APOSTILLE, most people usually get tension from hearing such a term.

What about you? do you either think that handling some documents for apostille process is such a pain in the neck?

Do you even know what is Apostille? or what does Apostille stand for?

Well, it doesn’t matter, since all you need to know is how to get Apostille. which you will eventually. so, Let me be clear when I say that getting the Apostille Seal is quite simple process, Actually, it doesn’t require some professionals to handle this process in favor of the mediocre person, it’s that simple, which will allow anyone who followed my instructions to easily do it himself.

Therefore, I want you to keep calm, do not panic, and try to keep up, because at the end of the day you will be able to get it done all by yourself. so pay attention…

For This is The Right Way to Get an Apostille Seal in California Totally By Yourself

Tl;dr: you can get the Apostille Stamp in Five simple steps:

  1. Get the original document(s) that need authentication.
  2. Fill and completed the request form.
  3. Prepare an envelope with all papers required including $26.00 authentication fees.
  4. Obtain the Apostille Stamp at California Secretary of State’s office in two ways.
    1. By sending the envelope directly to the SOS mailing address at Sacramento.
    2. Through a walk-in service by a presenting in person at the SOS offices in Sacramento or LA.
  5. Congrats, Apostille Seal successfully granted.
get-apostille-infographic
Click to enlarge this infographic

Now, let’s discuss this steps with more in-depth illustration. but, before we get started, there is one good question still remain. why you even bother do it yourself when hiring a private agency can have your back?

Obviously, obtaining the Apostille stamp on your own documents from the Secretary of State’s office in the State of California by yourself basically will cost you only $26.00 per apostille. Whilst hiring an expedited apostille service will cost you way more. we -here in California Apostille Inc.- basically charge our customers with an additional $34.00 for expedited Service per document. However, this price may vary depends on the private agencies you would hire.

The price breaks down for the Secretary of State of California, they will charge you with $20.00 for each authentication request, in addition to $6.00 as a special processing fee for each different public official’s signature that requires authentication.

What about processing time, Let’s debate! you may be right in this one that apostille processing time is time-consuming if only you have multiple number/types of documents. sending such an amount of those documents by mail, well, it might end with a disaster! only then, I recommend that you should hire a private agency to handle this. Walk-in service, on the other hand, it doesn’t matter how many documents that you have, it only takes a couple of hours before your documents are done.

Nevertheless, even if you’re overseas, it’s better if you have sent it to the SOS directly as well as it’s just a few papers that need to be certified. Why? because is pointless to send your documents to a private agency while if you ship it directly to the SOS will only take an extra few days for maximum. but with efficient handling and low cost.

Enough debating, let’s talk technical.

Apostille and Authentication Process in the State of California

California Secretary of State has two offices, one in Sacramento and the other in Los Angeles. they both provide authentication of public official signatures on documents to be used outside the United States’s borders.

The Secretary of State in California can authenticate signatures only on documents issued in the same State and signed by a notary public or one of the following public officials or their deputies: e.g.

  1. County Clerks or Recorders
  2. Court Administrators of the Superior Court
  3. Executive Clerks of the Superior Court
  4. Officers whose authority is not limited to any particular county
  5. Executive Officers of the Superior Court
  6. Judges of the Superior Court
  7. State Officials

Secretary of State office at Sacramento

So, considering to send your documents by mail, only Sacramento office will accept such a process. besides, they do offer a walk-in service too which allow the document holder to obtain the apostille stamp on the same day.

The turnaround time may not be clear, but, in my experience, it would take 10 business day for maximum.

Prepare an envelope and include all the following items:-

  • The original notarized or certified document(s). (A photocopy is not acceptable)
  • The completed cover letter.
  • Check or Money Order Payable to: “California Secretary of State”
  • Prepaid return envelope.

Here are their office’s address and the opening hours to check’em out before taking any further step.

