Apostille: What is it & Why?

What is an Apostille?

In a Nutshell: When you sign a document before a Notary Public, the Notary confirms your identity. Easy. But what if the Notary Public is a fraud? That’s where the Apostille comes in. It confirms the Notary is legitimate. The Notary confirms the Signer, the Apostille confirms the Notary. That’s it.

Why do I need an Apostille?

To prevent fraud by ensuring that the notary who confirmed your signature is really a notary and registered with the government.

What Documents require an Apostille?

1) Any document signed before a notary public such as a power of attorney, an affidavit, a contract, a property deed, a lease, an application for a patent or for a pension, etc.

2) Any document issued by a government such as a birth, death, marriage, adoption or divorce certificate, university degree, transcripts, articles of incorporation, copy of a passport, etc.

How does the Apostille Prevent Fraud?

A notary public, and a person who signs government documents, have their name and signature on file with their government. In the USA, it’s with the Secretary of State in the respective state. This is also the office that issues Apostilles. They take the original document and check to be sure that the signature of the Notary, or government-document signer, matches the signature they have on file. If so, they staple an Apostille to it.

That’s it. The Apostille simply confirms that notaries, and government-document signers, are legitimate. Once the Apostille is attached, the document can be used in foreign countries.

How much does an Apostille Cost?

For the USA, and most of Europe, they’re about 50€ ($55.). Online services charge about 125€ ($135.). For some countries, however, they’re very expensive and hard to get. Need help with one? Email me at, Mark Carr, at [email protected]

Apostille from Iowa, USA

6 Comments on “Apostille: What is it & Why?”

  1. I NEED TO APOSTILLATE A CERTIFICATE OF DEFUSION, WHAT IS THE COST?THE DOCUMENT IS FROM IOWA, BUT I’M IN NEW YORK, HOW MANY DAYS IS THE PROCESS?

    1. Orlando, For USA apostilles you have to contact the office of the ‘Secretary of State’ in the state where the document was issued, in this case Des Moines, Iowa. They charge about $25 for the apostille, not including postage. They need the original document, then they ensure that the person who signed it is on file with their office, then they attach their apostille it. Just google Secretary of State Iowa apostille, etc. It only takes a few days to process. Online services charge $100 but it’s real easy to do yourself.

  2. very neat article, and also for apostille services some countries ask for a criminal record sheet, people should be aware of this thing for avoiding any hindrance in the process.

    1. Thanks for the comment. For US apostilles, I have not encountered a request for a criminal record sheet. It must depend on the country.

  3. I never knew that an apostille ensures that notaries, and government-document signers, are legitimate. I was told I should get an apostille service for some special documents. Thanks for the tips on what an apostille is.

    1. Dear Sutton, thanks for the message. The apostille is a new concept for a lot of people and it’s hard to find straight answers. But that’s all it is: To ensure notaries and gvt-document signers are legitimate. If you need one, just contact the government in the country where you need it. If you need help let me know. Thanks again, Mark

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