Costa Rica is now accepting apostilles to authenticate notarized documents exchanged with other countries, making it easier for U.S. companies and individuals to do business in the Central American nation. Costa Rica is part of the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement, which was established in 2004, and it began acceptingapostilles on December 14. In 2010, trade between the U.S. and Costa Rica totaled $13.9 billion. An apostille is a certificate that verifies the authenticity of a Notary seal and signature and came into being in 1961 through a multi-national treaty known as the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement for Legalization of Foreign Public Documents. Currently, 102 nations participate in the Hague Convention. In the U.S., apostilles are generally issued by each state’s Notary regulating authority, usually the Secretary of State’s office, and are requested by the document signer. Apostilles can be required for any number of documents, such as immigration and adoption forms, real estate contracts and trade-related documents.