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Do You Really Need an Apostille Service?

By: Melanie Viego

Increasingly, many Americans are looking to relocate overseas or adopt children from foreign countries. The number is at an all-time high and we are fast becoming a nation of global citizens. Of course, moving to a new country requires a little bit of work and a lot of paperwork. And there are strict requirements most countries maintain in what paperwork they will accept as valid.

That is where the apostille stamp or seal comes in. You may have never heard of one until your lawyer or foreign agency told you all your documents need one. In getting one, the first question you may ask is:

What the heck is an apostille stamp?

Apostille is a French word meaning "certification." The pronunciation can be tricky, but most apostille offices in the U.S. pronounce it "a po steel". The apostille as we know it today was born in 1961 when several countries agreed to use a common system for certifying documents so they could be recognized as authentic by foreign nations. This is called the Hague Convention and there are currently dozens of nations who are members, and therefore accept the apostille as a symbol of authenticity. So in essence, with an apostille your document is then "legalized" for use in that country.

How do I get an apostille seal?

Getting an apostille in a timely manner is not an easy task if you don't know what you're doing. That's where the apostille services come in - and boy do they come in for a hefty price! You may have done an internet search for "apostille" and dozens of companies' ads shoot up vying for your business. Unfortunately they make you pay dearly for their precious help. Just one document can cost upwards of $200, and some documents like transcripts can be as high as $600 per document. And then there are the one or two shady-looking cheaper services which will need a week or two to process your documents. What you save in money, you lose in precious time (and worry).

Got an extra few thousand dollars to apostille your documents?

I didn't think so.

The fact is you don't need an apostille service at all. With a little bit of knowledge, you can get your important documents apostilled fast and cheaply. For example, let's say you have just three documents you need apostilled. With the average apostille company, you could pay upwards of $600 to get them done and returned to you in usually about 48 hours. With some "insider" information telling you exactly what you need to do and where and how to send your documents, you could get the exact same apostilles done in the same amount of time (or even faster in some cases) for closer to $35 for all three.

It's a no-brainer. The apostille companies prey on your lack of knowledge and strict time constraints, and then gouge you for doing something you could easily do yourself.

Trust me, you don't need to hire an apostille service.

My own personal experience with obtaining apostilles led me to create a manual for helping the average person do what the apostille companies do but for pennies on the dollar. I wanted to expose to the world how easy, secure and cheap it could be to get your documents apostilled. If you're looking for help, stop in to my website and learn a few valuable tricks. www.apostilleguide.com

Happy apostilling,

Melanie Viego

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About The Author, Melanie Viego


Melanie Viego is a frequent traveler and e-writer on topics ranging from immigration to investing. She is the author of The U.S. Apostille & Certification Guide 2008 at www.apostilleguide.com

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