Who Issues Apostille in the Us?

Who Issues Apostille in the Us

In today’s interconnected world, ensuring the authenticity of documents across borders is vital. This is where the apostille comes in—a certification that validates documents for international use. But who issues apostille in the US? Understanding this process is crucial for anyone needing to authenticate documents for use abroad. This article provides a comprehensive guide on who issues apostille in the US, detailing the process, requirements, and frequently asked questions.

Who Issues Apostille in the US?

Understanding Apostille

The apostille is a certificate that authenticates the origin of a public document, ensuring its recognition in other countries that are part of the Hague Apostille Convention. This certification simplifies the process of document verification across international borders.

Importance of Apostille

Obtaining an apostille is essential for a wide range of documents, including birth certificates, marriage certificates, educational transcripts, and business documents. It ensures that these documents are legally recognized in other countries, facilitating pr ocesses such as studying abroad, employment, or business transactions.

Federal vs. State Apostille

In the United States, both federal and state authorities can issue apostilles. The choice between federal and state depends on the type of document and the originating authority.

State Authorities Issuing Apostille

Most public documents, such as birth certificates and marriage licenses, are state-level documents. Therefore, state authorities, typically the Secretary of State, issue apostilles for these documents.

Federal Authorities Issuing Apostille

For federal documents, such as those issued by the FBI or federal court documents, the apostille is issued by the US Department of State.

When you’re exploring who issues apostille in the US, you might also wonder if a notary can apostille a document, as these roles can sometimes intersect in the document authentication process.

Process of Obtaining an Apostille

Gathering Required Documents

Before applying for an apostille, ensure you have the original document or a certified copy. The document must be issued by the appropriate authority and contain the necessary signatures.

Submitting the Application

Each state has its own process for submitting an application for an apostille. Generally, you need to fill out an application form, attach the document, and pay the required fee.

Processing Time and Fees

Processing times and fees vary by state. It’s essential to check with the relevant state authority for specific details. The US Department of State also has its own processing times and fee structures for federal documents.

For those navigating the complexities of obtaining an apostille, it’s important to know the right steps, including whether you should translate your document before or after obtaining an apostille, to ensure compliance with international requirements.

Common Documents Requiring Apostille

Personal Documents

Personal documents often requiring apostille include birth certificates, marriage licenses, and death certificates. These documents need to be authenticated for various purposes, such as obtaining dual citizenship or getting married abroad.

Educational Documents

Educational documents, such as diplomas, transcripts, and degree certificates, often require apostille for students planning to study or work abroad. Educational institutions must verify these documents before they can be apostilled.

Business Documents

Businesses expanding internationally may need to authenticate various documents, including contracts, powers of attorney, and corporate resolutions. These documents must be notarized and certified before receiving an apostille.

Understanding who issues apostille in the US is essential, but equally crucial is knowing where to find comprehensive apostille services that can handle the entire process for you efficiently and accurately.

Challenges in Obtaining an Apostille

Document Requirements

One common challenge is ensuring that documents meet all requirements for an apostille. This includes having the correct signatures and notary seals. Incomplete or improperly prepared documents can result in delays.

Processing Delays

Processing times can vary significantly, causing delays in obtaining the necessary apostille. It’s crucial to plan ahead and allow ample time for the process.

Dealing with Rejections

Rejections can occur if documents do not meet the specific criteria for an apostille. Understanding the common reasons for rejection can help avoid these issues.

Tips for a Smooth Apostille Process

Verify Requirements

Always verify the specific requirements for your document type and the issuing authority. This step ensures that your application meets all necessary criteria.

Plan Ahead

Given the potential for processing delays, it’s wise to start the apostille process well in advance of when you need the document.

Seek Professional Assistance

If the process seems overwhelming, consider seeking professional assistance from agencies that specialize in obtaining apostilles. They can help navigate the requirements and streamline the process.


Who can issue an apostille in the US?

The Secretary of State in each state issues apostilles for state-level documents. For federal documents, the US Department of State is the issuing authority.

What types of documents can be apostilled?

Common documents include birth certificates, marriage licenses, diplomas, and business contracts. Both personal and business documents can require apostille.

How long does it take to get an apostille?

Processing times vary by state and document type. It can take from a few days to several weeks. The US Department of State has its own processing times for federal documents.

Are there fees involved in obtaining an apostille?

Yes, there are fees for obtaining an apostille, and they vary by state. The US Department of State also charges fees for federal document apostilles.

Can I get an apostille for a notarized document?

Yes, notarized documents can be apostilled. The notarization must be verified before the apostille is issued.

What is the Hague Apostille Convention?

The Hague Apostille Convention is an international treaty that simplifies the process of legalizing documents for use in other countries. It eliminates the need for double-certification.


Understanding who issues apostille in the US and the process involved is essential for anyone needing to authenticate documents for international use. Whether dealing with personal, educational, or business documents, knowing the requirements and preparing in advance can ensure a smooth and efficient process. If you find the process daunting, seeking professional assistance can be a valuable step to ensure your documents are properly authenticated.