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Apostille/Authentication and Embassy Legalization of Public Documents

Authentication and Legalization, of a public document, are required when the document is issued in one country for legal use and purposes in other country or countries. Power of Attorney, Will, Agreement, Incorporation Document, Birth/Marriage/Divorce/Police Clearance Certificates, School Transcripts/Degrees or Diplomas are some of the documents that undergo this two-step process of Authentication and Legalization.

Apostille vs. Authentication:

Figuring out whether you require an Apostille or an Authentication for your document? Apostille or Authentication, both are issued by the U.S. Department of State. Whether the document authentication requires Apostille or Certificate of Authentication is determined by the destination country.

'Apostille' is a French word for 'certification.' The U.S. Department of State “Apostille” is required for countries that are signatory to the Apostille Treaty or The Hague Apostille Convention. This is an international certification process that makes the document legal for use in every country that has signed it (the Apostille Treaty or the Hague Apostille Convention).

An 'Authentication' certifies the signature and capacity of the official who has executed the document. It is a verification of whether or not a document or signature is genuine. The authentication may also authenticate the seal of the official. You will require an Authentication if your home country is not a member of the Apostille convention.

Embassy or Consulate Legalization:

Legalization is a process by which Embassy/ Consulate of any country validates the document that has already been authenticated.

Hence, it is only after Legalization, that any public document is considered valid for legal use outside U.S.

Legalization is done at the Embassy/Consulate of the country in which the document will be used.

Every Embassy/Consulate has its own specific requirements when it comes to legalizing a document, and requires expertise to facilitate the apostille/authentication and legalization of various documents.

Author: Santosh K. Pawar is managing attorney of Law Firm of Santosh K. Pawar. She specializes in Apostille Certification, Authentication and Embassy Legalization. For more information and assistance, contact by email at, call at (585) 264-1649 or WhatsApp at (585) 474-0935.


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