Official documents from outside of Mexico generally must be accompanied by an Apostille (issued in the country of origin) for legal transactions. Yet, what is an Apostille?
An Apostille (pronounced ah-po-steel), French for certification, is used to authenticate a document for use in another country. This form of acknowledging documents from abroad came out of the 1961 Hague Convention and is recognized in most countries across the globe, including the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. An Apostille is generally required on documents presented in Mexico from abroad, along with the accompanying translation.
What is important to keep in mind is the Apostille only acknowledges the authenticity of the signature or stamp on a document (i.e. Notary Public, State Registrar, etc.), but not the content of the document itself. Rather, the Apostille verifies the legal status of the person (usually a Notary Public) at the time a document was signed/issued.
How do I get an Apostille?
In the U.S., an Apostille is most frequently issued by the Secretary of State from the document’s origin (birth certificate, for example). Individuals can contact the Secretary of State in their desired state in order to obtain an Apostille.
Obtaining an Apostille is easy to do on your own. Search for Apostille services on the Secretary/Department of State for the state corresponding to the document (i.e. Arizona birth certificate – search at azsos.gov).
Though in-person services are currently suspended in Arizona due to Covid, the Arizona Secretary of State provides request service by mail, as well as additional information by calling: 602-542-6187 or 1-800-458-5842
As much of the work received in our own translation office comes from Arizona, here are filing tips from the Arizona Secretary of State on what to submit when requesting an Apostille
- An original notarized or certified recorded document.
- Apostille/Certificate of Authentication Request form (PDF)
- Filing fee (as updated) Filing fees vary by state, from $3 US per Apostille in Arizona (along with return postage)
- Find a service that can be tracked to ensure document’s return to you.
- Don’t send documents recorded by another state. The state that produced the document needs to certify it (I.E. a birth certificate from Nevada needs to be certified by the Nevada Secretary of State’s office). Documents returned by other states will be returned to you.
- No issuing of electronic apostilles.
Where to File (AZ)
Filing By Mail
Secretary of State
Attn: Apostille Dept.
1700 W. Washington Street, Fl. 7
Phoenix, AZ 85007-2808