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Apostilles and AuthenticationsOffice of the Secretary of State of TexasGovernment Filings Section1

From where does the term apostille comeand what does it mean? Apostille is a French term meaning acertification. It is the title given to the authentication certificateissued under the Hague Convention Abolishingthe Requirement of Legalization for ForeignPublic Documents (“Hague LegalizationConvention”). The apostille certifies to the authenticity of thesignature, the capacity in which the person signingthe document has acted and where appropriate, theidentity of the seal or stamp which the documentbears.2

What is the purpose of the HagueLegalization Convention? Documents issued in one country to be used in or presentedto another country must be “authenticated” or “legalized”before the other country will recognize those documentsand give the documents the legal import given in thejurisdiction of origination. The Hague LegalizationConvention simplifies the procedures for documentspresented to countries adopting the convention. Prior to the Hague Convention and for countries which arenot members of the Convention, the chain authenticationprocedure was or is used. This involves multipleauthentications by different authorities in the chain ofissuance.3

What countries are members of the HagueLegalization Convention?A complete list of countries is available on the website of the Hague Conference on PrivateInternational Law at: http://www.hcch.net/.4

What countries are members of the HagueLegalization Convention?The United States is a party to the HagueLegalization Convention. With the ratification of theHague Legalization Convention by Mexico, theTexas Secretary of State has seen a dramatic rise inthe requests for issuance of apostilles.5

What are the 10 elements of an apostille?Information Regarding the Public Document towhich the Apostille is to be Affixed. Country in which the apostille is produced Name of the public official signing thedocument which is the subject of the apostille Capacity of the public official The seal or stamp appearing on the publicdocument, if any6

What are the 10 Elements of an Apostille?Information Regarding the Issuance of theApostille Place where the apostille was issued Date of issuance Who issued the apostille Certificate number assigned to the apostille Seal or stamp of competent authority Signature of the competent authority7

Other Requirements for the Apostille The model apostille should be in the form of asquare with sides at least 9 centimeters long. Apostilles should be consecutively numbered. Variations in the form of an apostille should notbe grounds for rejection so long as the apostille isclearly identified as an apostille.Apostilles issued by the Texas SOS are on 8 ½” by11” letterhead.8

Sample Apostille9

Competent Authorities for DocumentsIssued by Federal Agencies Apostilles for documents generated by federalexecutive and administrative agencies are issued by:Authentications OfficeU. S. Department of State600 19th St, NWWashington, D.C. 20006(202) 485-8000http://www.state.gov/m/a/auth/10

Competent Authorities for DocumentsIssued by Federal Courts Apostilles for documents generated by U.S.Courts are issued by the clerks and deputy clerksof the Federal Court System.11

Certified Copy of a Consular Report ofBirth, Marriage or Death AbroadThe Authentication Office of the U.S. StateDepartment does not certify to birth, marriage anddeath certificates issued abroad. For assistance,contact the U.S. Passport Office at (202) 955-0307.Additional information available t 825.html12

Who are the Competent Authorities in Texas toissue an Apostille?Each subscribing nation may designate thoseauthorities which may issue Apostilles fortheir jurisdiction. The United States hasappointed the Secretary of State (orcomparable officer) from each state. TheSecretary of State of Texas has expanded thisauthorization to include the Deputy Secretaryof State and the division directors.13

Why would someone need an apostille? Foreign adoptions Destination wedding ina foreign country Submitting educational qualifications to a foreign countryas a result of employment in that country Business document to be produced in that foreign country To open a Swiss bank account14

What kinds of documents can be apostillised?The convention applies only to public documents: documents originating in a court, clerk of a court,public prosecutor or process server; administrative documents; documents with a notarial certificate; and documents with official certificates.15

Public Documents to which an Apostille istypically affixed Birth/death certificates Marriage licenses Divorce decrees Certified copies of corporate documents, such ascertificates of formation, amendments or mergers Probated wills Judgments A document with a notarial certificate from a Texas notary16

Documents for which Texas SOS will notissue an Apostille Birth certificate for someone residing in Texasbut who was born in Oklahoma. Document notarized in Louisiana by a Louisiananotary. Document that does not have the signature of apublic official or a notary.You need to secure an apostille from the jurisdictionthat issued the document for which you seek theapostille.17

