EXPERT LEGAL SERVICES
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Hague Evidence Convention
There are generally two ways to authenticate documents from, and for use in, foreign countries. The first is through use of the Hague Convention Abolishing the Legalization of Foreign Public Documents (Hague Convention #12) which applies a standardized certificate called an APOSTILLE to a document verifying its authenticity. The APOSTILLE is a form document with content that has been agreed to by the nations that have chosen to become signatory.
The second method is chain authentication which is a sequence of authorized signatures, beginning with the original signature, such as a notary or court officer, then verified by a state, federal or judicial agency, and then the state, federal or judicial agency's verification is further verified by the foreign country's consular representation in the United States, or the United States' consular representation in the foreign country.
There are many circumstances where authentication is required or recommended.
While it is not generally required to have documents authenticated when utilizing the Hague Service Convention, Hague Evidence Convention, and Inter-American Convention, there are a few signatory countries that require authentication of all documents being forwarded for formal execution, such as Romania and Panama. In addition, when serving process or requesting evidence by letters rogatory in some countries will require authentication, such as Costa Rica and United Arab Emirates.
Documents from one country to be used in the courts of another country are required to be authenticated. Additionally, many state courts require that personal service affidavits be authenticated if not provided by a foreign judicial authority in connection with formal service through one of the Conventions or letters rogatory.
Our office can provide all methods of authentication, both for documents from the United States to be used in a foreign country, or documents from a foreign country to be used in a court of the United States. We are also able to obtain documents from foreign countries (if legally available).
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