The Hague Convention of October 5, 1961 replaced the time consuming and often costly processes of a full legalization and only affects those countries that have agreed to standard “Hague Convention” requirements and is considered a “member state”.

Public Documents

The Convention applies to public documents which are certified or notarized by an authority or official in North Carolina. Examples of public documents for which Apostilles are issued include:
  • Academic diplomas issued by public institutions
  • Birth certificates
  • Court rulings
  • Death certificates
  • Extracts from commercial registrars and other registers
  • Marriage certificates
  • Notarial acts
The Convention does not apply to documents executed by diplomatic or consular agents nor to administrative documents dealing directly with commercial or customs operations (e.g., certificates of origin or import or export licenses).

Obtaining the Apostille

Once an Apostille is obtained, the document may be delivered directly to the country of intended use and bypass further certification from the US Department of State.

Step 1: Translation

If the document is in a language other than English, you will need to have a certified or notarized translation of the document into English.

Step 2: Execution of Documents

Appear before a notary public for execution of  documents. Documents must be notarized by a North Carolina notary public unless they were issued by 1 of the following officials:
  • Clerk of Superior Court
  • North Carolina Attorney General’s Office
  • North Carolina Department of Agriculture
  • North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
  • North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (Raleigh, North Carolina office only)
  • North Carolina Legislative Services
  • North Carolina Vital Records
  • Register of Deeds
Documents (transcripts, report cards, diplomas, etc.) issued by a North Carolina university, college, community college or high school must be notarized by a North Carolina notary public. A school seal applied to the document by the school registrar is not acceptable. All North Carolina agency documents must be certified since April 1, 2000.

Requesting an Apostille using a copy of a document will require a notarized affidavit saying that the document is a true copy of the original. For more information view our True Copy Affidavit Sample (PDF).

Step 3: Submitting Documents

Submit documents to the North Carolina Authentications Office with the following:
Should you want the documents to be directed to a third party, please include that information on the cover letter and address the prepaid envelope to the third party. Any documents received without a prepaid return envelope will be delivered by regular mail to a United States address.

Note: A prepaid courier label is not a handwritten or typed label with account information. A prepaid courier label is obtained online and paid for at the time you print the barcoded label.

Step 4: Paying the Fee

The processing fee is $10 (US currency) per document. For adoptions only, the processing fee for a duplicate original is $5 (US currency) when requested at the same time. Make payment to the “North Carolina Secretary of State.”

Step 5: Submitting to the Country

The document requires no further authentication by the US Department of State and may be submitted to the country of intended use.

More Information

Any questions may be directed to the Secretary of State’s office at 919-807-2140, or you may view the Frequently Asked Questions (PDF) document.