Hague Convention of 5 October 1961
Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents
The Hague Convention of October 5, 1961 replaced the time consuming and often costly processes of a full legalization. It only affects those countries that have agreed to standard “Hague Convention” requirements and are considered “member states
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: birth, marriage and death certificates; extracts from commercial registrars and other registers; court rulings; notarial acts; academic diplomas issued by public institutions, etc.
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).(Hague Convention)
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.
Process for Obtaining Apostille
Document Needs to be in English
Obtain a certified or notarized English translation of the document if the document is in a language other than English.
Notarization of Document
Appear before a North Carolina Notary Public to sign the document;
Obtain a certified copy which is notarized by the issuing entity (i.e., diploma, etc.);
If necessary, you may use a "True Copy" affidavit for North Carolina documents and obtain a notary acknowledgment of your signature;
Documents from the following entities will not need to be notarized:.
- Register of Deeds
- Clerk of Superior Courts
- NC Department of Agriculture
- NC Department of Health and Human Services
- NC Vital Records
- NC Department of Motor Vehicles (Raleigh, NC office ONLY)
- NC Attorney General's Office
- NC Legislative Services
School Diploma or Transcripts
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.
True Copy Affidavit
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. A "true copy" affidavit sample can be found on the "Cover Letters & Templates" page.
Please note: All North Carolina agency documents must be certified since April 1, 2000.
Submission of Documents
Payment in form of money order or check
The original document(s) with all certifications attached
A return pre-paid envelope or carrier label (see Delivery Policy on Authentications Home Page).
Documents may be directed on to a third party as a convenience. Please include that information on the cover letter and address the pre-paid envelope to the third party.
Any documents received without a pre-paid return envelope will be delivered by regular mail to a United States address. Note: A pre-paid courier label is not a handwritten or typed label with account information. A pre-paid courier label is obtained online and paid for at the time you print the bar-coded label.
$10.00 (US currency) per document.
Adoptions only processing fee for a duplicate original is $5.00 (US currency) when requested at the same time.
Payment is made to the "NC Secretary of State. "
Getting Documents To and From Us
Mail or deliver the documents in person to the address at the bottom of the main Authentication webpage. A detailed schedule is available on the “Getting Documents to and from Us” page.
Emergencies can happen. Please review the "Turn Around Times." page. There is an option for same or next day documents if you can bring them into the office in Raleigh.
North Carolina General Statutes
To obtain a certified copy of a North Carolina General Statute, contact the Revisor of Statutes at 919-733-6660. Please note that the Revisor does not issue vital records, certificates of authentication, or apostilles.
Contact Vital Records to obtain marriage, birth or death certificates. Vital Records telephone number is (919) 733-3526. They will accept credit/charge cards. You may also be able to order the document online at North Carolina Vital Records Expedited Online Orders.