Office Location

1500 11th Street, 2nd Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814
Driving Directions

Mailing Address

Notary Public Section
P.O. Box 942877
Sacramento, CA 94277–0001

Phone Number

+1 (916) 653–3595

Office Hours

Monday through Friday
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
(excluding state holidays)

Secretary of State office in Los Angeles

The Secretary office in Los Angeles provides Apostille services on a Walk-in Basis only. If you want to mail your request. The LA office won’t process your Apostille request via mail. as we’ve mentioned above, you will need to direct your package to Sacramento office.

Now, follow the below instruction for easy processing:-

  1. Ensure that your document is notarized by a California notary public or signed by one of the previously mentioned officials.
  2. The payment. be ready to pay $20.00 per document + $6.00 special handling fee for each different public official’s signature. Let’s say it is $26.00 per document. You can pay via check, money order, or credit cards. No cash accepted in Los Angeles office.
  3. No Appointment is required. The Secretary of State office opens from 8:00 am — 4:30 pm PST, Monday through Friday
  4. Visit the Secretary of State office. Here is the location…

And because is a Walk-in Service, turnaround time would be on the Same Day.

California Secretary of State

Los Angeles Regional Office
300 South Spring Street, Room 12513
Los Angeles, CA 90013

 

What Types of Documents you can get it Apostilled

1. Secretary of State Apostille of Documents

Public Documents

Documents issued in the State of California and bear the signature and/ or the stamp of an elected or appointed officials such as Vital Records, documents issued by California Corporation Division, Health Department, and Division of Motor Vehicle.

The document must be an original certificate or a certified copy. It CANNOT be notarized.

General Documents

Documents issued by private agencies in the State of California such as corporations, schools, and universities. The document must be properly notarized by a California notary public before you request our services.

  • Agreement to Form a Corporation
  • Insurance Certificate
  • Business Letter
  • Letter of Authorization
  • Power of Attorney
  • ISO Certificate
  • Technical Data Sheet
  • Affidavit
  • Free sale Certificate
  • Stock Certificate
  • Shareholder List
  • Change of Agent
  • Stock Purchase Agreement
  • Health Certificate
  • Agency Agreement
  • Company Bylaws
  • Certificate of Analysis
  • School Transcript
  • College Transcript
  • School Diploma
  • Teaching Credentials
  • TESOL Certificate
  • Doctorate Degree
  • Graduate Record Examination GRE
  • Doctorate Certificate
  • College Diploma
  • Master Degree
  • Associate Degree
  • Bachelor Degree/ Certificate
  • Letter of Resignation
  • Distributor Agreement
  • letter of Intent
  • Operating Agreement

Note: All these types of documents must be issued in California State to be able to obtain the Apostille seal from the Secretary of State Offices in California.

2. Department of State Apostille of Documents

Federal Document

Documents must be issued by one of the federal agencies in the United States such as the FDA, the FBI, the USPTO, the IRS, the EPA, the Social Security Administration, Department of Homeland Security…etc.

The document must be original and bear the embossed seal of the federal agency.

  • Sanitation Certificate
  • Certificate of Free Sale (CFS)
  • Certificate of Exportability
  • Certificate to Foreign Government (CFG)
  • Certificate of Non-Clinical Research Use Only Materials Certificate
  • Trademark
  • Plant certificate
  • Animal Health Certificate
  • Phytosanitary Certificate
  • Certificate of Pharmaceutical products (COPP)
  • Certificate of Pharmaceutical product- Foreign Manufacturer
  • Specified Risk Material of Bovine, Ovine, and Caprine Origin Materials.
  • FBI Criminal Background Check
  • Patent
  • Form 6166‐ US Tax Residency
  • Homeland Security Documents
  • Naturalization Certificate
  • Social Security Documents
  • Social Security Benefits Letter

Note: The Federal issued documents cannot be certified from California SOS, Instead, the Apostille stamp on the federal document must be obtained from the US Department of State in Washington DC.


Ultimately, I hope that the fear of hearing the word APOSTILLE has vanished and you are now willing to take charge and get things done by yourself.