Documents for which Texas SOS will notissue an Apostille Citizenship, allegiance and sovereigntydocument.Under federal law, the US State Department refusesto provide authentication or notarial services for“citizenship” documents that could be used forfraudulent or criminal circumstances and haverecommended that the state competent authoritiessimilarly refuse.18

Public Officials for whom Texas SOS willissue an Apostille Secretary of State and other state officials fromTexas Texas county clerks and other county officials State, local and municipal judges City or local registrars (SOS only has names ofregistrars holding office during the last threeyears) Texas notaries public19

Procedures to Obtain ApostilleThe Secretary of State has promulgated forms to beused as the request for an apostille. The forms areavailable on the SOS web site tml#C20

Apostille Forms Use form 2102 for an apostille for a documentsigned by a state, county or local official. Use form 2103 if the apostille is required for usein proceedings related to the adoption of a child.21

Procedures to Obtain Apostille The request for an apostille must be accompaniedby the complete original document to which theapostille will be affixed.OR A recently issued certified copy of the document.22

Procedures to Obtain ApostilleThe request for an apostille must identify the nameof the country to which the documents will besubmitted.The Texas SOS checks to ensure that the namedcountry is a member of the Hague LegalizationConvention. If the country has not joined theconvention, the SOS will not issue an apostille.23

Procedures to Obtain Apostille The Texas SOS will not issue an apostillefor a document to be presented to anotherstate of the United States or one of theterritories of the United States.Other certification procedures apply if thecountry is not a member of the HagueLegalization Convention or the document is tobe presented to another US state or territory.24

Cost of an Apostille The statutory fee of 15 per apostille must besubmitted with the request unless the apostilles arerequested for use in adoption proceedings. If the apostille is for adoption proceedings, the feeis 10 per apostille and the total fees may notexceed 100 for the adoption of each child.25

Contact InformationIn person requests, come visit us at:James Earl Rudder Building1019 BrazosAustin, Texas 7870126

Mailing and DeliveryMail:Office of the Secretary of StateGovernment Filings SectionP. O. Box 13550Austin, Texas 78711-3550Delivery:1019 BrazosAustin, Texas 7870127

Contact InformationCall (512) 463-5705Email [email protected]

How Long Does it TakeIn person requests are generally processed by theTexas SOS while the customer waits. Otherrequests are processed in 3 to 5 business days ofreceipt. But remember to add days for delivery ofthe completed documents by the post office orcourier.29

Do I Need to Send the Original Document?In accordance with instructions from the U.S. StateDepartment, the Texas SOS will only certify tooriginal documents or recently certified documents.30

May I use one apostille for multiple documentssigned by the same official?An apostille is specific to a document since itincludes the date. Consequently, generallyseparate apostilles should be requested foreach document. However, if the sameauthority has signed different documents onthe same date, check with the country inwhich the document will be presented.31

Will Texas SOS issue an apostille signed by apublic official in another jurisdiction?No.Texas only has authority to issue apostilles for Texasofficials and Texas notaries.32

Are all apostilles issued in English?YES!The Secretary of State does not offer translationservices and does not issue apostilles in any languageother than English. We can affix an apostille to anotarized translation or a notarized document inanother language but the apostille will be in English.33

How do I get an apostille for a school record?A school transcript or diploma may only be certifiedby the educational institution that issued thetranscript or diploma. The certifying official for theinstitution must complete the certification before aTexas notary public. An apostille may then beissued for the notarized certified transcript ordiploma.34

Common Problems that Preclude Issuanceof an Apostille Document only has a notary signature and sealdoes not include a notary certificate. Document does not contain the officer’ssignature and seal. Failure to send the complete document. TexasSOS will not issue an apostille if the signaturepage is submitted without the rest of thedocument. Documents that have not been signed by theperson who should have signed the document.35

Problems Continued If Texas SOS cannot read the signature of theofficial and there is no printed name, we cannotissue an apostille regarding that unknownpersons capacity. Translated document when a notary serves asboth the translator and notarizes his or her ownsignature. Recordable documents that are inappropriatelycertified by a notary rather than the official withwhom the document has been recorded.36

Questions(512) 463-5705Email [email protected]