Apostille [uh-pos-til]
Origin: French


Apostille is French for “certification” and represents the authentication of an official gold seal or signature on a document. If you are sending your documents to a country that is part of the 1961 Hague Convention icon_newWindow, an Apostille certificate is used as proof of authenticity among the member nations. Hague Convention countries have agreed and are entitled to a more simplified legalization and regulation process of Apostille to execute international transactions. Non-Hague Convention countries require Embassy Legalization which can be a more involved process.

The Apostille signifies that the document has been reviewed, approved and certified as an authentic copy of an original and that the certifying party has the authority to conduct such a review.

The Apostille Process

WCS specializes in handling both the Apostille and Embassy Legalization process for our customers with speed and efficiency.

The Apostille process depends on the type of document that you would like to authenticate. WCS categorizes documents in three ways according to the process they require:

1. Government Document/s – are any document/s or certificate/s issued by a Federal, State or Local govt. entity.

The Apostille process for this type of document/s includes processing your document/s with the U.S. Department of State Authentications Division in Washington, D.C. Please note, for personal documents like birth, marriage, death and divorce certificates, the document must be Apostilled with the Secretary of State in the State that your document was issued. If it is not in DC and Maryland, you can either use our services at an extra cost or do it on your own.

2. General Document/s – are any document or certificate NOT issued by a Federal, State or Local govt. entity. This is the largest catch-all category.

The Apostille process for this type of document/s includes processing your document with a local Notary and then having it certified by the Secretary of State of Maryland or the D.C. Treasury.

3. Commercial/Shipping Document/s – are documents used for shipping product out.

The legalization/authentication process for Commercial/Shipping Documents is highly variable based on destination country. This is primarily because some Apostille/Hague Convention countries require that you follow a separate legalization process with your shipping/documents. On the other hand, for many countries, the legalization of documents is not required.

Below is a list of some of the more popular Apostille countries where legalization is required:


WCS can seamlessly manage the Apostille process for you, so your time is made available for other critical demands on your time.

Don’t see your destination country listed on this page? It might be that the country falls under the Non-Hague/Embassy Legalization category (link to subpage).

Or else, just give us a call or drop us a line. We can help.

Samples of Apostille:

U.S. State Department – Apostille-US-Dept-of-State pdficon_small
Secretary of State Maryland – Apostille-MD-Secy-of-State pdficon_small
District of Columbia – Apostille-DC-Treasurers-Office pdficon_small

About WCS

Washington Consular Services (WCS) is the trusted, premier provider of document legalization and authentication services for global business--proactive, efficient and always at your service. Learn more>>


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