An Apostille is the simplified certification of documents (including notarization), for their international use in all nations that have joined the Apostille Section of the Hague Convention. Signatory countries have agreed under the Apostille Section of the Hague Convention to recognize public documents certified by the Apostille. This ensures that public documents are certified within the country where the documents were originally issued or notarized in order for them to be valid in the member countries of the Apostille Section of the Hague Convention.
The main function of the Apostille is to certify the authenticity of the signature on the document (ie: State Registrar, County Clerk, Judge, Vital Records Officer or Notary Public). The Apostille also certifies the capacity in which the person signing the document acted and the identity of any stamp or seal affixed to the document.
The Apostille for US documents must be issued in the US State where the document was issued, or got notarized.
The Apostille is a one page document embossed with the Great Seal of a State and includes the facsimile signature of the individual issuing the certificate.The Apostille is applied only to public documents, signed by an authority or official connected with a court or tribunal of the State (including documents issued by an administrative, constitutional or ecclesiastical court or tribunal, a public prosecutor, a clerk or a process-server); administrative documents; notarial acts; and official certificates which are placed on documents signed by persons in their private capacity, such as official certificates recording the registration of a document or the fact that it was in existence on a certain date and official and notarial authentications of signatures.