A Brief Introduction to Notarization, Authentication, and Legalization.

Updated: Oct 10

1. Brief introduction


Anytime you need to submit official documents for use in foreign countries, it oftentimes requires that you have these documents verified here in the US before sending them or taking them to other countries. In the U.S., offices of county clerks, secretaries of state or equivalent state filing offices, and even some courts, may be involved in the certification process. The whole process may include Notarization, Secretary of State Apostille/Authentication, Department of State Apostille/Authentication, and Embassy/Consulate Legalization.


Notarization

Notarization is the official fraud-deterrent process that assures the parties of a transaction that a document is authentic and can be trusted. It is a three-part process, performed by a Notary Public, that includes vetting, certifying and record-keeping. notarization is the assurance by a duly appointed and impartial Notary Public that a document is authentic, that its signature is genuine, and that its signer acted without duress or intimidation, and intended the terms of the document to be in full force and effect.


Apostille and Authentication


Apostilles and authentication certificates validate the seal and signature of a Notary on a document so that it can be accepted in a foreign country.


Apostille: An Apostille is simply the name for a specialized certificate, issued by the Secretary of State or the Department of State. The Apostille is attached to your original document to verify it is legitimate and authentic so it will be accepted in one of the other countries who are members of the Hague Apostille Convention.


Authentication: Documents certified by the State and destined for countries who are not members of the Hague Apostille Convention require State authentication, U.S. Department of State authentication, and Embassy or Consulate legalization. Also, documents issued by the U.S. Federal Government can only be processed through the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. before being presented to the Embassy or Consulate office for legalization. The requirements and processing time for authentication certificates will vary from country to country.


Once your documents have been authenticated at the State level, the next step is to have your documents certified at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. The federal-issued documents (such as FBI – Background check, Certificate of Pharmaceutical/Export, Trademark, etc.) and documents issued by the District of Columbia do not need apostille or authentication of the Secretary of State. They may directly be sent to the office of the Department of State.


Embassy or Consulate Legalization

Once your documents have been authenticated at the State level or at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., the next step is to have your documents legalized at Consulate or Embassy.


All documents in a foreign language must include a certified or notarized English translation.


2. Process



3. Time


  • Notarization: get the documents notarized immediately after a notarial act properly performed by a notary.

  • Secretary of State Apostille/Authentication: usually about 10-15 business days, depending on the work volume of the office and the delivery time. Most office does not provide expedited services.

  • U.S. Department of State Apostille/Authentication: standard processing 12 business days, express processing 7 business days, rush processing 3 business days.

  • Embassy Legalization: standard processing 12 business days, express processing 7 business days, rush processing 3 business days.


4. Required materials


  • Order Form of our center

  • Authentication Application Form (it differs by your destination country)

  • The original the document to be authenticated

  • The copy of the document to be authenticated

  • Copy of the applicant's ID, such as passport, driver's license, and green card

  • Others


American Notary Service Center Inc. provides fair, fast, confidential, and professional document notarization and certification services for our clients. We also provide various assistance services to small businesses led by socially and economically disadvantaged groups. Our service helps small businesses obtain federal government contracts, gain a foothold in the market, and boost their sales. For more information, please visit our website at www.usnotarycenter.com, and contact us by calling 202-599-0777 or by email at info@usnotarycenter.com.

CONTACT US

7510 Diplomat Dr., STE 101,

Manassas, VA 20109, USA

+1 202-599-0777

info@usnotarycenter.com

ANSC is a legal entity incorporated in Virginia, USA. We are not affiliated, associated, endorsed by, or in any way officially connected with any government agency. The materials and information available at this website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. We provide information and software and you are responsible for appropriately using this material.