Legalizations vs. Apostilles

Legalization is a term used in international law to describe the process of authenticating or certifying a document so that it will be recognized as valid in a foreign country. Legalization creates a chain of authentications, each by a progressively higher government authority, from the country where the document was issued to the embassy or consular office of the country in which the document is to be used. It may sound simple enough, but in practice, legalization can be a complicated sequential process of multiple verifications that can vary by country and government office.

Not all countries, however, require legalization of documents. The Hague Convention is an international treaty, now with over 115 member countries, that specifies the manner through which a document issued in one member country can be certified for legal purposes in each of the other member countries. Certification under the terms of the Hague Convention is called an apostille and is sufficient for acceptance in place of any further legalization processes. The catch, however, is that both countries must be members of the Hague Convention for an apostille to be sufficient.

Whether you need an apostille or legalization, Capitol Services has a dedicated apostille and legalization team with experience working with embassies, consulates, and designated competent authorities. Contact us to help make what can be a timely and complicated process as quick and seamless as possible.