The apostille itself does not validate the contents within the document. Below is an overview of how to get an apostille in California. Contact A People’s Choice for more information about how we can help you get an apostille of state or federal issued documents.
How to Get an Apostille in California
If you need to get an apostille in California, you need to know which state or federal office has the authority to issue the apostille. The U.S. Department of State issues documents destined for use in participating Hague Apostille countries. Documents that need an apostille issued by the U.S. Department of State include those which have been signed by one of the following:
- A U.S. Federal Official
- An American Consular Officer
- A Military Notary, Judge Advocate, or a foreign Consul diplomatic official registered with the State Department Office of Protocol.
First, the document to be apostilled must be signed and include the official’s full name, title, and seal of the issuing agency. Next, the following documents will need to be sent to the U.S. Department of State to have a valid document apostilled:
Apostille By California Secretary of State
On the other hand, the California Secretary of State’s office issues apostilles for state issued documents that are to be used in Hague Apostille countries. This includes birth, marriage, and death certificates. It also includes to articles of incorporation, business bylaws, powers of attorney, and diplomas and transcripts. Keep in mind, the California Secretary of State only authenticates documents that are issued in California. As a rule, the document must be signed by a notary public or one of the following public officials:
- County Clerks or Recorders
- Court Administrators of the Superior Court
- Executive Clerks of the Superior Court
- Officers whose authority is not restricted to a specific county
- Judges of the Superior Court
- State Officials
U.S. citizens and foreign nationals can apply to have their state issued document certified. The following items must be sent to the Secretary of State when requesting an Apostille:
- The original notarized or certified document.
- A cover letter stating which country the document will be used in.
- A check or money order to cover the $20 authentication certificate
- A self addressed envelope for return mail
For more information about how to get an apostille in California, you can also read the “ABCs of Apostilles”. It can take several days up to several weeks to have a state issued document certified. Only the California Secretary of State can have a California document officially certified for use in a foreign jurisdiction.