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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 3

DC,, legalizationPart 3 of our Legalization Blog Series discusses embassies and consulates, the differences between the two, its functions and how to navigate through its processes to have your documents legalized for use outside of the United States.

Embassy vs. Consulate

Embassies are typically located within the capital city of a country.   Foreign Embassies within the United States are located in Washington, DC.  For most U.S. documents to be used in other countries, as long as the documents have been authenticated by the U.S. Department of State, the Embassy in Washington DC will legalize it for use in the destination country.   There are some exceptions:  Egypt, Iraq, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are examples of countries that will require use of a consulate office within the jurisdiction of the document’s origin for legalization, after receiving the U.S. Department of State’s authentication.

Consulate offices are smaller versions of Embassies and are designed to assist with local matters involving its citizens and business abroad.  Consulates are generally located in major cities like Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Houston and Miami.  These offices have officials that are able to review documents which have originated within their local jurisdictions, providing the necessary stamps, seals, and signatures for legalization.  If a country has a local consulate office, in some cases, the document can go direct from the Secretary of State to the Consulate office, avoiding federal authentication. is a great resource for determining which countries have local consulates and where.

Getting Your Documents Processed!

It is important to remember, each Embassy will have its own chain of requirements for legalization processing.   Some will require full copies of documents, special forms and applications to accompany the documents, various acceptable payment methods, etc.  The People’s Republic of China’s (China) Authentication Form is one most people are familiar with in doing business with China.   Also known as the “G1” form, the form must be completed in all caps, bold print, and must be signed by the applicant, as well as the agent that will be presenting the document to the Embassy for legalization on the applicant’s behalf.  Additionally, the Embassy will require a copy of the applicant’s and agent’s passport and/or driver’s license.  This form has been changed a few times over the years.  For the most recent form, visit the Embassy’s website at:

Keeping up with these steps may seem a little overwhelming, but we are certainly here to assist where you need us!  With our daily experiences in working with the embassies, an Incserv representative can make sure your documents in need of legalization are processed accurately and quickly!  In the final part of the series, we’ll provide tips on avoiding rejection and getting your documents processed to ensure your deadlines are met!

Thanks for reading!

Deirdre Davis-Washington, Assistant Vice President

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The Federal Government Is Open For Business! But What If It Hadn’t?

DC Flag, federal Government How the Government Shutdown Affects the Legal Services Industry.

Hours before the deadline Friday, January 19th, it appeared Congress would not reach an agreement to avoid a shutdown of the Federal government.  Clients had begun to inquire whether or not their requests for Federal services would be processed, such as legalizations, authentications, USPTO …. And even embassies!  Fortunately, Congress came to an agreement quickly after only one business day, but this situation could emerge again – so what would happen in the case of a Federal Government shutdown?

U.S. Department of State

Generally, most government agencies with which we work most frequently generate their own revenues, which allows these agencies to operate (some, temporarily), in the event of a shutdown.  For example, business can be conducted with the U.S. Department of State because, as with the shutdown of 2013, the authentications office would be able to process visa applications and other consular services using revenues generated from fees it charges for these services.  Embassies would typically be unaffected, as they are governed by the laws of their own country.

Other Federal Agencies

Like the Department of State, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) remains open, funding its operations using the fees it collects; however, in the past this has only been for a few weeks. The Office of Comptroller of Currency (OCC), as per its website, is “funded through assessments on supervised institutions and not Congressional appropriations, OCC operations are not affected by a government shutdown from a lapse in budget authority.”  This means we are able to request certificates of corporate existence and other certified documents for national banks and savings banks.  The Surface Transportation Board, an independent agency, where railcar liens are recorded and searched, was one of the agencies affected and could not operate.

District of Columbia

If you didn’t know, DC does not have autonomy over its own budget!  In the past, the District of Columbia would have been affected by the shutdown.  However, thanks to legislation sponsored by Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton passed in 2017, DC was not affected by the shutdown.    With the new legislation, DC government agencies including the Department of Consumer of Regulatory Affairs (DCRA), Recorder of Deeds, and the Department of Notary and Authentications, will now be business as usual during a Federal shutdown!

For more information on our federal agency services, you may click on the following link: . If you have any questions or need additional information, please feel free to reach out to one our experienced staff members.  We are happy to assist!

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!

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Chinese Embassy Closed for Chinese New Year

The Chinese Embassy in Washington, DC will be closed Friday, January 27th and Monday, January 30th for the Chinese New Year.

Our Washington DC office handles many of the services unique to the jurisdiction including embassy legalizations.   With 20 plus years of experience in the industry, our staff is familiar with the intricacies of dealing with various federal agencies and has a vast understanding of the many foreign embassies’ policies and procedures.

We are able to assist you with:

  • Retrieving your certified documents from the various Secretary of State offices to be authenticated for use in a non-Hague country or an Apostille for countries party to the Hague convention abolishing the need for embassy legalization
  • Submitting your notarized documents (i.e., Powers of Attorney, Secretary’s Certificate, etc.) to the Secretary of State for authentication/apostille
  • Hand delivering your state authenticated documents to the U.S. Department of State for federal authentication
  • Retrieving certified copies from the U.S. Patent and Trademark office for further authentication/apostille by the U.S. Department of State
  • Translation services for documents, when required by embassies
  • Personal submission of your duly authenticated documents to the embassies in Washington DC and/or Consulate offices nationwide for legalization

For assistance with any of these services, contact our team at

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It is crunch time!

It’s that time of year when many state and federal offices experience some slowdowns in processing time. For example, the turnaround time for the Chinese Embassy in Washington, DC is now up to nine (9) business days.

Bear this in mind, if you have deadlines with completion dates of December 30th, it is better to submit your requests, as soon as possible.  Typically, during the holiday season, many embassies, local, state and federal government agencies will experience longer processing times.  Speak with your Client Services Representative today to discuss available expedited handling options.

Please note these turnaround times change rapidly and we will do our best to keep you updated on the changes as they happen.

Have a Safe and Happy Holiday.