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  • Writer's pictureMitch Tandeske

What is an apostille and how do you get it in Oregon and Washington?

Updated: Jan 10

Our clients often say they’ve not heard the word until receiving instructions that an “apostille” or authentication certificate will be required to accept their documents outside of the United States.  If you’ve been instructed to get an apostille on your documents or to get documents notarized with an apostille this article will help.  If instead of reading you prefer to talk to an experienced local Notary Public who specializes in processing documents requiring an apostille we welcome your call or text at 971-599-3080.


What is an apostille?


Oregon apostille certificate sample image

An apostille is a certificate issued by a government authenticating that an official document is genuine and can be legally recognized in another country.  Most commonly the certificates are stapled to the original document and stamped or embossed with an official seal.  To qualify for authentication with an apostille your documents must either be notarized or have been issued by a government agency and signed, stamped or sealed by a government official.  Examples of documents commonly authenticated with an apostille include vital records (birth certificates, death certificates, marriage certificates and divorce certificates), copies of identification or copies of documents certified by a Notary Public, court orders, educational diplomas and transcripts or any other personal or business document notarized by a Notary Public.  Original documents issued by Federal agencies such as FBI background documents, consular reports and U.S. court documents must be authenticated by the U.S. Department of State.


How do I get an apostille?


For assistance with obtaining apostille certificates in Oregon or Washington it is best to seek the guidance of an experienced Notary Public familiar with this process.  Notary of Portland is a mobile notary firm specializing in apostille processing, including foreign language documents and will save you frustration, time and money by helping to avoid the many pitfalls that can lead to rejection of your documents if they are handled incorrectly.


If you reside in the greater Portland, Oregon metro area including Vancouver, Washington and all bordering counties, Notary of Portland offers expedited same day apostille processing for documents issued by any government entity within the state of Oregon or any document notarized by an Oregon Notary Public.  We also facilitate obtaining apostille certificates from any other U.S. state or the U.S. Department of State for federal documents.  If you’ve been instructed to get a document notarized or to obtain a certified copy of identification, personal documents or business documents with an apostille it is best to consult with an experienced Notary Public before you get them notarized to be sure they meet requirements for authentication with an apostille certificate.  Visit https://www.notaryofportland.com/apostille-notary for more information.


Notarized documents, vital records and other local government documents can only be authenticated with an apostille issued by the Secretary of State in the state from which the document originated or was notarized. For example, an Oregon birth certificate may only be authenticated by the Oregon Secretary of State, a court order signed and stamped by a court clerk in Washington may only be authenticated by the Secretary of State in Washington.  However, personal or business documents and copies of documents can be notarized in any state.  Secretaries of State throughout the United States will generally accept documents ready for apostille by mail.  However, they may be rejected and returned when the exact instructions are not precisely followed or if the notarization is not performed precisely in accordance with their state guidelines.  Most states require a specific form to be completed and payment submitted in advance by cashiers check or money order for their exact fees.  They often require pre-paid return envelopes to be sent with the documents.  Processing times often range from four to six weeks if not more.  A more reliable and expeditious option is to retain the services of a professional Notary Public specializing in apostille processing.  Notary of Portland is able to accept documents from any location domestically or internationally for expedited apostille processing in Oregon.  Upon receipt of qualifying documents Notary of Portland will courier them to the Oregon Secretary of State for immediate apostille processing then deliver them to the carrier of your choice for shipment to any global address no later than 5:00pm the following business day (the only exception are holidays observed by Oregon government offices or any other unexpected closure of the Secretary of State office).


For local Oregon and southwest Washington residents throughout the greater Portland metro area, and surrounding counties, documents can be processed and returned the same business day with apostille certificates attached if we pick them up by 12:00pm or the next business day if picked up after 12:00pm.  For easy online scheduling of same day or future appointments visit us online at www.notaryofportland.com or call/text 971-599-3080.

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