What happens when you're in a foreign country for work or personal reasons and you need to authenticate your personal documents from the United States, like a birth certificate, diploma, school transcript, marriage, or divorce record?
Suddenly, you're confounded with the same problem that many immigrants in this country face: each country has its own way of issuing documents and requirements for what makes those documents official -- and the one you happen to be standing in may not have remotely the same process as that used in the United States. Plus, the government of the foreign country you're in wants to make certain that you aren't using stolen or forged documents to create a new identity for some reason or hide from trouble back in the United States.
Apostille Document Services
If you're lucky, you're in one of the 113 countries that are governed by the Hague Convention. If you are, you can get an apostille, a specific type of certification of authenticity that can be obtained either from either the Secretary of the State where the original document was issued or the U.S. Department of State, which is located in Washington D.C.
If you're like most people, however, you probably need more than one document with an apostille -- and they may need to come from different states. For example, if you're looking to adopt a foreign-born child, you may need to provide your birth certificate from one state, a marriage certificate from the state you married in, and a background check (to prove that you aren't a criminal) from the state you're currently in.
That's a lot of paperwork to request on your own. You can often shorten the process and make it much easier on yourself by getting help with from a law firm that specializes in apostille services.
Alternative Certification Services
If you aren't in a country that's covered by the Hauge Convention, you can still authenticate your documents to that country's specifications -- but an apostille won't do it. You need a certification from the Department of State that issued the document and there may be additional authentication paperwork needed from either the embassy of the country you're in or the U.S. Department of State.
It's difficult to know exactly what is needed under those circumstances. An apostille is a standardized form that's automatically recognized and accepted -- a certification is not and knowing what you do need in addition to a certification can keep you from going through an agonizing wait while everything is checked and re-checked for accuracy. It's especially important to have an attorney helping you under those circumstances.
For more information, contact a company like Apostille Please, LLC who handles apostille services and document certification today!