In some instances, apostille may not be the only requirement and the documents must be further certified by a process known as Authentication. Authentication usually begins with the relevant party signing a document and having it notarized. Then, county or state officials examine the notary acknowledgement, and finally, the U.S. Department of State certifies the document.
Additionally, documents that will be used in non-Hague Convention Member countries, require additional authentication and/or legalization. In this case, authentication involves the placing of a consular seal over the seal of a foreign authority whose seal and signature is on file with the American Embassy or Consulate. A consular authentication in no way attests to the authenticity of the contents of a document but merely to the seal and signature of the issuing authority.
Once authenticated, a document must be certified by the foreign jurisdiction (country of use) to be valid there. This process, called legalization, usually occurs at the country’s embassy or consulate, and can be considered the final step in the authentication process.
Ultimately, the country where you would like to use your document will determine the appropriate requirements for complete certification and authorization.
It is complicated. So, if you need any clarification on The Hague Apostille Convention and how it applies to your documents/situation, please do not hesitate to Contact Us.