CERTIFICATIONS - AUTHENTICATIONS AND APOSTILLES

Some documents are required to be certified prior to being used internationally for personal or business transactions. A certification, also called an authentication or an Apostille, is when a specified state official certifies the authority of the notary public. There are a wide variety of reasons for obtaining a certification. Some common examples of documents that require an authentication or Apostille for international use are business documents (bylaws, articles of incorporation, good standing certificates), adoption paperwork (home studies, letters of reference) and education documents (diplomas, transcripts).

Some countries, including the United States, are parties to the 1961 Hague Convention abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents. By joining the Convention, countries agree to accept a specific, universal type of certification on public documents. This type of certification is called an "Apostille." With an Apostille the document is recognized by other countries for its intended use and does not require any additional certifications by the U.S. Department of State or legalization by the embassy or consulate. For a list of countries that accept the Apostille, please visit the official Web site of Hague Convention.

Requests for authentications or Apostilles should be made to the notary clerk at the Secretary of State's office or by mail. The fee is $7.50 per authentication or Apostille - each notarization requires a separate certification. If the document is submitted by mail, include a cover letter indicating what country the documents are being certified for and how many authentications or Apostilles are needed, the appropriate fee, and a self-addressed envelope so that we may return the documents to the appropriate place. We will return documents through an expedited mail company as long as the fees are prepaid.

Documents presented for certification must have an original, completed notarization block by a Kansas notary public. Any errors on the notarization could disqualify the document for certification and therefore delay the documents.