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Apostille vs. Certificate Authentication: What's the Difference?

Updated: May 23

Welcome to Astrid Signed -n- Sealed Notary, your trusted notary service specializing in Apostille or Certificate Services nationwide. Today, we’re diving deep into the difference between an Apostille and Certificate Authentication. Whether you're handling international documents or ensuring the authenticity of your paperwork, understanding these terms is crucial.

What is an Apostille?

An Apostille is a form of authentication issued to documents for use in countries that are members of the Hague Apostille Convention. This international treaty streamlines the process of verifying documents across borders.

  • Purpose: Simplifies document validation between countries.

  • Usage: Commonly used for birth certificates, marriage licenses, and business documents.

  • Process: Involves certifying the authenticity of signatures, stamps, or seals on public documents.

What is Certificate Authentication?

Certificate Authentication, on the other hand, is a process used for countries that are not part of the Hague Convention. This method involves a series of verifications to ensure a document is legitimate.

  • Purpose: Ensures document authenticity for non-Hague Convention countries.

  • Usage: Often required for educational diplomas, affidavits, and legal documents.

  • Process: Typically involves notarization, state-level certification, and embassy legalization.

Key Differences

  • Jurisdiction:

  • Apostille: For Hague Convention member countries.

  • Certificate Authentication: For non-Hague Convention countries.

  • Complexity:

  • Apostille: Generally quicker and simpler.

  • Certificate Authentication: More steps and often more time-consuming.

  • Recognition:

  • Apostille: Universally accepted by member countries.

  • Certificate Authentication: Valid only in the specified country of use.

How to Obtain an Apostille Authentication?

  1. Document Preparation: Ensure your document is notarized by your state notary public.

  2. Submission: Submit the notarized document to your Secretary of State.

  3. Processing Time: Typically takes a few days to a week.

  4. Collection: Receive your apostilled document ready for international use.

How to Obtain Certificate Authentication in Greenville, SC

  1. Notarization: Have your document notarized by your local notary.

  2. State Certification: Submit to the Secretary of State for certification.

  3. Federal Authentication: If required, send to the U.S. Department of State.

  4. Embassy Legalization: Finally, submit the document to the relevant embassy or consulate.

Why Choose Astrid Signed -n- Sealed Notary?

  • Expertise: Decades of experience in handling both Apostille and Certificate Authentication.

  • Customer Service: Personalized service to guide you through the process smoothly & effortless.


Understanding the difference between Apostille and Certificate Authentication is crucial for anyone dealing with international documents. At Astrid Signed -n- Sealed Notary, we simplify this process for you and service all 50 States and work closely with all embassies and consulates in the United States. Contact us today to ensure your documents are correctly authenticated for global use.

Call to Action: Need an Apostille or Certificate Authentication? Visit Astrid Signed -n- Sealed Notary in Greenville, SC, or call us at (864) 408-7967 to schedule your appointment today!

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