Legalizations & Authentications

UCS provides nationwide apostille/legalization services for a variety of personal, corporate and academic documents.

Obtaining an apostille can be a timely and complex process. If done incorrectly it will cost you both time and money. UCS has developed steps to simplify the process and get you what you need in a timely fashion. Our services include document pick up, Apostille processing, and drop off or shipping of your document(s) once the process is completed. Processing options and times vary from state to state. UCS can process your apostille directly from the Secretary of State or make arrangements to legalize it with any Consulate located in the United States.

Contact your Client Service Representative or email us at for details.

Legalization FAQ

QuestionWhat is legalization and why would I need it?


Public documents, such as Good Standings, Articles of Incorporation, judgments, or notarial attestations (acknowledgments) of signatures, often are required to do business abroad. However, countries often require that a documents origin be authenticated before it is accepted for use in that country. This method of authentication is called legalization.

QuestionHow do I legalize my document?


The legalization process involves officials of the country where the document was issued as well as the foreign Embassy or Consulate of the country where the document is to be used. Because of this multistep authentication, the process is often slow, cumbersome and expensive. A large number of countries recognized this problem and joined a treaty that greatly simplifies the authentication of public documents to be used abroad.

QuestionWhat is an Apostille?


The treaty mentioned above is called the Hague Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents. It is commonly known as the Apostille Convention. An “apostille” is a form of authentication issued to documents for use in countries that participate in the Hague Convention of 1961. A list of countries that accept apostilles is provided by the US State Department.

QuestionWhat if a country is not party to the Hague?


If the country of intended use is not party to the Hague Convention, documents being sent to that country can be “authenticated” or “certified” the traditional way.
The Office of the Secretary of State provides apostille and authentication services to U.S. citizens and foreign nationals on documents that will be used overseas.

QuestionWhat types of documents are eligible for apostilles and authentication?


  • Company bylaws
  • Articles of incorporation
  • Power of attorney
  • Diplomas,
  • Transcripts
  • Letters relating to degrees
  • Marital status
  • References and job certifications
  • Home studies
  • Deeds of assignments
  • Distributorship agreements
  • Papers for adoption purposes

To be eligible for an apostille, a document must first be issued or certified by an officer recognized by the authority that will issue the apostille. For example, in the US state of Vermont, the Secretary of State maintains specimen signatures of all notaries public, so documents that have been notarized are eligible for apostilles. In some cases, intermediate certifications may be required in the country in which the document originates before it will be eligible for an apostille. For example, in New York City, the Office of Vital Records (which issues, among other things, birth certificates) is not directly recognized by the New York Secretary of State. As a consequence, the signature of the City Clerk must be certified by the County Clerk of New York County to make the birth certificate eligible for an apostille.

QuestionHow long does it take to have a document apostilled or authenticated?


That depends on whether the country is part of the Hague. If it is, the process can be done within 24 hours and in some cases on the same day. If the country is not part of the Hague, it will depend on the Consulate. UCS can pick up and deliver your documents anywhere they need to go.

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