(202) 393-3030

Do You Need An Apostille?

Do you need an apostille? This can be a very tricky question! It is not always straightforward and based on different requirements in different countries, whether or not you need an apostille will vary. One important thing to remember is even if you do not need an apostille based on your documents, if you request one from the regulatory agency, they will give you one! They do not check whether it’s required based on your request that’s why it’s important to understand the guidelines as well as engage a service like Washington Express Visas to make sure you have everything you need and are not wasting time, money or energy. 

 It is important to understand the definition of apostille and the 1961 Hague Convention to know whether or not you need an apostille for your document. An apostille is a certificate that authenticates the origin of a public document. And all countries that signed on to the 1961 Hague Convention agreed to accept an “apostilled” document from other countries part of the Hague Convention. Therefore, if you need to use a non-federal document in a Hague Country, you are able to use the apostille certification process. 

 As part of the apostille  process you will need to work with your state’s Secretary of State if they are non-federal documents and if they are federal documents you will work with the U.S. Department of State. This process can be made easy by Washington Express Visas. Contact us directly for more information!

 So now back to our original question…do you need an apostille? Well the answer to that goes back to the Hague Convention of 1961. If you are sending documents to a country part of the Hague Convention, then the answer is yes! You will need to apostille your document. However, if you are sending documents to a country that is NOT part of the Hague Convention…then you do NOT need an apostille. Instead you need to authenticate your document(s). The process of authentication looks very similar to apostille but is not actually the same. For authenticated documents for countries not part of the Hague Convention, you must first send your document to the Secretary of State before it gets authenticated by the U.S. State Department. Again, keep in mind that if you are not aware of the difference in this process and you send your documents to the Secretary of State and ask for an apostille, they will give that to you! Regardless of if your documents are for a country not part of the Hague Convention of 1961. 

 Washington Express is more than happy to help with the process of apostille or authentication. Contact us today for a consultation!