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Legalization Blog Series – Part 4

legalization, flagsWe’ve reached the final post of the legalization blog series!  In part 1, we introduced the legalization process and provided detail on what types of documents require legalization.  In part 2, we defined and discussed apostilles, authentications and embassy legalization in depth and in part 3, we discussed the differences between embassies and consulates and how to navigate through each to have your documents ready for use outside the U.S.   Finally, in part 4, we will go over a few tips on avoiding rejection and getting your documents completed within your deadlines.

Avoiding Rejection

We can’t stress enough that each country has its own chain of requirements!  Some embassies will take a few days to process, while others may take weeks.  Some have special forms that must accompany documents and others may have additional steps in the authentication process before the document can be submitted to the embassy.  Export shipments leaving the US and going to Arab countries may require shipping documents such as Certificates of Origin and Commercial Invoices to be submitted to the National US Arab Chamber of Commerce (NUSACC) for review and certification.  Every country is different!  To find out more on the functions of the NUSACC, visit  or reach out to us.

Meeting Deadlines

When an order is placed, make sure important deadlines are communicated to your service provider!  The Court or other official or government agency overseas may accept copies of completed documents by the deadline, while others will need the originals in hand by a specific date.  Either way, give yourself enough time to complete all steps required for processing, while also allowing time for shipping internationally, if required.

The Do’s and Don’ts!legalization, document

Remember, documents must be original.  Documents certified by a federal official may not be authenticated by the State but must be authenticated by the U.S. Department of State.  Once certified by a government official, do not remove grommets, staples, or any pages in the document!  Lastly, content of the document must not be contrary to the laws of the country in which the document will be used.  For example, the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China has been known to reject documents which refer to “Taiwan” as its own independent country.

It has been a pleasure presenting the topic to you!  If you’ve missed any part of the series or for access to other blog posts, feel free to click on the following link:  Should you need assistance, an Incserv representative is available to help!

Thanks for reading!

Deirdre Davis-Washington, Assistant Vice President

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Legalization Blog Series – Part 1

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!