New California “Apostille” Causes CA-China Rift


“California disasters” are typically related to earthquakes, wildfires and mudslides, but the California Secretary of State has created a man-made disaster with a recent decision. Starting on January 1, 2017, they combined the CA Apostille (used for Apostille countries) and the Certification Certificate (used for non-apostille countries) into one certificate…and called it an “apostille” of all things! There is some confusing footnote on the new certificate that says “this certificate does not constitute an Apostille when it is presented to a country which is not a member of the Hague Convention,” which as clear as something Trump’s Kellyanne Conway or Sean Spicer would say.

As a result, we now have Washington DC’s Chinese Embassy in an international document dispute and stalemate with California’s Secretary of State over the new certificate as the embassy will not accept this revised certificate titled “Apostille,” since they are not an apostille country. Apostille companies dealing with Washington DC’s Chinese Embassy have documents piling up in their offices. California should come to their senses and quickly revise the form to more clearly represent an Apostille/Certification combo document. And maybe the California government could spend a little more time thinking of the possible consequences of their actions and getting some feedback from companies and government agencies that accept the certificate before doing something like this again.

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Whether you need a Power of Attorney notarized and apostilled with a California Apostille for use in another country or a CA prenup agreement signed and notarized or have any other type of legal document for notarization, apostilles or authentications, we can help you.  We also have worked with a number of celebrities and we always keep the names and the circumstances completely confidential.

We Are Ready to Help Customers in Beverly Hills, CA

beverly-hills-ca apostille agents la los angeles

If you live or work in Beverly Hills, CA and need California apostilles for your business or personal documents, California Apostille Agents can help you.

Give us a call at 213-999-4176 or email us at caapostilleagents@gmail.com and check out our website at www.caapostilleagents.com. We have extensive experience in obtaining California apostilles and know all the ins and outs of making sure your document gets apostilled properly.

NEW 2015 CA NOTARY DISCLAIMER LAW AFFECTS DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED TO SOS

CA ack clarification boxThe California Legislature passed a new law that adds a mandatory disclaimer to all notarizations executed after January 1, 2015. The new disclaimer text box (left) must be displayed at the top of all notarizations executed in California. Any notarizations that take place in California without this disclaimer can be rejected as an invalid notarization, especially when presented to the CA Secretary of State for an apostille as they are scrutinizing your documents for exactly this type of detail.

Legislators probably added more problems than they solved with this mandatory text addition. This has made it more difficult to be able to notarize/stamp the document on the same page as the signature, which is often requested by the receiving authority, as there is often not enough room for an additional box of text directly above wherever you have room to squeeze in your notary wording and stamps on a document. Also, organizations that do not stay up-to-date on the very latest changes by the legislators often have printed the notary wording on the document already right under the signature section and then a notary cannot notarize it, since there is no room to add the mandatory disclaimer box above it. Also, the document may be a PDF, where you can’t add anything to it at all. Then the entire notarization has to be tabled until the document can be fixed, or you have to cross out their notarization and add a current notary attachment, which makes the document look rather unprofessional. This also requires another stamp to be added to the notary bag that is already bursting with all the various stamps and forms for when it can fit above the notary section on the signature page.

There are always things you can do to make slightly vague concepts more clear–such as what a notarization actually does. But there are repercussions from making such clarifications the law and we don’t think this was the solution. We tend to doubt they consulted with any current notaries to see how it would effect the every-day notarization process. If this disclaimer was really necessary, a better solution would have been to attach a separate page with this disclaimer information behind the actual notarization page or at the end of the document, so it would not interfere with the notarization section and layout.

Federal Documents Get U.S. Apostille in DC, Not California Apostille

Many people trying to obtain apostilles for their documents don’t realize that documents such as FBI background checks or drug-related reports from the Food and Drug Administration being used in an apostille country must get US apostilles from Washington DC for their documents, not California apostilles. Here are the requirements below from the US Department of State’s website:

U.S. Department of State-Issued Apostille Requirements

Apostille related logo: US State Department logoFederally issued documents destined for use in participating Hague countries and their territories require an Apostille issued by the U.S. Department of State. Documents requiring an apostille issued by the U.S. Department of State are those which have been signed by one of the following:

— U.S. Federal Official

— an American Consular Officer

— a Military Notary, Judge Advocate (10 USC 1044a), or a foreign Consul diplomatic official registered with the State Department Office of Protocol.

Note:   All certifications must include a legible signature of the official’s name, title and seal of the agency.

Please submit a completed Request of Authentications Service DS-4194 form with all of your requests. In Section 4 of the DS-4194, the “Country of Use” please put the actual name of the country the document will be used in. This information for each document must be specified before the document(s) can be processed. The “Country of Use” is the actual country the document will be used in.

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California Apostille Agents can help you obtain US apostilles through our affiliates in Washington D.C. Please call us for a quote.

Caveat Emptor: CA Apostilles Not Accepted by All Countries

One mistake many Californians make when trying to “legalize” or authenticate an official document for foreign use is to not check whether the country they are sending the documents to is one that accepts the more streamlined CA apostille process for authenticating their document or uses the older, more archaic style of legalization or certification. The older method needs to follow many of the steps the apostille system requires but also needs to be processed or legalized at a consulate in this country (and sometime in the receiving country) and possibly the State Department in Washington D.C. as well. About 100 countries use the apostille system and a little less than 100 countries do not.

The more civilized countries, in general, typically use the apostille system. Countries that run things with a little more of an iron-fist mentality or received a low grade in the “don’t play well with others” category–like China, Iraq, Iran, or North Korea–and did not sign the Hague Convention Treaty of 1961, use this antiquated system that puts people through the ringer to get a document properly certified for use in their country.

With the older system, in addition to getting something notarized and/or certified by the county clerk , and sometimes certified by the Secretary of State as well, you get to spend a good amount of your quality time at the consulate of the country you are sending the document to. While there, you have to carefully avoid any procedural minefields, such as not making the proper amount of required copies or having the wrong type of money order.

CA apostille globe with authentication of California sealIt’s a common occurrence at one of the US Brazilian consulates for people to wait on line for an hour or two only  to find out that the consulate only accepts money orders, and, they have to be “postal money orders,” not bank or drugstore money orders. And, that’s always especially good to find out when it’s a US Federal Holiday and the post office is closed that day…so you have to come back on another day and start all over. They also have miniscule 2″ x 3″ cards pasted in hard-to-see areas that announce that “no cell phone are permitted” and the administrators, straight out of the movie Midnight Express, relish the opportunity to chastise anyone breaking their rule. Even more comical, is that some rooms at this consulate have no signs about cell phones being prohibited and you are supposed to know this by being psychic.

If you want to confirm whether you will be spared this kind of abuse and whether the country you need to send your documents to uses the apostille system instead, click on this link: Apostille countries. Of course, just to be fair, there are some very nice consulates, usually the smaller ones, that do not make a sport of ruining your day.

 

*Documents that need to go through some type of legalization process usually are public or official documents such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, powers of attorney, certificates of incorporation and notarized copies of affidavits related to IDs or bank statements that are used to corroborate some aspect of your identity or personal or financial information about you. By validating the signatures of the public officials included in the documents, the various government seals give the receiving authority of your documents some reassurance that the documents are valid (even though their signoffs don’t guarantee the accuracy of the contents of the document).

**The precise legalization path that documents being apostilled need to take varies by document type. For example, birth certificates don’t get notarized, while powers of attorney documents do. Birth certificates typically need to be certified by a county clerk, while notarized powers of attorney can usually be authenticated by a country clerk or a Secretary of State.  It can be beneficial to use an apostille service with some expertise in this area to determine the precise path your document needs to take.

The Critical First Step in Getting a California Apostille

To save yourself a lot of time and money when ordering a birth certificate, marriage certificate or death certificate that you will be using to obtain a California apostille, make sure you order it from the county clerk and ask for a certified copy “for an apostille.” Many people try to use the wrong version of the birth, marriage or death certificate, one that is not signed by the County Clerk, and it ends up being rejected and you have to start from scratch.

If you have a non-vital record (not a birth, marriage or death certificate) being apostilled , it will first need to be notarized by a California notary (except for Certificates of Incorporation) before it can be authenticated by the CA Secretary of State.

Contact California Apostille Agents at caapostilleagents@gmail.com or 310-526-8419 once you have your certificate ready and we can help you with the rest, especially if you are in a rush.

 

 

CA Secretary of State Makes Big Change in LA Office

We noticed a big announcement on the California Secretary of State’s website that took affect on February 1, 2012: That the Los Angeles regional office of the Secretary of State can now authenticate notaries’ signatures. This is a bigger deal than it sounds, as previously when you needed a California apostille for many foreign-bound public documents, you had to travel to the County Clerk where the notary that notarized your document was commissioned (which is indicated on the notary’s stamp).

