The Apostille Process in California, Secretary of State
- An Apostille is a certificate that authenticates the signature of a public official on a document for use in another country. An Apostille certifies: the authenticity of the signature of the public official who signed the document, the capacity in which that public official acted, and when appropriate, the identity of the seal or stamp which the document bears, e.g. a notary public seal. The Apostille does not validate the contents of the document.
- The California Secretary of State issues a single Apostille for documents to be used outside of the United States, regardless of the country of destination.
- For birth and death certificates, the California Secretary of State can issue an Apostille for the signatures of: county clerks and their deputies, county recorders and their deputies, and the State Registrar (California Department of Public Health).
- If your birth or death certificate was issued by a city- or county-level agency and has the signature of a Health Officer or County Registrar (e.g. Local Registrar, Registrar of Vital Records), prior to presenting to our office for authentication, one of the following will be required: have that birth or death certificate certified by the county clerk’s office in the county in which it was issued, or obtain a certified copy of that birth or death certificate from the county recorder or State of California Department of Public Health.
- The signature, name, and title of the public official can be found at the bottom of a birth or death certificate.
- Any individual can request an Apostille. When requesting an Apostille in person, no person(s) named in the document must be present. Additionally, the requester does not need to be related to any person(s) named in the document.
- For example, Louise is Alfred's neighbor, and they are not related in any way. Alfred can remain at home while Louise takes Alfred's document to the Secretary of State's office and requests an Apostille on Alfred's behalf.
Can I get an Apostille for a territory within the United States, e.g. Puerto Rico?
- No. Apostilles can only be issued for documents to be used outside the United States of America. Accordingly, we do not issue Apostilles for Puerto Rico, Guam, United States Virgin Islands, Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, or any other American territories or possessions. Generally, the notarial act is sufficient for use in any American territory or possession.
Does the California Secretary of State provide notarial services?
- No. If notarial services are needed, you should have the document notarized prior to submitting your Apostille request to the California Secretary of State. You can call us for Mobile Notary at your convenience
Can the California Secretary of State issue and Apostille for a document in a language other than English?
- Yes. If the notarization of the document is in English, the California Secretary of State can issue an Apostille. The rest of the document can be in any other language.
Does the California Secretary of State provide translation services?
- No. If a certified translation is required, you may wish to contact us for translation services.
- If the notarization of the document is in English, the California Secretary of State can issue an Apostille. The rest of the document can be in any other language.