What is an Apostille and when do I need one?
An Apostille is a certificate that authenticates the origin of a public document (e.g., a birth, marriage or death certificate, a judgment, an extract of a register or a notarial attestation).
Apostilles can only be issued for documents issued in one country party to the Apostille Convention and that are to be used in another country which is also a party to the Convention. Apostilles are strictly for the use of public documents abroad!
An Apostille may not be required if the laws, regulations, or practice in force in the country where the public document is to be used have abolished or simplified the requirement of an Apostille, or have exempted the document from any legalisation requirement. If you have any doubts, you should ask the intended recipient of your document whether an Apostille is necessary in your particular case.
An Apostille only certifies the origin of the public document to which it relates: it certifies the authenticity of the signature or seal of the person or authority that signed or sealed the public document and the capacity in which this was done. An Apostille does not certify the content of the public document to which it relates. Apostilles are not grants of authority and do not give any additional weight to the content of underlying documents. It is up to the country where the Apostille is to be used to decide how much weight to give to the underlying public document.
What do I need to know before requesting an Apostille?
Apostille is produced by Department of State in the state where the original document was issued.
For example: Apostille for Florida Birth Certificate can only be issued by Florida Department of State, located in Tallahassee, FL.
How much does an Apostille cost?
The following prices and terms apply for Florida issued Apostilles only. If you have a document, issued or notarized in any other state please call our office at 727-307-1977 for current info.
Аpostille: $60 (documents signed by our notary public), $75 (documents signed by Clerk of Court or State Registrar).
Regular processing time: 2-3 weeks.
- add $125 for 2-4 business days process
- add $90 for 5-6 business days process
How are Apostilles affixed to public documents?
An Apostille must be placed directly on the public document itself or on a separate attached page (called an allonge). Apostilles may be affixed by various means, including rubber stamps, self-adhesive stickers, impressed seals, etc. If an Apostille is placed on an allonge, the latter can be attached to the underlying public document by a variety of means, including glue, grommets, staples, ribbons, wax seals, etc. While all of these means are acceptable under the Convention, Competent Authorities are encouraged to use more secure methods of affixation so as to safeguard the integrity of the Apostille. Failure to affix an Apostille in a particular manner is not a basis for refusing the Apostille.
Once I have an Apostille, do I need anything else to show that the signature or seal on my public document is genuine?
No. An Apostille issued by the relevant Competent Authority is all that is required to establish that a signature or seal on a public document is genuine and to establish the capacity of the person or authority that signed or sealed the public document.
If the recipient of my Apostille wants to verify my Apostille, what should I suggest?
Each Competent Authority is required to keep a register in which it records the date and number of every Apostille it issues, as well as information relating to the person or authority that signed or sealed the underlying public document. Recipients may contact the Competent Authority identified on the Apostille and ask whether the information on the Apostille corresponds with the information in the register. In order to verify a particular Apostille, recipients may contact the Competent Authority. Contact information for the Competent Authorities, including phone numbers and website information, such as the URL of e-Registers where applicable, is available in the Apostille Section of the Hague Conference website.