Legalization Blog Series – Part 1

Posted by Gennine Cooper
January 10, 2018

Today we begin a series of posts related to the process of legalizing documents for use in foreign jurisdictions.  The legalization process is designed to provide foreign governments, including civil and judicial officials, assurance the documents which have been issued abroad are authentic and ready for use.

Apostille, Authentication and Legalization

There are multiple layers to document authentication which may begin on the county and/or state government level and end with federal government approval and finally, embassy legalization.  This multiple step process is often referred to the “Apostille, Authentication, and Legalization” process.  A document requiring an Apostille only is based on the country in which the document will be used.  A list of countries requiring Apostille only, as per Convention 12 of the Hague Agreement, may be found at   Authentication and legalization is typically a two-step process (referred to as “full legalization”) requiring review by local, state and/or federal government to determine its authenticity before submission to an embassy or consulate office for placing of its stamps, seals, and signatures signifying its approval to proceed with foreign use.

Types of Documents Requiring Apostille/Legalization

Some documents requiring authentication/legalization for foreign use are personal business documents (e.g., Powers of Attorney, Secretary Certificates, etc.), documents issued by state government (e.g., certificates of good standing and certified copies), and documents issued by the federal government.  Most common are certified copies of patent and trademark documents issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.   For more information on intellectual property, you may click on the following link:

What is required for your specific documents will depend on its intended purposes for use, the country, and the types of documents.  In part two of the series, we will provide additional information on obtaining Apostilles and having your documents “fully legalized.” In the meantime, if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to an Incserv Representative.  We will be happy to assist!