Apostille may be a term you’ve never encountered in your travelers, but when it comes time to gather certain paperwork, the process isn’t always as straightforward as mailing in all the documents to the appropriate consulate for a work visa. Some countries request federal criminal background checks to be submitted along with your application to work abroad, and in order for these documents to be recognized in certain foreign countries, Apostille certification must be provided.
Apostille certification is necessary to recognize documents that were issued in the US in certain countries. A criminal background check issued by the FBI may be valid anywhere in the US, but when applying for work and business visas in countries under the Hague Convention, it won’t be accepted without an Apostille from the State Department.
Pennsylvania has an office with the Secretary of State in Harrisburg processing Apostilles. Any documents certified here can only be those issued by the state itself, e.g. marriage certificates, university diplomas, certain business agreements. However, for any documentation issued by the federal government – naturalization certificates, criminal background checks – an Apostille must be issued at the US Department of State.
Both types of Apostilles are available with applications through the mail and in person in Harrisburg, but this isn’t always possible for many applicants. Driving from Philadelphia to Harrisburg during normal business hours may be possible if your departure date is quickly approaching, nor would you necessarily want your application to be in the mail, just waiting to be processed. Only a few states offer satellite offices for the Secretary of State in bigger cities, and Pennsylvania is not one of them; all in-person applications must be made at the state capital. Mail-in applications on the state level don’t usually take too long, but the DC offices of the Department of State may take weeks depending on the backlog.
Consider if you’re not able to travel to either office for any reason. Passport renewals may be required prior to your trip, a delay of days or weeks. Visa applications, assuming the visa can even be processed through the mail – some countries don’t allow this – adds a few more days. This means sending applications through the mail at least three time sequentially, as the information on one completed document may needed for another application.
Apostille Services in Pennsylvania State
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Travel Visa Pro should be your first choice when you learn you need an Apostille in Pennsylvania with your visa application. For many travelers, it all comes down to convenience. Would you rather handle your applications yourself for the first time, risking possible delays or even a cancellation, or entrust your documents to a company with a proven track record of demystifying the visa and passport application process?
With offices in New York City, Washington DC, and Philadelphia, Travel Visa Pro can offer residents of Pennsylvania everything they need to get all their applications processed at once. Even if you’re not sure if you need an Apostille for your visa application, take the time call and talk to one of our travel experts. We’ll walk you through the process and get you on the road faster.