Before we delve into why you may need an apostille when traveling, it is important to know what exactly an apostille is. An apostille authenticates signatures and seals on official documents like court orders, birth certificates, marriage certificates, and other documents issued by a federal agency or certified by an American consul.

In simple words, an apostille makes it possible for an official document issued by one country to be accepted by another country. It is an essential legal certificate or stamp used to certify your public documents.

Why an apostille

Some legal documents notarized by a notary public are needed by the countries where the documents will be used; signatory countries to the Hague apostille convention. However, the Hague apostille convention applies if both the country that issued the public document and the country it is to be used are parties to the convention.

The apostille certificate is usually attached to your original document to authenticate it or confirm that it is legitimate. Hence the document can be accepted or used in other countries that are parties to the Hague apostille convention. It only allows the document to be officially accepted in another country.

You must remember that an apostille doesn’t give further information about the underlying document. Instead, it authenticates the signature, the seal’s correctness, the signatory’s capacity, and the stamp on the document.

Under what circumstances do you need an apostille?

Ideally, you need apostille services Connecticut when traveling abroad, especially to live or work there. An apostille is required under the following circumstances:

  • The country that issues the public document is a party to the Hague apostille convention.
  • The country where the paper will be used is also a party to the Hague apostille convention.
  • The country’s law where the document was issued considers it a legal public document.
  • The country’s law where the document will be used needs an apostille to acknowledge it as an official foreign public document.
  • It is required whenever a public document needs to be used abroad, such as in cross-border situations, intercountry adoption procedures, acquiring citizenship in a foreign state, intercountry business transactions, foreign legal processes, foreign investment procedures, etc.

What happens is that the person in the foreign country where the document is to be used cannot evaluate the authenticity of the document by just looking at it. That is because they don’t know the official capacity or identity of the authority whose seal or stamp it bears. As such, they need confirmation that the notary who notarized the document is legitimate. Note that apostilles are strictly used in a foreign country and not where the document is issued.

Some of the public documents that can be apostilled

  • Marriage certificate.
  • Birt certificate.
  • Power of attorney.
  • Police clearance certificate.
  • Degree or diploma certificate.
  • Letter of no impediment.
  • Any public document issued by the department of home affairs.
  • Tertiary degrees, martriac certificates, and qualification certificates.


An apostille authenticates a public document for use in a foreign country that is a party to the Hague apostille convention. It is required when traveling abroad for work or living and only countries that are signatories to the Hague apostille convention require an apostille.