I got a request from a customer whose documents I’m notarizing to follow through with the authentication/apostille process. I had to say no because I don’t have experience doing it, but I started reading Judi Lawrence’s book online today. It seems to me like a bunch of headaches, deadlines you may not meet, and expenses you might have to lay out before you get paid. I’m wondering if anyone is offering this service and what kind of training you’ve had. Did you just learn the process by reading, and is it worth all the work?
First thought: How much demand for this is there in your area?
I think, with the refi/int.rate crash, the people promoting this are just trying to get a whole new batch of get-rich-quick suckers hooked. Anyone can do the Apostille process and I think you pretty well nailed the problems.
I think there probably is a big demand for this where I am. It’s an international area - VA/DC/MD - but because I don’t list it as a service, I don’t get the calls for it. I know you don’t have to be a notary, but it could be an additional service you can provide. If I lived in Richmond, I might give it a try, but it involves shipping, deadlines, expenses. I believe the course is $500 and not sure if it’s worth it or the additional headaches and deadlines.
I don’t think you need a course as this really is intended to be something anyone can do for themselves.
Pretty sure if you Google Apostilles/your area or just go to your SOS site & poke around, the process is laid out in detail (at least in my fly-over/no demand area it is).
What Arichter said - your SOS website should set out the procedure for you - read carefully and just follow directions. Save $500 - from what I understand there are YouTube videos about this too (and I hate promoting YouTube training).
For example, for VA - http://www.commonwealth.virginia.gov/official-documents/authentications/
For MD - Home
For DC: Authentications | os
Do not expect any of these general, generic apostille “classes” to know the laws of each and every state - you will still be on the hook if you do it wrong. Study your own states’ manuals/regulations for proper requirements.
Another thing I noticed in my state, AR, when going to Apostille info website is that they state the ‘turnaround time’ (when mailed in) and it changes a lot.
Yes, same here - info says it takes 7 days turnaround time when in fact it’s 7 weeks.
Hello. There are she very good courses out there that may give you a better understanding based on what I’ve heard and seen. You could also look into HNA, Houston Notary Academy that offers a course. Or try 1NotaryNation. HTH.
I took a live course from Wil Ussery, Exceptional Notary, and am very glad I did. Well worth the $150 I paid. It provided so much guidance and identified pitfalls I would mot have been aware of. Check him out, he’s on this forum.
Call me when you have some time and I can give you some direction if you want to try apostille work. It’s a routine part of my notary service and once you understand what’s happening, you can add it to your toolbelt. I’ve been offering apostille work for many years now; I don’t recommend the courses. (415-686-6613 in CA)
That’s so nice of you. Is there a good day or time to call you? I did read an online manual yesterday but i have so many questions. I’m in VA.
@TerrieG A very generous & kind offer!
Very similar situation happen to me. I trained with Anne. She is an apostille coach and it was great.
The Apostille - Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents
I started doing apostille over 10 years ago. I had no training. I just read my state’s website regarding apostille & what was required. I had a few hic cups along the way but it was on the job training, OJT.
Its not that hard & its easy to do. My first apostille came from an attorney who did not know what an apostille was and neither did I. The apostille was for a country called Seychelles. I’ve never heard of this place, so it was time to google it.
To get started with doing an apostille all you need is to follow your state requirements:
Usually, the document is required to be notarized, it may also require the notary work to be authenticated, this just means that they will verify the notary signature is the same as on file, the commission is current, the venue or acknowledge is present & signed. Now I just got of the phone with the NJ Treasury and they said that they don’t require the venue or acknowledgement, just the notary information.. There are also a lot of little things you need to know. Can you apostille a document in a foreign langue? Some state require you to have the English version, other state will apostille the English & foreign as two separate documents. However, the venue & jurat/acknowledge must always be in English
People are always in a Rush to get their document apostille so you can charge more for expedited service.
Certain document don’t necessary need to be notarized, i.e., vital records, birth, death, marriage because they were issued by a state official and can be apostille by the Competent authority for issuing the apostille in your state.
In NYS it can be a bit frustrating because there are so many different counties (62) and costs and the procedure is slightly different but the same. Some states will allow you to certify copies of a vital record but in NY notary public can not certify documents. So county clerks can only verify signature of town official on documents that are less than 10 years old. Town officials signature need to be authenticated by the county clerk as the Secretary of State will only apostille document verified by the county or other state officials on record.
If you live near your apostille authority for your state you can earn a good income, but you can also use the mail to send your documents to them. In the beginning I was using a courtier to walk my documents for same day service since some states take weeks if you do it by mail.
If the country is not part of the Hague Convention of 1961 it may require to extra steps. The document may have to go to the US Department of State in Washington DC and the Embassy or Consulate for that country. Even though the procedure is straight forward. So countries consulates will accept document directly from the state, (i.e., China - NY) or Vietnam - NY will accept either)
So, it’s OJT, whenever you get a new document, call that states issuing authority and ask what do i do to get this apostille. Apostille are my biggest income earning, so it was good-bye closings.
You can check out the Hague Convention website hcch.net where you can get more information about apostille an the countries that accept it. New countries are joining all the time making the job easier. China will be joining I believe this month.
Smooth Sailing & following Seas.
I’ve heard from some experienced notaries that it’s definitely worth exploring. Some have learned the process by reading books, like Judi Lawrence’s, while others have taken specialized training courses. It really depends on what suits you best.
You’ve provided excellent and very useful information and I’m sure many will appreciate the thoroughness of this post. THANK YOU!!