What is an apostille? – Weekly Apostille Talk

San Francisco ApostilleQuestion of the Week:  Why do I need an apostille?

An apostille authenticates the signature of the official who signed your document.  For example, if you need to request an apostille on your San Francisco birth certificate, the State will authenticate the signature of the San Francisco County Clerk.  The most common documents we receive are birth certificates, death certificates, power of attorney, marriage certificates, and divorce decrees.  Power of Attorney documents will need to be notaries before you mail in your documents for processing.

There are currently over 100 countries who are members of the Hague Apostille Convention.  In 1961, many countries joined together to create a simplified method of “legalizing” documents for universal recognition. Members of the conference, referred to as the Hague Convention, adopted a document referred to as an Apostille that would be recognized by all member countries.

Since October 15, 1981, the United States has been part of the 1961 Hague Convention abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents.  This means that your documents authenticated by the State of California will be accepted in over 100 countries.

Obtaining an apostille on your documents is time-consuming.  You will need to either drive or mail-in your documents to the California Secretary of State in Sacramento.  The processing time with the State can vary depending on their resources.  On average, we believe the State will process your documents in 3-4 weeks.  The difference between authenticating your documents with the State and sending in your documents to our San Francisco office is great.

Why mail-in your documents to our San Francisco office:

1. Excellent Customer Service – Our San Francisco apostille service will process your documents in two business days.  We answer our phones Monday-Saturday from 8am to 7pm.   We also have a live chat service ready to answer your calls quickly online.

2. Hand Deliver and Pick-Up – Unlike most of our competitors who visit the State office once a week, our staff visits the California Secretary of State’s office every day.  Documents submitted to our San Francisco office are processed in two business days and returned the next business morning by FedEx.

3. Free FedEx Overnight Shipping – We provide fast overnight shipping for your documents at no additional costs.  We don’t bait and switch you like some of our competitors.  Our flat-rate service includes two day processing and FedEx overnight shipping.  You are more than welcome to call or chat with us online for an instant price quote.

International Apostille Services, Inc. is the leader in document authentication services. We process documents from all 50 U.S. States including documents issued by the U.S. Federal Government.