What is an Apostille?

what is an apostille

What is an Apostille? The Hague apostille is a stamp that is applied to a document to grant it legal status or validity abroad. This streamlined method of document legalization benefits the Hague apostille convention signatory nations.

To legalize a copy of a public document, the responsible authority stamps an apostille on it, which is attached to the document’s back or on a separate page. For the receiving nation to be able to confirm that the document is genuine, original, and has been issued by an authorized authority in the country of origin.

Not all nations have ratified the Hague apostille agreement, which is why only documents from those nations are given the apostille. Here is a link to the Official List of countries part of the Hague Convention.

it is a simplified legalization system in use in many countries that allows for the fast and simple legalization of these documents, as well as their validity when they arrive in Spain. A foreign document that lacks the Hague Apostille, or a legalization from a nation that is not a signatory to the Hague apostille convention, will not be recognized in Spain.

Documents Validity

It is important to note that the validity of the documents once they arrive in Spain begin to count from the issuance of such documents, or the affixing of the Hague apostille stamp.

How Can I Apostille Legal Documents in the United States?

Apostilling legal documents in the United States for use in countries part of the 1961 Hague Convention involves a specific process. Here’s a streamlined overview:

  • Apostille Purpose: An apostille certifies documents for recognition in Hague Convention member countries.
  • Issuance Criteria:
    • Only documents issued by the U.S. federal government and intended for use in Hague Convention member countries are eligible.
    • Requests for non-member countries will be denied.
  • Preparation Steps:
    1. Notarization:
      • If notarized by a county notary: Proceed to the clerk of court, then to a state office.
      • If notarized by a state notary: Directly proceed to a state office.
    2. Original Seals and Signatures: Ensure all are original.
      • Obtain certified copies from a notary public.
      • Life event records, court documents, and federally-issued documents need state-level certification.
    3. Translation and Notarization: Documents in foreign languages must be translated into English and the translation notarized.
  • Document Type Specifics:
    • Federally-Issued Documents:
      • Require an apostille from the U.S. Department of State.
      • Applicable to documents signed by U.S. federal officials, consular officers, military notaries, judge advocates, or foreign consuls registered with the State Department.
      • Must include the official’s signature, title, and agency seal.
    • State-Issued Documents:
      • For use in Hague Convention member countries: Get certification by the state that issued the document.
      • For non-member countries: Obtain an authentication certificate from the U.S. Department of State instead of an apostille.

Spainguru collaborates with vetted private apostille service providers, ensuring a smooth and error-free process for all your apostille needs.

How Can I Apostille Legal Documents in the United Kingdom?

Getting an apostille for UK documents involves a few clear steps for them to be recognized internationally:

  • Legalisation Office: This is where you get UK documents legalised by attaching an apostille, verifying them for use in foreign countries.
  • Eligible Documents:
    • Documents from courts, public registries, government departments, or signed by registered doctors.
    • Documents certified by UK public officials, like notaries or solicitors, including powers of attorney, contracts, or qualifications.

Spainguru partners with reputable private apostille service providers in the UK, guaranteeing a streamlined and error-free apostille process for your legal documents.

Common documents that usually need to be Apostilled to obtain Spanish Visas

Remember that the apostilles need to be done first, then the documents need to be translated by a Spanish sworn translator.

As an example, here’s the list of documents that the Spanish Consulate in Los Angeles requires for the Spanish non lucrative visa application.

How do the Apostilles look like?

Here are a few examples of Apostille documents from several US States.

Here are a few examples of Apostille documents from the UK and the Philippines

When must I obtain a federal apostille and when a state apostille in the United States?

In the USA, you may need to obtain a federal or state apostille depending on the type of document you need to authenticate and the purpose for which it will be used.

A federal apostille is required for documents issued by federal agencies. Examples of documents that may require a federal apostille include certificates of naturalization, FBI background checks, IRS tax forms, Passports or Social Security letters.

On the other hand, a state apostille is required for documents issued by state agencies. Examples of documents that may require a state apostille include birth or death certificates, marriage certificates, and High school Diplomas or college degrees.

Since Federal Apostilles take much longer to obtain than State Apostilles, Spainguru Community members have asked “Has anyone used a state apostilled FBI report for a Spanish visa in the US?

It is important to note that not all documents are eligible for an apostille, and the requirements for obtaining an apostille may vary by state. Therefore, it is advisable to check with the relevant authorities to determine which type of apostille you need and what the specific requirements are for obtaining one.

Hague Apostille Country List

Here is a link to the Official List of countries part of the Hague Convention

Countries part of the Hague Convention
Countries part of the Hague Convention
Previous articleHow much does a Spanish health insurance increase when it is renewed?
Next articleSpanish Consulate UK
Bruno Bianchi
Bruno Bianchi is the Director at SpainGuru, where he offers his expertise on Spanish immigration, visas, and residency. Over the years, he has been a guide for many navigating the intricacies of Spanish immigration & bureaucracy. In addition to his role at SpainGuru, Bruno anchors the SpainGuru YouTube channel. Through this platform, he shares valuable insights and updates on immigration matters, simplifying complex processes for a global audience. Bruno's dedication to providing clear and trustworthy information has made him a trusted figure in the community. In addition to his pivotal role at SpainGuru, Bruno boasts over 17 years of professional experience in several online platforms. With roles ranging from the COO and co-founder of Spotahome.com and Sales director of the MAPSA Group, Bruno's diverse experiences (he holds 3 nationalities) and multilingual capabilities (he speaks 5 languages) make him a dynamic and influential figure in both the immigration and business sectors.