How to Notarize a Document in the US
To apostille a document in the USA, you’ll need to meet specific requirements set by each state in the US. First, you need to notarize each document in front of a notary public.
What Is the Notarization of Documents?
Some documents require a higher level of clarity and verification before processing. For instance, when you want to buy a home or establish a power of attorney over a certain estate, presenting signed documents may not be convincing enough to the relevant authorities. This is because some of these documents may be forged or presented without the consent of other parties involved.
To avoid this, the US government requires that such documents be signed and verified by a state-appointed clerk. This fraud-deterrent process is what is commonly known as the notarization of documents. In addition, the government-appointed official witnessing the signing of such crucial documents is referred to as a notary public.
How to Notarize a Document
According to the US Department of State, the following requirements must be met when notarizing each document in front of a notary public:
If the notary public has been commissioned through the county, the:
- Documents must be certified by the clerk of the county court where the notary is commissioned.
- Documents should then be certified by the Secretary of State in the state where the document was notarized.
If the notary public has been commissioned through the state, the:
- Documents must be certified only by the Secretary of State in the state the document was notarized.
After meeting the requirements above, you’ll also need to follow these additional steps:
Additional Requirements for Document Notarization
To verify that your documents have been properly notarized, ensure that they:
- Show the correct dates, especially if they required certification from both the court clerk and Secretary of State. In this case, the documents must first be certified by the court clerk before being sent over to the Secretary of State for further certification.
- Contain original seals and signatures of the certifying individual or agency.
- Are accurately translated into English (if not originally in English).
Steps to Apostille a Document in the United States
The exact procedure to apostille a document in the US depends on the type of document and the issuing authority. For example, federal documents must be apostilled by the US Department of State, as explained below.
To submit a request, fill out a Request Authentications Services form (DS-4194) available on the US Department of State website. You’ll also be required to provide the country’s name where you intend to use the document before submitting it to the Department of State.
To apostille state-issued documents, such as birth certificates, follow these steps:
- Ensure that the document has been notarized by the appropriate authorities as explained above.
- Contact your Secretary of State where the document was issued.
- You’ll find the contact information of your Secretary of State by using the search tool provided on the National Association of Secretaries of State website.
Hiring an Apostille Service for Faster and Hassle-Free Processing
It is also possible to apostille a document in the USA via a reputable apostille service provider, such as Travel Visa Pro. Given that the apostille process can be quite complicated, TVP ensures your documents meet various apostille requirements before submission. This helps speed up the process and avoid disappointing delays that could ruin your travel plans.