Avoid These Apostille Mistakes: 8 Common Errors

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Monday, May 27, 2024

Avoid These Apostille Mistakes: 8 Common Errors

Obtaining an apostille can be a confusing process, especially if you haven’t done it before. It’s easy to commit apostille mistakes that only cost you more time and money in the long run.
To make sure you get an apostille in California without the hassle, you must avoid the common errors we listed below.

Mistakes to avoid when getting a California Secretary of State apostille

Here are some common mistakes to avoid when getting a California apostille:

1. Notarizing federal documents

Take note that not all documents require a State of California apostille. Federal and vital documents such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, and death certificates should be sent directly to the Secretary of State for the apostille without a notary needed.
You can search for a ‘notary near me’ to advise you about what type of documents should or shouldn’t be notarized for apostille.

2. Not checking document eligibility

Another thing you should avoid is securing an apostille for a document bound for non-apostille foreign countries.
Countries that are part of the 1961 Hague Convention are the only ones that recognize a CA Secretary of State apostille. So, if your document is headed for a non-apostille country, you should seek consular or embassy legalization instead.
By knowing this difference, you can navigate the apostille process easily. It will also save you from the expense of paying for an apostille that you won’t be able to use.

3. Incomplete information

Ensuring a smooth apostille service involves providing the State Department with correct and sufficient information. This includes filling out the request form with the right info that matches those on the documents you want to apostille.
At the same time, you should double-check documents for any errors or alterations. While rules vary depending on the state, the authorities may refuse to legalize a document with strike-outs.

4. Ignoring document translation requirements

If your destination country requires it, you’ll need to hire professional document translation services. This is often the case if your document is in a language other than English or if the receiving country doesn’t recognize English as one of their official languages.
Take note that your documents require more than a random translation. It must be a translation from a translator with a certification from the American Translators Association (ATA).
At the same time, this certified translation must be duly notarized in the presence of the translator to ensure the authenticity of their signature. For this, you can call a notary service to undertake the process.

5. Using ineligible copies

Aside from that, you should know that photocopies or self-prepared copies aren’t valid for apostille in CA. It’s important to understand the specific requirements of this process to avoid any problems along the way.
For example, you can only apostille a ‘true copy’ or ‘certified copy’. Also, the document should meet all the necessary criteria to avoid rejection from the State Department.
Aside from that, altered, smudged, or poor-quality copies might be declined, which will lead to delays on your apostille request.

6. Not verifying destination country requirements

To ensure that your documents will be apostilled fast, you should also know the requirements of the receiving country.
You need to know specific details from the relevant authority, such as the format, additional legalization, signatory requirements, and more. Make sure you also inquire about the specific requirements and procedures to speed up your apostille needs.

7. Delaying your request at the last minute

A State of California apostille in Los Angeles can take days or even weeks to process on a normal pace. Also, some instances may cause further delays, so it’s best to make a request as soon as possible.
This way, you’ll have time to make changes or re-submit requests in case they get rejected by the State Department.
But in case you need a last-minute apostille in California, you should consider hiring an apostille service instead. They can obtain a CA SOS apostille on the same day, so you can skip the long queue.

8. Not consulting with a professional

In some cases, the apostille process can be complicated, especially if multiple documents are involved. It’s best to tap the help of an apostille service to handle all the requirements and submissions on your behalf.
Experts in apostille services can advise you about the process and the requirements it entails. The best part is that they can also handle all the notarial and document translation needs, so you don’t have to look for another service.
Also, these apostille professionals have a working relationship with the State Department, FBI, DOJ, and other agencies. This means they can secure your apostille in Los Angeles faster compared to your DIY efforts.


Getting a California state apostille doesn’t have to be complicated. By avoiding common mistakes and enlisting the help of an expert, you can get all your documents legalized quickly.
Overall, make sure you prepare your documents properly and know your destination country’s requirements. This will help you save time and money from repeat requests.

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