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What Must I Do If A Customer Wants An Apostille?

New Hotline Resized 3

A customer has requested that I notarize a document which requires an apostille.  As a Notary, is there anything special that I need to do? — M.K., California

No, there are no special procedures that the Notary needs to follow when a document requires an apostille.  The document must be notarized by following California law. 

An apostille is issued by the Secretary of State for a document that is destined for a country that is party to the Hague Apostille convention after the notarization has been completed . The purpose of the apostille is to validate the Notary’s commission with the state so that it may be received in the country of destination.

Hotline answers are based on the laws in the state where the question originated and may not reflect the laws of other states. If in doubt, always refer to your own state statutes. – The Editors

Confronted with a tricky notarization? Unsure how to proceed? NNA members have unlimited access to our expertly trained NNA Hotline counselors to help you with all of your notarial questions. Call 1-888-876-0827, Monday through Friday, 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. PST; Saturday, 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT.


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13 Jan 2020

Sometime you you need to expand more in your answers. In this case, so how does it get taken care of? Is the customer supposed to go to some office of get the apostile? Can the notary do it for them for a fee? If the notary should direct them, to what office do they need to go?

National Notary Association

14 Jan 2020

Hello. It is normally the responsibility of the person who needs the apostille to submit a request to the appropriate agency. However, some businesses offer to submit apostille requests on behalf of customers for a fee, but please note this is not an official notarial act and it is not the Notary's responsibility to obtain an apostille for a signer. The office that issues apostilles varies depending on the state in question.

Jody Bode

13 Jan 2020

How is the apostille obtained from the CA Secretary of State? Procedure steps please. That is the main question?

National Notary Association

14 Jan 2020

Hello. Apostille requests may be submitted by mail only to the CA Secretary of State's Sacramento office or in person at either the Sacramento or the Los Angeles office. No appointments are required. Persons requesting authentication may mail or present in person the original notarized document, the appropriate fee, and a letter indicating the country of destination. For mail-in requests, an addressed return envelope (no postage required) must be included. If a mail-tracking service is used, a pre-paid airbill must be provided. Processing takes approximately six to eight business days after receipt of the request in the Sacramento office. Please see here for more details:


14 Aug 2020

Are there refresher courses available?

National Notary Association

17 Aug 2020

Hi Shae. To help us answer your question, can you please tell us what state you are commissioned in, and what type of refresher courses you are interested in?

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