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How to Get an Apostille

Corporate Compliance by Local Corporate Guides®

An apostille authenticates the signatures or seals of a document issued by certain federal, state or other public authorities. Apostilles are internationally recognized and used by over 100 countries to simplify the process of authenticating documents across borders. If you plan to engage in international business, it’s highly likely you’ll need an apostille to verify the authenticity of key business documents.

Check out the guide below to learn more about apostille requirements, processes and fees in each state.

Apostille Certificates for Business Documents

1

What is an apostille?

An apostille is a certificate that is issued to authenticate documents that are transferred between countries. Imagine receiving an important document—such as a corporate charter or birth certificate—from another country. How would you know whether or not a seal or a signature is from a real authority?

Apostilles were created to address this issue and streamline the authentication of documents between nations who have agreed to the process. While apostilles don’t guarantee that the information in the document is correct, the apostille confirms that the document meets certain validation standards. For instance, an apostille might confirm that a document is on file with the state or may confirm that a notary is a legitimate, authorized notary in the state. The recipients can then avoid dedicating unnecessary time and resources to this sort of basic authentication of documents.

2

Apostille or authentication certificate?

Apostilles can only be used for documents transferred between specific countries—those that have signed the Apostille Treaty (also know as the Hague Convention Treaty of 1961). Over a hundred countries are signatories, including the United States, Australia, India, Japan and the majority of South American and European countries.

However, there are many non-signatory countries, including major US trading partners, such as Canada and China. Documents transferred between non-signatory countries require a different authentication process. Instead of a single authentication, the document must be certified by appropriate agencies in both the country of origin and the recipient country. These certifications are not called apostilles and are usually referred to more generally as “authentication certificates.”

3

When do I need an apostille?

Applying for a job, adopting children, participating in legal disputes, or engaging in business operations in another country? The process may include getting an apostille to verify the authenticity of certain documents you submit.

There are many documents that can be authenticated with an apostille, including birth and death certificates, marriage licenses, school transcripts or degrees, and court documents (such as warrants or powers of attorney). For businesses, common documents that may need an apostille are certificates of good standing and formation documents, such as Articles of Incorporation or Articles of Organization.

4

Who issues apostilles?

If your document was issued federally, the apostille will be issued by the US Department of State. Most documents relevant to business owners, however, are issued by a state agency. On the state level, apostille services are provided by an appropriate state authority. For business documents, this is typically the state’s Secretary of State office. For instance, the Kansas Secretary of State would issue the apostille for a Kansas corporation’s Articles of Incorporation. However, the issuing agency isn’t the same across all states—for example, in Georgia, the Georgia Superior Court Clerk’s Cooperative Authority issues apostilles.

Looking for the issuing agency in your state? Click the name of your state in the table near the bottom of this page.

5

What are the apostille requirements in each state?

Typically, you’ll need an original or certified copy of the document you wish to authenticate. You’ll then need to submit a request for an apostille to the appropriate issuing agency. Many agencies provide an order form you can fill out on their website. If not, note that at minimum, you’ll need to provide your company’s name, the document to be authenticated, and the country that will receive the apostille. Most states also charge a fee, which can vary widely. For instance, while the majority of states charge $10 or less for an apostille, Connecticut requires a $40 fee. The filing fees and the turnaround times for apostille requests are listed in the chart below.

Need more information, such as what types of payment are accepted? Or the contact info for your state agency? Just click on the state name below for step-by-step instructions, forms, and links.

State State Filing Fee Time Frame
Alabama $5 1-2 days
Alaska $25 2-3 weeks
Arizona $3 10 business days
Counter Service: while you wait (in person only)
Arkansas $10 24-48 business hours
California $20 2 weeks
Colorado $5 2-3 business days
Connecticut $40 4-5 business days
Delaware $30 2-3 business weeks
DC $15 3-5 business days
Florida $10 7 business days
Georgia $3 1 day
Hawaii $1 7-10 business days
Idaho $10 3 business days
Illinois $2 7-10 business days
Indiana Free 3-5 business days
Iowa $5 2 days
Kansas $7.50 2-3 days
Kentucky $5 3 days
Louisiana $20 2-3 days
Maine $10 1 day
Maryland $2 1-2 days
Massachusetts $6 10 business days
Counter Service: while you wait (in person only)
Michigan $1 2-3 business weeks
Minnesota $5 4 days
Counter Service: while you wait (in person only)
Mississippi $5 2 days
Missouri $10 10 business days
Montana $10 3-5 days
Nebraska $10 1 day
Nevada $20 2-4 business weeks
New Hampshire $10 5-7 business days
New Jersey $25 20 business days
New Mexico $3 1-3 business days
New York $10 2-4 business days
North Carolina $10 5 business days
North Dakota $10 plus $5 per record search 1-3 business days
Ohio $5 2-3 business days
Counter Service: while you wait (in person only)
Oklahoma $25 2-3 business days
Counter Service: within 1 hour
Oregon $10 2-3 business days
Counter Service: while you wait (in person only)
Pennsylvania $15 2-5 business days
Rhode Island $5 1-2 business days
South Carolina $5 2-3 business days
Counter Service: while you wait (in person only)
South Dakota $25 1-2 business days
Tennessee $2 2-3 business days
Counter Service: while you wait (in person only)
Texas $15 5-10 business days
Counter Service: while you wait (in person only)
Utah $20 3-5 business days
Vermont $10 1-2 business days
Virginia $10 5-7 business days
Washington $15 3-5 business days
West Virginia $10 24-48 business hours
Wisconsin $10 5-10 business days
Wyoming $10 2-3 business days
Counter Service: 1-3 business days

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Navigating the ins and outs of starting and maintaining a business is a lot of work. We can help. We offer business formation and registered agent services in every state, as well as a wide variety of other services, from annual report filings to free business forms.

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Corporate Compliance
by Local Corporate Guides®