How to Get an Apostille for The US
We help United States citizens and others with Notary and Apostille services with documents to be sent overseas. The following refers to the Notarisation and Apostille processes that may be required for documents bound for The United States.
Who am I?
I’m a Notary in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. In Victoria, Notaries are senior Solicitors who have been admitted as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Victoria and then later admitted as a Public Notary. There are around 20,000 Solicitors in Victoria and 130 of them are Notaries. To practise as a Notary, a Solicitor must have a current Practising Certificate issued by the Victorian Legal Services Board.
Upon admission to the Supreme Court of Victoria as a Notary, a Notary must provide a signature and official notarial seal to the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (“DFAT”). After notarising any document, it may need to be verified by overseas authorites via these records held at DFAT.
The United States and Apostille Authentication Certificates / Stamps
Often we are requested to notarise documents bound for The US, and this often involves also serving to secure DFAT authentication on their behalf as a second step. The type of verification DFAT applies depends on whether or not the receiving country is a party to The Hague Apostille Convention. The USA is a party to this Convention, so notarised documents intended for The US likely require an Apostille from DFAT.
An example of an Apostille stamp/certificate is provided below. This stamp/certificate from DFAT confirms the authenticity of the Notary’s signature and seal.
Apostille Stamps for US Bound Documents – Important Things to Consider:
- An Apostille is obtained from DFAT’s Australian Passports Office, not from the office of the Notary. Usually a notarisation is required first from a Victorian Notary Public.
- An Apostille is not a separate document – rather, an Apostille is affixed to a notarised document.
- If a notarised document is sent to The United States without an Apostille, the notarised document will likely have to be returned to Australia so that the Apostille can be affixed.
- It is absolutely crucial that clients are advised by overseas authorities whether an Apostille is required so as not to waste time and money. Notaries are not the determining bodies, but are simply the facilitators should an Apostille be required via the act of notarisation.
Three ways to obtain an Apostille for Documents Intended for The United States
Should the document need an Apostille, it likely requires notarisation first. Appointments with Victorian notaries can be booked over the phone or via an online booking system. John Pearce has an online booking system by which this notarisation appointment can be made.
Some original Australian Government documents do not need to be notarised first before an Apostille can be affixed. For example: An ORIGINAL OFFICIAL VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT BIRTH CERTIFICATE.
Ways to Secure the Apostille:
- IN PERSON: After notarisation, appointments with DFAT can be made to lodge the document for the Apostille. DFAT does not provide on the spot services. (Estimate: 2-5 weeks).
- BY MAIL: Documents can be posted to DFAT with a DFAT Authentication form enclosed. This form can be found on this website. (Estimate: 2-5 weeks).
- The OFFICE OF JOHN PEARCE & NOTARY PUBLIC: By paying an administration fee to the OFFICE OF JOHN PEARCE & NOTARY PUBLIC, we can obtain a fast-track Apostille. (Estimate: 2 weeks).
Please Note: A Notary practising in Victoria does not have a “Registration Number”. Rather, the affixation of the Apostille is confirmation of the authenticity of the Notary’s signature and seal.
For more information, see the linked PDF at the bottom of this page. Otherwise, please make a booking via the online booking system should you need documents notarised and or an Apostille fast tracked.