When do I need an Apostille?

What is an Apostille?

This is a question that is constantly asked by clients. And, it is a great question. 

Let’s assume that you are planning to move overseas, you are preparing for your move and you were told to bring all your important documents with you. You might want to use these documents to get work authorization, apply for school in a foreign country, or even get married overseas. 

These documents may be one or all of the following: your birth certificate, your marriage certificate, your divorce decree, school transcript, diploma, a criminal record, adoption documents, etc.

But these are in English, what do you do? If the above reference is your scenario, than you will need to get an Apostille from the State Department in order for your documents to be validated and legalized for legal use by foreign authorities. However, this process is not as simple. A professional translation service agency should be able to walk you though all these steps and explain the process to you in order for you to be able to make an educated choice. You should be asking the following questions from the translation service provider of your choosing:

  • Do they accurately translate your document? Your translation must be completed by a bilingual native language professional.
  • Will your document be proofread for accuracy? This is one of the most important steps that is often skipped even by some translation agencies. Your document must be proofread and compared line by line with your original documents. Editing and formatting should be done to match the layout of your original documents. Often times, clients come to us with a translation that is inaccurate and needs retranslation, recertification and proper editing. In this case, unfortunately a new Apostille needs to be obtained that carried additional cost to the client and time. This can be avoided by making sure that you hire a reliable, professional translation agency.
  • Will your document be notarized? Your translated document must be notarized in order to obtain the Apostille, since the Apostille is the document that validates the Notary’s signature on your document. 
  • Make sure you mention the country where the Apostille will be used.
  • How long will it take? 
  • Time is of the essence, so it is important to find out how long it takes, a 5-7 business day timeframe is average for obtaining Apostille for your documents. 
  • Will you receive the physical copies with the original by mail? You will most likely need the original Apostilles and original translation when you are overseas, make sure you request a mailed copy.


Here at Lingua we make sure that we understand your goals and needs. Let us know if you need any assistance getting an Apostille and properly authenticating your legal documents intended to be used for legal purposes abroad. Check out more information here about how to obtain an Apostille for your international documents. 

Email us with for a quote [email protected] or call 1-866-201-2921.