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Legalizing Documents Outside the US

It’s not easy to capture all the complexities that exist with legalizing documents outside the U.S. While we admit that the legalizing documents process inside the U.S. isn’t overly simple, it is definitely more simple than keeping track of all the different rules that often depend on individual countries outside the U.S. We’ve gathered our best advice on confirming you’ve gone through the right process when it comes to legalizing your documents for international business. Follow these steps for legalizing documents outside the U.S.

Be patient. This is not a process you will be able to rush or control. It is up to the embassy on how long this takes and additional hoops they may ask you to jump through. Typically the embassy is only in charge of verifying the authenticity of the seal and signature of the government authority, however, they may actually review the content of the documents. If they go through this process, they can refuse their approval based on something within the content of the documents.

Be methodical and detail orientated. There are different requirements for documents to presented in the U.S. than other countries. For example, in some countries your document may be accepted if it certified by a solicitor or a notary. However, in other countries, they may only accept a notary or solicitor, not either. It’s incredibly important for you to know these details in advance of starting this process.

Understand the Hague Convention. While you don’t need to know this in-depth, you do need to know the apostille process for the individual country you are preparing documents for. Please check the country the document is being certified in as well as the country the document is for to understand if both are part of the Hague Convention. If they both are, the process will be different than if one is not.

Don’t underestimate the hassle of going to the foreign embassy yourself. There are many agencies out there like Washington Express Visas that can help with this process. Using a company that does this all the time vs. an individual that has never done this before will help with understanding the complexities of working with a foreign embassy. It can be a stressful and long process so get help!

Let Washington Express help you with legalizing your documents. Contact us today for a consultation!