An apostille, French for "certification," is a special seal that a government office puts on a document to prove that it is an exact copy of the original.
Apostilles are available in countries that have signed the 1961 Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization of Foreign Public Documents, also known as The Hague Convention. This convention replaces the time-consuming chain certification process, in which a document had to be signed by four different authorities. The Hague Convention makes it easier for countries and territories that have joined the convention to certify public records, such as those notarized.
Documents that will be used in participating countries and their territories should be signed and stamped by an official in the place where they were made. With this certification from the Hague Convention Apostille, the document will be accepted in the country where it will be used. No other certification from the Authentications Office of the U.S. Department of State or legalization by an embassy or consulate is needed.
Note that the apostille Texas is an official certification that says the document is a truly original copy. Still, it does not say that the original document's content is correct.
When a copy of a legal document from another country is needed, a Texas apostille can be used. For example, if you want to open a bank account in a foreign country in your company's name, register your U.S. company with foreign government authorities, or sign a contract abroad that requires proof that a U.S. company exists. In all of these situations, even a copy of an American document certified for use in the U.S. will not be accepted. For a US document to be valid in Hague Convention countries, it must have an apostille attached.
Since October 15, 1981, the United States has been a member of the 1961 Hague Convention that eliminated the need for foreign public documents to be legalized. Anyone who needs to use a public U.S. document (like a Secretary of State's Articles of Organization or Incorporation) in a Hague Convention country can ask for an apostille.
The process of getting an apostille can be complicated. In most U.S. states, the process involves getting an original, certified copy of the document you want to confirm with an apostille from the agency that made it and then sending it to the Secretary of State (or equivalent) of the state in question with a request for an apostille near me.
Apostille is recognized by all members of the Hague Convention.
In countries that did not sign the 1961 convention and did not recognize the apostille, a foreign public document must be legalized by a consular officer in the country that issued the document. In the U.S., papers usually get a Certificate of Authentication instead of an apostille.
Legalization is usually done by sending a certified copy of the document to the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., for authentication and then legalizing the copy that has been authenticated with the country's consular authority.