How To Obtain Apostille of Certified Document Translations
There is a growing need for Apostille translation services “Apostille” is the French word for “certification.” It is a process that originated from the 1961 Hague Convention by which legal or other official documents are authenticated. It allows countries to understand and exchange certain public documents regardless of their official languages.
Essentially, it is similar to obtaining certified copies of court orders.
Prior to the Hague Convention, there was no uniform procedure in place for authenticating official documents issued by one country for use in another. Thus, the possibility of fraud was ever present. With the Hague Legalization Convention, however, the process of authenticating foreign documents became much more streamlined and effective, thereby reducing the likelihood of obtaining and promulgating fraudulent documents.
A country that issues a document authenticates signatures on that document and verifies the document’s official seal. The “public documents” defined by the Hague Convention for purposes of Apostille are as follows:
• Those originating in a court, clerk of a court, public prosecutor or process server;
• Administrative documents
• Notarial acts
• Official certificates placed on documents
Examples of these types of documents that often require Apostille include, but are not limited to:
• articles of incorporation
• marriage licenses
• divorce decree
• powers of attorney
• birth certificates
• death certificates
• adoption papers
• school transcripts
• notarized documents
• background checks
Before going about obtaining an Apostille, one should first find out whether utilizing an Apostille is absolutely necessary, as the process can be quite time-consuming, particularly when foreign languages and foreign countries are involved. If an Apostille is required in a particular situation (i.e., obtaining the school records of an adopted child), then next step is to determine whether the issuing country is a party to the Hague Conference. Currently, there are 82 Members to the Hague Conference, including the United States. If the foreign country is a member of the Hague convention, then you will be able to easily locate the contact information for the appropriate authorities in the pertinent foreign country on the Hague Convention’s website. If the country is not a member of the Hague convention, however, then the document will need to be authenticated by the U.S. Consular.
Keep in mind that documents may still need to be translated into English, so be sure to allow enough time to obtain any necessary certified document translations if the Apostille must be obtained by a certain date.
The following states require documents written in a foreign language to be translated into English: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and South Carolina. The remaining states do not require such translation if the document has been properly notarized.
If the documents do need to be translated, be sure to send them to a professional translation company with experience translating documents written in the same language as your documents, be they in Romanian, Croatian, or Persian. One would not want to risk having the documents mistranslated when obtaining Apostille as the process is already sufficiently complicated.
Should you need assistance with the translation of foreign document in order to obtain apostille, contact All Language Alliance, Inc. We provide legal document translation services in more than 100 foreign languages, including Russian, Spanish, French, Polish, Lithuanian, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese,and many other uncommon and common foreign languages. Our certified translations are accepted by the US government agencies, foreign embassies and consulates.
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