Any document issued in South Carolina that is to be used outside the United States requires Authentication or Apostille. The processing steps depend on which agency issued the document and which country the document is destined for use. The following authentication or apostille steps are for your reference:
1. Obtain certified copies from government agencies or have documents notarized by a South Carolina notary.
Certified copies of vital records (such as birth/marriage/divorce/death certificates, etc.) should be obtained from the vital records office of the state, with the seal and authorized signature of the department issuing the document. Most notaries are not allowed to notarize those vital records documents. Alternatively, the notary can acknowledge the signature of the person making the original or true copy statement on the document. However, other personal or corporate documents, such as the power of attorney, declaration, will, contract, etc., can be notarized by a notary of the state.
2. Send certified copies or notarized documents to the South Carolina Secretary of State.
If the destination country requiring the document is one of the Hague Apostille countries, you should request an Apostille from the Secretary of State. Then, the document is ready for use. No further authentication steps are needed.
If the destination country requiring the document is one of the Non-Hague Apostille countries, you should request an Authentication from the Secretary of State. The subsequent authentication and legalization process are needed.
3. Send the SOS authenticated documents to the U.S. Department of State for further Authentication.
4. Send the DOS authenticated documents to the embassy of the foreign country in the United States for embassy authentication or legalization.
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