What Is an Apostille Seal?

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An Apostille seal is used to authenticate legal documents for use in foreign countries. A document with an Apostille, which is gold foil seal, requires no further certification from an embassy or consulate in order to be legal.

History

Apostille seals were introduced thanks to the 1961 Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents. The convention established rules governing the international recognition of legal documents.

Significance

An Apostille seal means the document can be used legally in a foreign country. However, only countries that signed Article 12 of the 1961 Hague convention will honor an Apostille.

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Use

Apostille seals are used on such documents as adoption papers, diplomas, business authorizations, passports, police clearances and powers of attorney.

Misconceptions

An Apostille seal is not a normal notary public stamp. Apostille seals are administered only from the secretary of state’s notary public.

Fact

Apostille is French for “certification.”