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Those emigrating from one country to another or seeking dual citizenship will need a large amount of documentation that must be translated and certified to deal with a range of international legal issues. Otherwise, these people will not meet the various standards of the countries in question and are likely to be rejected. In the past, trying to understand the different legal requirements of multiple countries was an incredibly difficult task. The many different requirements have also led to widespread fraud that is difficult to detect.

Over time, various international treaties have been signed that have attempted to streamline many of these processes. In 1961, the Hague Convention developed a system for the recognition of legal documents from one country in another, entitled “Abolishing the Requirement of Consular Legalization for Foreign Public Documents 1961”, which standardized many of the processes and legal requirements between the different signatory countries. Over 115 countries are party to the Convention, which is also used throughout the European Union.

Certified translations and apostilles: what are we talking about here?

In most cases, our first encounter with these terms is when we are told that we need to obtain an apostille for one or more of our documents. In this article, we’ll help you understand what an apostille is and how it relates to translation services and requirements. By the end, you should be able to explain why apostilles exist and whether you need them.

What is an apostille?

Apostilles are certificates affixed by officials designated by the government of a country. These certificates are used to attest to the validity of documents authenticated by a foreign country participating in the Convention. The aim is to streamline and reduce oversight requirements for some of the most common international paperwork.

Almost all official documents that are translated and notarized for presentation in a foreign country (a foreign country with a different official language) will need an apostille. For countries that are not part of the 1961 Hague Convention, you will need to contact the Secretary of State directly to find out how to certify documents.

Typically, the competent apostille authority places its seal and signature on the certificates. Often these designated officials can be found in embassies, courthouses, and local government buildings. Different countries generally have different requirements for this designation.

How do I obtain an apostilled document?

While the exact process will differ by country, the basic requirements will be more or less the same. Get your document translated by professional translators and then have it notarized. From there, you may need to mail the document to the Secretary of State to have it apostilled. In some cases, it may be necessary to translate the apostille itself.

Let’s try to understand this step better with a more specific example. If someone from the United States was planning to get married to someone in Italy, they will make sure that for each piece of paper they have a certified translation into Italian and that a government representative authenticates it. This is just one of the many services LingoYou can help you with.

Does a document that has an Apostille need to be translated?

It is recommended, unless otherwise indicated, to obtain both a translation of the apostilled document and a sworn translation of the apostille certificate. You will almost always need to attach a certified translation to any documents you send in the language of the receiving country. So if you’re wondering if you need to translate the apostille, the answer is yes.

What is the difference between a notarial deed and an apostille?

Both a notarial deed and an apostille serve to certify the document, but each plays a different role in relation to the international legal system. A notary typically operates within a nation, a document notarized in the United States is generally acceptable throughout the United States. But if you want to take that notarized document and have it accepted somewhere else, for example in Italy, you will have to apostille it and then translate all the appropriate documents.

LingoYou, by your side, wherever you go

For those in need of apostille and translation services, LingoYou offers a highly recommended and internationally recognized certified translation service, specializing in providing you with exactly what you need, from translation, to authentication, to apostille. Get started today!

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