille ( aka Notarial Certification ) is commonly issued for the international validation of documents, to be used abroad. Some of these documents may be related to adoption cases, International commercial documentation, for official documents related to vital statistics that will be presented overseas, court or land records, school documents, patent applications and more.
Basically, Apostilles are used whenever you have a document that requires to be legally accepted in a foreign country.
Not all countries can issue an Apostille, but only the countries that had signed ‘Hague agreement for abolishing the need for public legalization on Apostilled Documents‘. Once apostille is obtained, it is automatically considered ‘valid’ and ‘acceptable’ in all the countries members of the Hague convention. Some small territories or notably some countries, may very well recognize apostille, even though they cannot issue apostille (simply because they are not members of Hague Convention 1961). See: Hague Convention Website.
If the country where the document will be used is not a party to the Convention, you will have to begin the cumbersome, time-consuming process of obtaining a series of certifications known as the “Legalization“.
Documents issued on any given country, cannot be simply considered valid in a foreign country.
Most likely, documents authenticated by public notaries, or documents issued by a Government entity or State, will not be valid on a foreign country. You will be asked to obtain an ‘Apostille’ or a ‘Legalization’. Then, and only then, the document will be considered valid overseas. Some of the most common documents used overseas that require Apostilles:
- Powers of attorney,
- Birth, Death, Divorce or marriages records,
- Incorporation company records,
- Deeds, Patent applications,
- School transcripts and Titles,
- Legal papers,
- Police Records,
- FBI Background Check,
- Naturalization Documentation,
- Single Status Statements (Afidávits),
- Id cards & Passports, etc.
The following are considered as public deeds within the meaning of that Hague Convention:
- Any document issued by an authority or by an official covered by a jurisdiction of the State, including those coming from the public prosecutor, a clerk of the court or a bailiff;
- Administrative documents such as deeds from the public records office;
- Notarial deeds;
- Official declarations such as references of registration, visas for a set date and certifications of signature, applied to private agreements.
“Apostille” (pronounced a-pos-TEE, not a-pos-TEAL or a-posTILL-ee) is of French origin. It comes from the French verb “apostiller”,
which derives from the old French word postille meaning “annotation”, and before it the Latin word postilla, a variation of the word postea, which
means “thereafter, afterwards, next”.
Article 7 of the Hague convention provides for the use of a standardized authentication certificate called an “apostille” and consists of the following:
- Name of the country from which the document emanates;
- Name of person signing the document;
- The capacity in which the person signing the document has acted; in the case of unsigned documents, the name of the authority which has affixed the seal or the stamp;
- Place of certification;
- Date of certification;
- The authority issuing the certificate;
- Number of certificate;
- Seal or stamp of authority issuing the certificate;
- Signature of authority issuing certificate.
Being a Member of the Hague Conference should not be confused with being a Contracting State to the Apostille Convention (or any other Hague Convention for that matter). A Member does not have to be (or become) party to the Apostille Convention and a Contracting State to the Apostille Convention does not have to be (or become) a Member of the Hague Conference.
Not all Members of the Hague Conference have joined the Apostille Convention.
We can certainly process:
Certificate to Foreign Government (CFG).
Apostille from the Environmental Protection Agency
Certificate of Pharmaceutical Products
Export Certificate for Animal Products
Free Sale Certificate issued by the FDA
Certified copy of Naturalization from Homeland Security
Phytosanitary or Plant Certificate
and many more
HAGUE APOSTILLE vs LEGALIZATION (Certification)
Legalization was the original process used to have documents from one country valid on a foreign country.
However, this process became obsolete after The Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents (HCCH 1961 Apostille Convention) and replacing those with an Apostille, which facilitates the use of public documents abroad.
The purpose of this Convention was to abolish the traditional requirement of legalization, replacing the often long and costly legalization process with the issuance of a single Apostille certificate by a Contracting State to the Apostille Convention in the country where the document originates.
The establishment of Apostille Services, mostly in Democratic countries, has facilitated the exchange of legal documents among countries that have signed the agreements stablished during the Hague Convention of 5 October 1961.
Those Contracting State that have not joined the Apostille Convention Agreement, must continue following the Legalization process.
The different situations we may foresee:
1. Apostille Service. If there is a document that will be used overseas, where State of Origen & Destination, both have joined the Apostille Convention, then all Requirements of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents of 1961 (henceforth HC-1961) are voided. The authenticity of the document should be certified with an Apostille by the competent institution of the relevant state according to provisions of the Convention. The document bearing an Apostille is not subject to any other confirmation by any Diplomatic nor consular missions.
Apostille Service Example. A Birth Certificate originated in the U.S. would be used overseas into a Contracting State to the Apostille Convention, lets say Spain, Italy, etc.
Enclose the document to be authenticated. An original certified copy or certificate of status of a public document is required. A photocopy is not acceptable. Notarized documents must contain an up to date full notarial statement and the original notary public’s signature, stamp and seal.
After presenting the document to the Department of State’s authorities, They will issue an Apostille and attach it to the original document.
2. Legalization (Certification) Services. Either party, State of Origen or Destination are not a Contracting State to the Apostille Convention. In this case, we shall follow the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents of 1961 (henceforth HC-1961). The document has to be legalized by the Foreign Affairs Ministry in the originating country, or it has to be legalized by an office assigned by the Country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Consular Department.
Legalization (Certification) Service Example. A Birth Certificate originated in the U.S. would be used overseas, lets say Rusia, China, Cuba, etc.
Follow same process as with Apostilles. However, Department of State’s authorities will not issue an Apostille but a Certification aka Legalization document and attach it to the original document.
Original document & Certification shall be presented to the Office of Authentications, U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C.
They will produce an additional document that would be attached to the previous two documents.
Immediately after, all these documents shall be presented in the foreign Country’s Embassy or to their Business Council, which is the premier business advocacy organization. Business Council are dedicated to strengthening the economic and commercial relationship between the originating and receiving country.
IS THIS POSSIBLE, A MITH OR FRAUD ?
I will take the Florida Apostille Process as an Example….
The only entity in Florida approved to issue an Apostille is the:
Florida Department of State
The Centre of Tallahassee
2415 N. Monroe Street, Suite 810
Tallahassee, FL 32303
There is no other entity capable of producing an Apostille in Florida.
If you send them your documents by mail, the regular turn around is 15-25 days.
If you walk in, the turn around is from 24 up to 48 hours.
THE ONLY WAY TO OBTAIN A SAME DAY APOSTILLE SERVICE IS:
YOU ARE IN TALLAHASSEE AND REQUEST THE APOSTILLE IN THE MORNING
We walk into the FDS all our Apostilles daily. Our turn around is 24-48 hours. Sometimes we get them same day. But that’s not often. Most of the time we get them next day.
If you walk into an office that provides Apostille Services and this vendor immediately hands you an Apostille, or offers you a next day service, you shall be suspicious, be aware of the facts I just mentioned before.
If someone is giving you an Apostille as soon as you walk into their office, most likely that Apostille was issue for another document. This is a forged Apostille, it is a fraud.
This vendor is committing a crime. If you buy him this document, the receiving party overseas may face criminal charges and pay consequences for using forged Apostilles. Please do not fall into those type of scams.
Its not uncommon to have documents presented overseas. As we already know, many of these foreign countries have as their official language, any but English. So if you wish to present your document there, the paperwork shall be accompanied by an official translated document. And that’s when we upgrade our services, providing: