Obtaining Certified Copies of Your Documents Is Frustrating Experience in CA and Most States

 

Every day in California (and all over the rest of the US), thousands of people are asked to obtain a “certified copy” of their passport or drivers license (as proof of their identity) or a utility bill (as proof of their address) by having it “certified or notarized” by a CA notary public or other state notary. These certified copies are typically needed for business or government domestic or international transactions. These requests often come from other countries outside the US where this request is commonplace.

Unfortunately, almost all US states, including California, do not allow notaries do carry out this much-needed task and this policy creates a great deal of chaos. The notary has to explain to the person requesting it that they can have the person on the copied document make and sign a self-attesting statement that the copy is a true and correct photocopy (using the official form shown to the left) and then the notary can notarize that statement and signature.The notary cannot make the statement themselves that it is a true photocopy or true copy.  The signer will usually want to check with the receiving authority that they will accept this alternate method. The lawyers and bankers from the other countries often cannot understand why this is a such a problem here when they do it every day in their country for a multitude of customers. The receiving authority usually agrees to it as they don’t really have much choice, but it is quite a hassle and can be quite time-consuming to resolve. These notarized documents also usually require a CA apostille when being sent to another country (or state dept certification if not going to an apostille country), when notarized by a CA notary.

This then begs the question, why can’t CA notaries and other state’s notaries be given the authority to compare a copy and an original and certify that it is a true copy? Notaries are public officials sworn to take oaths of signers and acknowledgements and are given a great deal of responsibility to identify signers. Why couldn’t they be given the added responsibility to carry out this task? There is a giant vacuum in this area as thousands of organization around the world need these certified copies for a large variety of transactions and, yet, there is no one designated to carry out this much-needed task in most states in the US. It’s time US or state government officials stepped up and instilled some common sense into this broken system and made this right.

 

Bolivia Becomes Apostille Country in 2018

Flag for BoliviaAs of May 27, 2018, Bolivia joined the Apostille Convention to help reduce the paperwork and bureaucracy of legalizing documents for use in that country. We can now provide a California apostille for your foreign-bound documents in a 2-step process (notarization and apostille at the CA State Department without the need to visit the Bolivian Consulate).

 

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.

Notarizations and Apostilles for Hollywood, West Hollywood and North Hollywood just an email or phone call away

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.