What is an apostille? Why is it required? How do you get an apostille done? Here’s a simple explanation you may find helpful:
Think of an apostille as an “international notarization”. Many notarizations are valid only within the country where the notarization is performed. A document notarized in the U.S. may be valid only within the U.S. A document notarized in Mexico may be valid only within Mexico. And so on…
But let’s say a document must be notarized in the U.S., then sent to an official in Mexico. Because the document is crossing international boundaries, the Mexican authority might not accept the U.S. notarization as valid. An additional step may be required to authenticate that the notarization is legitimate. The solution is usually an apostille, and here’s how it’s done:
First, the document is notarized by a notary public. Second, the notary’s signature is verified by the Clerk-Recorder’s office in the county where the notary is commissioned (step two is optional and not required by most countries). Third, the Secretary of State’s office performs the apostille.
The document is now ready for delivery to Mexico,Russia or to any other country that accepts apostilles from the U.S. (For an alphabetical list of all participating nations,
A few other things you should know. The apostille service could be somewhat expensive and time consuming, and must be followed precisely. After being notarized, the documents are hand delivered to San Diego County Clerks Office (optional process and not required by most countries), where the verification can typically be done within 30-60 minutes. They are then either mailed to Sacramento Secretary of State (with turnaround time of approximately 2 weeks) or hand delivered to Los Angeles Secretary of State (which is what we do) in which case the apostille is done while you wait, usually within 2-3 hours. San Diego used to have a Secretary of State office but they closed down a few years back. As you can see this transaction can be very time consuming but we will be more than happy to assist you with the whole process. Our complete service fee is $99+government fees. For 5 or more documents our price is $99(including all government fees).
We also provide a 24 rush service for additional $99 regardless of how many documents you need to get apostilled.