Visas and consular services

Apostille - Hague Convention

Hague Convention from 1961 for abolishing the requirement of legalization for foreign public documents

The United States is party to the Hague Apostille Convention from 1961. The Convention abolishes the requirement of diplomatic and consular legalization for public documents originating in one Convention country and intended for use in another. For the purposes of the Convention, public documents include: (a) documents emanating from a court, (b) documents issued by an administrative authority (such as civil records), and (c) documents executed before a notary. Such documents issued in a Convention country which have been certified by a Convention certificate called an "Apostille" are entitled to recognition in any other Convention country without any further authentication.

A very detailed explanation of the fact is to be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apostille_Convention.

Also, is explained how this legalization is done for countries not parties to the above named Convention.

 

When do I need an Apostille?

When you have an American document and you want to use it in Romania or at the Romanian Embassy or Consulate for a procedure (of any kind), legalization through Apostille of the American document is mandatory.

As examples of American documents which require an Apostille: birth/marriage/death certificates, divorce decrees, approval of change of name, naturalization certificates, proofs of legal stay, power of attorney (issued by local Public Notary), Statements (from local Notary), police record, etc.

As examples of American documents NOT to be apostilled: ID cards, work permit cards, passports, driver licenses.

 

Where should I address myself for an Apostille in United States?

First, it must be very clear that American documents are apostilled in U.S. to be used in Romania and Romanian documents are apostilled in Romania (not in the Romanian Embassy!) to be used in U.S.!

All the American documents are sent by the applicant to be apostilled to the Secretary of State from the State in which that document was issued! So, the issuing State is the one to address to (not the Embassy)!

For the District of Columbia here is the link: http://www.state.gov/authentications/

For any other state, just start a search on internet for "Apostille" and "Secretary of State ..........." (put the name of the US State) and you will get the contacts and procedure to obtain the Apostille.

 

I have a Romanian certificate. How do I get an Apostille on it?

First, the certificate (birth, marriage, death) must be in  proper state (not worn, glued, altered or damaged in any way).

Second, it must be in the actual form (A4 size, blue for birth, orange for marriage and grey for death).

Third, it will be sent to Romania to the competent authority (called "Prefectură") to be apostilled (an A4 page sealed with the certificate, that grants its validity for use in U.S.).

The original certificate, along with a valid ID document (passport or ID card) and a FORM (click to download) to fill and sign, can be presented at the counter in the office hours. The form is in Romanian language, being addressed to Romanian authorities from Romania.

The valid ID document will be returned (a copy of it will be filed). The applicant must be the owner of the certificate (under his/her name) or a legal representative (parent for children's certificates, surviving spouse of the deceased one, etc.). He/she will also leave a self addressed envelope, postage prepaid, with tracking number, for returning the certificate after completing the procedure.

No appointment required for such a service!

The fee changes monthly, according to the EUR/USD exchange rate. Details are found here: http://washington.mae.ro/en/node/546 and the fee value, here: http://washington.mae.ro/node/545 (Section VI, Nr.9)

Because is sent to Romania, one could expect about a 3 (three) months processing time until is returned.

This procedure can be done also per mail, including all from above, but with two remarks: the valid ID will be a good quality copy and the fee will be paid with a money order of the required amount.

 

- revised on February 7, 2014 -

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