Living in a major city in California comes with certain advantages. If you’re in Los Angeles, you have access to multitudes of food, cultural events, and consulates for obtaining visas. Those in San Francisco are similarly blessed, but sometimes have to transit through LAX for their trips abroad. However, because it’s such a large state, those between the two major cities as well as the ones far removed up north sometimes struggle when it comes time to prepare for travel.
Many travelers may have never had to obtain Apostille certification for their travels, especially if they were solely for tourism, transit, or volunteering. However, such certification can be absolutely necessary for those traveling for work and business in countries that fall under the Hague Convention. For long-term expats abroad, marriage certificates with an Apostille may be used to apply for dual citizenship. FBI criminal background checks are required to apply for work visas in a number of countries in Asia.
With that in mind, what exactly is an Apostille? Essentially, it’s a special kind of certification that allows an official document in one country to be recognized in another. University diplomas may be given an Apostille for working abroad or to continue one’s education. The Hague Convention only covers about half the countries on Earth; for others, an Authentication Certificate is required.
So how can the average person get an Apostille? In California, depending on where you live and work, there are a few choices. Every state capitol building has an office nearby or on the grounds to process Apostille certifications. In Sacramento, fortunately, there is no distinction between Authentication and Apostille Certification; the office of the Secretary of State issues one document valid in all countries. However, the Secretary of State in California is only authorized to authenticate issued locally, e.g. UC Davis transcripts and marriage certificates. For documents for which you need certification specifically from the federal government, e.g. naturalization documents, these must be processed by US Department of State in Washington DC.
Anyone seeking Apostille certification at the federal or state level can ship their documents or apply in person. Naturally, this isn’t always possible if you’re in Santa Barbara and only available during non-business hours. You may choose to ship your documents to Sacramento as opposing to flying or doing a road trip, but the processing time may not be ideal for your travel plans. Do you have days or weeks to get a passport renewal, Apostille certain documents, and send your new book in with a visa application? Waiting for a delayed flight because of a mistake may only cost you a few hours, but waiting for a delayed Apostille certification can mean delay of days, or weeks.
When you need someone knowledgeable to handle every aspect of the bureaucracy clouding your travel plans, Travel Visa Pro stands out above the rest. Why should you have to stop at a pharmacy for passport photos, drive for hours and wait in line for Apostille certification, and then schedule an appointment at a consulate when there are professionals just waiting to help? Travel Visa Pro’s team of travel experts have over forty years of experience getting our clients the travel documents they need in the time they need.
The applications and documents needed for Apostille certification may not always be difficult for some travelers to obtain, but it comes down to convenience for others. Would you rather entrust your travel documents to a company with a proven track record of demystifying the visa and passport application process, or handle it yourself? The latter is possible, but just one mistake can sometimes make the difference between smooth sailing and total disaster.
Apostille Services in California State
As most of the people living in California are either in Los Angeles – 6-hour drive – or San Francisco – 2-hour drive – commuting to Sacramento for the services they need isn’t really feasible. In addition, the US Department of State is accessible only by post for residents, unless they happen to be planning a trip to the east coast. What this means is that Californians may be forced into applying for the travel documents they need one at a time: first a new passport, second a criminal background check; third, an Apostille for a visa application; finally, they can all go in in the same package to the nearest consulate… assuming the country accepts applications by mail.
Travel Visa Pro can reduce the time required at every step of this process by offering all the services you need at one location. Whether you live close to one of our offices or just want to mail your paperwork to one place and not several, come to us for your visa and passport needs. We can handle Apostille certification, passport renewals, visa applications, travel insurance, and passport photos, among other services.