How to Apostille a Document in the US
When it comes time to travel, especially if you’re applying for a work visa, apostille certification can be very important. It can be used on any number of documents, including marriage certificates, diplomas, criminal background checks, birth certificates, business agreements, and those issued by the government at the state or federal level.
Work visa applications in many countries require apostille certification before you mail anything in. Federal criminal background checks are a good example, but even a university diploma may require verification to be accepted abroad.
What can an apostille be used for?
An apostille is 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 in another country. This certification is accepted in countries under the Hague Convention; for others, an Authentication Certificate is required.
Many travelers may have never had to obtain apostille certification for their travels, especially if they were solely for tourism. However, such certification can be absolutely necessary for those traveling for work and business in countries that fall under the Hague Convention.
For example, a marriage certificate given an apostille can be used to apply for dual citizenship or a spouse visa. Federal criminal background checks are required to apply for work visas in a number of countries in Asia.
State or federal apostille?
Every U.S. state capitol building has an apostille office attached to their Secretary of State. These typically process documentation issued at the state level, e.g. state university transcripts, marriage certificates.
Should this be the certification you need, the good news is the Secretary of State office processes documents through the mail. Main-in applications at the state level don’t typically take weeks, but when you’re in a hurry, it’s best to make the drive and apply in person.
However, for most paperwork sent outside of the country – naturalization documents, criminal background checks, etc. – the US Department of State is responsible for all apostilles. Mail-in applications here could take up to several weeks depending on the time of year.
Where to get an apostille in the U.S.
There are a few choices for obtaining an apostille depending on where you live and work. Anyone seeking apostille certification at the federal or state level can ship their documents or apply in person.
Every state capitol building has an office nearby or on the grounds to process apostille certifications. Documents for which you need certification specifically from the federal government must be processed by U.S. Department of State in Washington DC.
How long do you have to get a passport renewal, apostille certain documents, and send your passport in for 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 a delay of days, or weeks.
How to apostille a document even faster
In addition to the document you’re looking to certify itself, there may be other considerations when it comes time to visit the Secretary of State. Is this apostille certification only the first step a long application process for applying for a work visa, or other business transaction abroad?
Why gather documents from multiple offices and spend your business days driving between them when everything can be done with Travel Visa Pro? Our team of travel experts have over forty years of experience getting clients the documents they need in the time they need, including passport renewals, apostille certification, and visas.
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?
When it comes to apostille certification for whatever you need it for – passport applications or work visa – just one error can mean the difference between relaxing before your trip and bumping it to another week.
Do you have any other questions about getting apostille certification in the United States? Leave them in the comments!