For Los Angeles residents and businesses, that meant traveling to Norwalk, CA to the Los Angeles County Clerk to get an LA notary’s signature authenticated or your local county clerk in the county where the notary is commissioned (unless ordering by the more time-consuming mail or online method). Norwalk is about 17 miles away from the Secretary of State’s office in downtown Los Angeles, the last step in the apostille process.

Now the notary authentication (of the notary’s signature on notarized documents) and the apostille processing can all be done at the Los Angeles Regional Office of the Secretary of State…with one exception: If the receiving authority still wants the County Clerk to be the official authenticating the notary’s signature. Then you would still need to go there before it is processed at the Secretary of State. It  makes no sense why the receiving authority would still require that a county clerk authenticate the notary’s signature when the Secretary of State is a higher level of authentication…but that’s the often illogical world of dealing with authenticating documents.

If the receiving authority is fine with the Secretary of State authenticating the notary’s signature, then this has the potential to save an enormous amount of time and money for apostille customers and companies. Previously, the main Sacramento Secretary of State office was the only office to authenticate all notary signatures in one location.

People still definitely need to make a trip to Norwalk county clerk or another CA county clerk (unless obtaining by mail or online) when getting a  CA birth certificate, marriage or death certificate apostilled, as a “certified” birth, marriage or death certificate has to first be obtained there. People who receive their certified certificates from the County Clerk and don’t have time to go to the Secretary of State as well can contact California Apostille Agents to handle that part of the process for them (at 310-995-8225).

Please click here Take Me to Your Home Page to obtain details on our service and what details we will need from you.

California Apostilles: Learning Process the Hard Way

As the owner of the California apostille processing and expediting company, California Apostille Agents, I get a lot of opportunities to watch people submit their documents to the California Secretary of State to try to obtain a California apostille for their foreign-bound documents. I am amazed by the number of people who do not have the proper instructions and necessary steps to get their documents properly processed. I have seen many people wait for long periods at the Secretary of State’s office after traveling far distances to be told that the document that are presenting “is not ready yet.”

In the case of people who go the regional office of the Secretary of State’s office in Los Angeles, people are often told they either need to first go to the County Clerk in Norwalk, CA, which is a good 18 miles away, to get a “certified” birth certificate (or marriage or death certificate).  Then, they can have to return to the Secretary of State’s office to finish the birth certificate apostille process. Depending on what time of day it is, there is a good likelihood that that person will not be able to get to Norwalk and back the Secretary of State’s office the same day and may have to take off another day of work to get the document processed…not to mention all the extra gas and time expended.

Or, if not a vital record like a birth certificate, the apostille customer may not have notarized their document and will have to locate a notarypublic and then return to the Secretary of State’s office for notary authentication and the apostille.

Consumers Need to Be Aware of All the Steps

With the way California is so spread out, consumers need to find out all the steps involved in this process to avoid learning the hard way that they missed a step. You can give California Apostille Agents a call at 310-995-8225 to discuss your apostille project or you can review the CA Secretary of State website information at  http://www.sos.ca.gov/business/notary/authentication.htm. In the case of birth certificates, marriage certificates, and death certificates, they need to be certified by a California County Clerk, with a county clerk signature. Typically, that means ordering a completely new birth, marriage or death certificate, as the one you currently have is likely not certified unless you asked for it specifically and told them it was for an apostille. For most other documents needing a California apostille, the document needs to be notarized or there needs to be some type of statement attached or written on the document that can be signed in front of the notary. Then this notary signature needs to be authenticated (in LA, it can be done by the Secretary of State regional office).

Getting Bad Information about Going Directly to CA Secretary of State’s Office

One of the other main causes for this confusion is that people are often given bad information from the non-governmental organization or company that requests the apostille in the first place. These organizations often advise people to go directly to the Secretary of State’s office to pick up their apostille, and leave out critical earlier steps.

To avoid having any problems with getting an apostille for your birth, marriage or death certificate documents, you can contact California Apostille Agents. Only you can order the certified birth, marriage or death certificate from the County Clerk’s office. But, we can take it from there once we receive the county clerk-certified documents from you. Call us at 310-995-8225 or email us at caapostilleagents@gmail.com

 

 

If you ever need a NY Notary or NY Apostille, call 917-693.3692.