Remote online notarization (RON) is critical in helping companies conduct business and supporting individuals through life’s most important moments. The United States limits notarizations to interstate and intrastate use. So, what happens when a document needs to be used overseas?
The answer: You may need to get an apostille.
What is an Apostille?
An Apostille is simply a specialized certificate issued by a secretary of state. To verify the legitimacy and authenticity of the original document, the secretary of state attaches the Apostille. The document can then be accepted in one of the countries that are members of the Hague Apostille Convention.
All 50 states and the Federal Government (U.S. Department of State – Office of Authentication) can issue an apostille in the United States.
In the modern world, countless documents are signed and sent between countries. Many are notarized or include the signature of some other public official. The challenge for individuals receiving the documents is knowing whether the Notary’s signature is legitimate.
A government agency issues an Apostille to verify the authenticity of the signature of a notary public or other public official. In other words, an apostille confirms the validity of the seal and signature of the notary on a document. Then the receiving agency in the foreign country can accept the notarization.
Countries who signed the Hague Apostille Convention use Apostilles explicitly for documents going between the 156 countries. Documents sent to countries not part of the Hague Convention may require additional certification from the U.S. Department of State.
Are they so important to international commerce?
Notaries cannot issue apostilles, only an authorized state agency. A secretary of state issues an apostille. It is a certificate that authenticates the document for use outside the U.S. Also, eNotaryLog is currently unable to provide wet ink signatures for apostille purposes. However, we can notarize. Usually, the signer determines the need for an apostille or where the signer is sending the document. And it is typically the signer who requests the apostille from the Secretary of State for the notary’s commissioning state.
How can eNotaryLog help with an apostille?
Currently, eNotaryLog does not notarize birth, death, marriage documents, or wills. Nor do we provide wet ink signatures for Apostille purposes. The Secretary of State can issue an apostille. However, we can help the signer by:
- Providing the name and contact information for the needed Secretary of State
- Let the signer know whether there is an option for an electronic apostille to be issued by the Secretary of State (currently, it is just Montana).
For retail customers, the best way for eNotaryLog can help is to find upfront whether the signer will need an Apostille.
- the signer needs an apostille
- the apostille can or must be in electronic form.
Currently, Montana is the only state that issues electronic apostilles. And, as an additional option for relying on parties that will accept electronically notarized documents, a few states offer to attach a paper apostille to a paper printout to an electronically signed and notarized document:
In other words, eNotaryLog would need to arrange for an online notary in those states to handle the transaction. Also, documents notarized by RON are accepted by many Secretaries of State for apostilles. So, in short, documents can get notarized remotely then those requiring apostilles are sent and delivered to the issuing agencies.
While eNotaryLog cannot issue apostilles, we can still assist customers with them. Agencies that administer apostilles need the documents in the correct form. That is where eNotaryLog comes in! Check out our website for all your digital needs!