Legalization & Apostille

Meeting your cross-border document legalization needs

Legalization & Apostille for Exporters

In a globalized world, the movement of commercial and legal documents across international borders has become common in international business. From Certificates of Origin, corporate contracts, agency agreements, health certificates, Certificates of Free Sale, government documents, and many more, the requirement for legalization is often essential for their legal acceptance in a foreign country. To recognize documents in the legal system of another country, people/organizations legalize the documents.

The legalization process takes two basic forms. 1) Embassy Legalization, a multi-step process culminating in authentication by an Embassy or Consulate in the United States, and 2) Apostille, a much more simplified process (basically, Authentication by the U.S. or local state Department of State). The Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of [Embassy] Legalization of Foreign Public Documents (sometimes called the Hague Apostille Convention) governs Apostilles. The United States has been a signatory of this international treaty since 1980. Over 125 countries (with many territories also included) out of the 193 member countries of the United Nations have ratified the Hague Apostille Convention. While the Apostille process is generally fairly straightforward, those countries that have not ratified the Hague Apostille Convention require legalization by a more complicated Embassy Legalization process.

General types of documents that may require Legalization for business purposes

There are several categories of documents that may require legalization. Please note that the AWTCC specializes in only business-related Commercial, Corporate, and Government-Issued documents.

1. Commercial documents: these are documents used to support the movement of goods and clearance through Customs across national borders. The most common of these are Certificates of Origin and Commercial Invoices.

2. Corporate Documents: this refers to documents issued by a company entity, including corporations, LLCs, partnerships, and registered trade names. While this could include a virtually unlimited number of documents, the most common would include Agent Authorizations, Analysis Certificates, Certificates of Conformity, Certificates of Free Sale, GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) Certificates, Health, Veterinary or Phytosanitary Certificates (privately issued), Ingredient Lists, Manufacturer Authorizations, and many others.

3. Government-Issued Business-Related Documents: these are any documents issued directly by a government entity at a local, state, or Federal level. Documents would include FDA Certificates, Patent and Trademark Registrations, Health, Veterinary or Phytosanitary Certificates (government entity issued), EPA documents, and many others.

4. Civil and Personal Documents: this refers to documents such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, university transcripts, licensing documents, and many others that are related to a person (rather than a business). Because we laser-focus on international business, the AWTCC does not process Civil and Personal documents for legalization. However, our service partner CIBT can assist with legalizing these documents.

When do people/organizations require Legalization?

The requirement for Legalized documents varies greatly by country, by product, and by purpose. However, the AWTCC can provide the required assistance to your shippers and can help them understand whether they require Embassy Legalization or an Apostille, and at which level of government they must issue an Apostille.

Efficient service for your overseas buyers

Your buyers want to clear Customs, fast. The legalization process frustrates you and your customer when it holds up documents. We will process your documents as quickly and efficiently as possible (some processes do take time, however, based on receiving country requirements). We provide time frames for most countries in our Resources section. Let the American World Trade Chamber take the headache out of the legalization process.

Open our Resources section for country legalization pricing and timeframes.

Schedule online meeting to discuss Legalization/Apostille

Online Certification System Account

Please note that you have to register your company with us before you are able to
start processing documents. There is never a fee to register or receive a login.