An “apostille” is a kind of document authentication granted by nations that have signed the 1961 Hague Convention. The US State Department maintains a list of countries that accept apostilles.
On September 16, 2021, the Apostille Convention became effective for Singapore. Users who want papers to be produced in Contracting Parties to the Apostille Convention should apply for Apostille from the Singapore Academy of Law. Users who want papers to be produced by non-contracting parties of the Apostille convention can approach the Singapore Academy of Law and then the relevant embassies to get the documents legalised if needed.
If the intended recipient nation is not a signatory to the Hague Convention, papers might be “authenticated” or “certified” before being transferred.
The Secretary of State’s Office provides apostille and authentication services to U.S. residents and foreign nationals on papers that will be used outside of the United States. Corporate documents such as bylaws and articles of incorporation, power of attorney, diplomas, transcripts, letters relating to degrees, marital status, references and job certifications, home studies, deeds of assignment, distributorship agreements, papers for adoption purposes, and so on are examples of the types of documents. In addition, under the 1961 Hague Convention, the US State Department offers general information on document authentications and apostilles.
Requirements for Obtaining an Apostille
Apostilles certify official seals and signatures on public papers like birth certificates, court orders, or any other document issued by a federal office and certified by an American or foreign consul. The document(s) are apostille-certified so that they can be acknowledged in foreign nations that are signatories to the 1961 Hague Convention Treaty. Apostilles are only affixed to federal papers for use in countries that are signatories to the Hague Convention of 1961.
You must perform the following before sending documents that require authentication:
- Each document should be notarised in front of a notary public:
- Documents must first be certified by the clerk of court in the county where the notary is commissioned and then certified by the secretary of state where the document was notarised for notaries public commissioned through the county.
- Documents must only be certified by the secretary of state in the state where the document was notarised for notaries public commissioned by the state.
- To notarise and certify your document, follow these steps:
- Your document has to be delivered to you.
- Make sure your document is notarised.
- If it is applicable, have the clerk of court certify your document.
- The secretary of state should certify your document. Note that if a document requires certification from both the clerk of court and the secretary of state, the dates must demonstrate that the clerk of court certification was completed first.
- Note: Your requests will not be completed if you do not have the appropriate notarisation(s) before submitting your papers.
- Original seals and signatures are required.
- Only “genuine certified copies” from a notary public are accepted. A notary public cannot certify birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates, divorce decrees, court papers, or federally-issued documents as “true copies.” The secretary of state must certify these documents.
- All papers written in a foreign language must be validated as authentic translations by a qualified translator and notarised.