Do I need to translate Apostille?
Do I need to translate Apostille?
One of the common questions we get when working with various certificates that are used overseas as vital documents, is about translating the Apostille: “Do I need to translate Apostille” – is a typical query from the customer.
The answer is: it depends.
What is Apostille?
First, let’s do a quick knowledge dump on what is apostille and what it is not: apostille is a type of a certificate, used by the countries who are members of the Hague Convention titled “Abolishing the Requirement of Consular Legalization for Foreign Public Documents of 1961”. Under this Convention, member countries agree to facilitate the exchange and verification of documents, and one such instrument is an apostille – essentially an international certification of a notarized document in any country that participates in the convention.
Do I need Apostille?
If you are translating and notarizing a document in the USA that is going overseas to the country that is part of the convention, you do need the apostille. If the destination country is not a member of the convention, you don’t need to obtain the apostille certification, because it is not going to be recognized anyway. You would have to work with the Secretary of State in the destination country to recognize your notarized document.
How do I get it?
For California specifically, as of this writing, there are several ways to obtain apostille. First, you notarize your translated document with any California notary. We perform this service as part of our translation package. Now that your translation is certified and notarized, you can:
- Mail the document to the Secretary of State and include all required information (processing times are about two weeks)
- Visit the Secretary of State directly in Sacramento office and receive the authentication on the first-come, first-serve basis (usually takes about twenty minutes, but you have to do the drive)
Do I need to translate it?
And now the trickiest part. At this point what you have is:
- A set of documents translated into the destination language
- Certification of translation – in the destination language
- Notarization page in English
- Apostille from the Secretary of State, also in English
Technically, under the Hague convention – this should be enough. The notarization affirms the identity of the translation certification statement signer, and the Secretary of State apostille makes it internationally recognizable.
However, in practice, lots of smaller agencies in destination countries, particularly those outside of major metropolitan areas, aren’t familiar with the concept of the apostille, or do know about it, but apply the concept incorrectly. We have seen quite a few customers being rejected by the destination country authorities for having “English language text” on the document.
Too often the local law that states “no document shall be accepted having foreign language that is not translated” trumps the Hague convention and the apostille instrument. So, what do you do? You attach translation of the apostille to the document.
You may ask: but isn’t it catch-22? Now that you have attached another translation, doesn’t it need to be notarized? What happens is that officials just want to have everything on the document translated, so they don’t carry any liability for accepting the document with non-translated contents. And it already has a certification on it – both from the agency, the notary and the Secretary of State of the USA. So now, you are all set.
Even though technically you don’t need to translate apostille, be aware of the destination country and agency it is going to – and set the expectations accordingly. To stay on the safe side, we always recommend having a single-page apostille certificate translated and loosely attached to the main translation package.
Questions? Contact us today, and our translation specialists will be happy to assist you.
My fiancee is from haiti . We are going to get married in Morocco Her birth certificate has no apostille because Haitian is not on the Hague list . What do we have to do in this case. Thank you.
Abdo, you would need to check with your local authorities in Morocco on the specific requirements – how they want translation to be certified.
My documentation is from another country outside the US and I need to translate into Italian for Italian Citizenship recognition. If I translate my documents in USA, do they also need to be Apostilled by the US Department of State?
An Apostille is an international certification of a notary seal. Unless you are getting your documents notarized, there’s no need for an Apostille. If you do get the documents notarized, and your documents will be reviewed in another country, you need an Apostille. You can get it from the Secretary of State.
For getting married in Dominican Repblic it necessary legalize and apostille documents issued in USA such as (Divorce decree, Birth certificate and single status affidavit) or only apostille them?
Your best resource would be to call the embassy or consulate of the Dominican Republic and get the official statement from them. We would be happy to assist with the translation of the documents.
Hi, my parent’s are from Ecuador. They got married in Las Vegas, Nevada. And now to register their marriage in Ecuador, those people want the marriage certificate to be translated in Spanish and have the apostille from the haya in the translate sheet. What can I do in this case? I’m so confused. I live in california, do i need to translate this document in Nevada and also have the apostille in Nevada state or can i do all this process in California? Also, in wich sheet the apostilla goes in the translate certificate sheet or in the original certificate sheet? Please, help me to figure this out. Thank you very much. 🙏🙏
Katherin, you can translate the document in any state – in California or Nevada. What matters is where you get the translation certified and notarized. Only the Secretary of the State can issue apostille, and they will only certify notary stamp of a notary in their respective state. So, if you do translation in Nevada – you will need to get apostille in Nevada, and the same in California.
Apostille is international acceptance, and as far as other countries concerned, they are getting verification from the USA, not an individual state. So, to them the state where you got everything done does not matter.
The apostille is applied to the notarized translation of your original.
I am married and have a British marriage certificate, which I require an apostiled and translated version of, in order to get my residency in Spain. However I’m still slightly confused as to the order of this process.
Do I first get the document translated, and then get the translation apostiled?
(And then also get the apostile translated?)
Or do we first get the document apostiled, and then have the whole document translated, including the apostile?
Many thanks in advance for any help,
Stephen and Suki
Hello Stephen and Suki!
Yes, you would get the documents translated first – and translation would be certified and notarized. Next, you get an apostille on that translation. The Secretary of State will certify that notary is indeed active and valid. Now with the apostille applied notary stamp carries legal weight in Spain – so Spanish authorities can accept the whole translated package and copy of original attached to it.
The last step is optional. Authorities in some countries require that submitted documents be entirely in the language of the country you are submitting to, so even the apostille should be translated. Other authorities recognize that apostille is indeed an international treaty and should be accepted as is, so no further translation required. It is best to check with the office where you are submitting documents on how they want the final package.
Hi dont know if i am right here. My question is though i wrote an englisch SPA but the apostille that was attached is in german and french. Does the apostille itself need to be translated into englisch to be valid in the staates?
In a perfect world the apostille itself should not need to be translated as it is an internationally recognized instrument in the countries that signed the convention. However, it all depends on local authorities and their level of acceptance of any documents in foreign language. We strongly recommend to have a translation of an apostille itself in case you run into any issues.