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What is an Apostille?

An apostille (pronounced “ah-po-steel”) is a certificate issued by the Secretary of State or other Notary regulating agency that proves the authenticity of a Notary’s signature and seal. The apostille is attached to your original document to verify it is legitimate and authentic so it will be accepted in countries who are members of the Hague Apostille Convention.

The Hague Apostille Convention was a conference held in 1961 in which many countries joined together to create a simplified method of “legalizing” documents for universal recognition.  Members of this conference adopted a document referred to as an Apostille that would be recognized by all member countries.  Apostille only pertains to public documents such as marriage, birth, and death certificates and other court documents, patents, or even diplomas.

The United States of America has been a part of the Hague Convention since October 1981.  Getting documents apostilled can be a challenging task, especially if it’s your first experience with the document authentication process.  Fortunately, our team at Washington Express Visas is happy to guide you through the process.  Contact us today for assistance!


The following list includes the 113 countries that are members of the Hague Apostille Convention:​​

Albania Germany Norway
Andorra Greece Oman
Antigua and Barbuda Grenada Panama
Argentina  Guatemala Paraguay
Armenia Honduras Peru
Australia Hong Kong Poland
Austria Hungary Portugal
Azerbaijan Iceland Romania
Bahamas India Russia
Bahrain Ireland Saint Kitts and Nevis
Barbados Israel Saint Lucia
Belarus Italy Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Belgium Japan Samoa
Belize Kosovo San Marino
Bosnia and Herzegovina Kazakhstan Sao Tome and Principe
Botswana Latvia Serbia
Brazil Lesotho Seychelles
Brunei Liberia Slovakia
Bulgaria Liechtenstein Slovenia
Burundi Lithuania South Africa
Cape Verde Luxembourg South Korea
Chile Macau Spain
Colombia Macedonia Suriname
Cook Islands Malawi Swaziland
Costa Rica Malta Sweden
Croatia Marshall Islands Switzerland
Cyprus Mauritius Tajikistan
Czech Republic Mexico Tonga
Denmark Moldova Trinidad and Tobago
Dominica Monaco Turkey
Dominican Republic Mongolia Ukraine
Ecuador Montenegro United Kingdom
El Salvador Morocco United States
Estonia Namibia Uruguay
Fiji Netherlands Uzbekistan
Finland New Zealand Vanuata
France Nicaragua Venezuela
Georgia Niue