An Apostille Certificate is a square approximately 9cm long (approximately 4 inches) that is usually stamped onto the reverse side of a document (e.g. diploma or its true copy) that needs to be legalized i.e. authenticated.
The Apostille Certificate is formatted into numbered fields that contain certified data that the receiving country (e.g. the Russian Federation) can identify regardless of the official language of the issuing country. It is also dated, numbered, registered and impressed with the official seal of the government department issuing it.
The Certificate's official issue and registration may be verified without difficulty by means of a simple request for information addressed to the country's issuing government department from where it originated.
If the certified document consists of more than one page, all pages are bound together into a single bundle and tied firmly with green ribbon or tape, with the Certificate attached on a separate sheet of paper.
How to Obtain an Apostille Certificate
Though the prescription for how to obtain an Apostille Certificate (also referred to as legalizing a document) is basically the same regardless of the country in which the Apostille certificate is obtained, the manner in which an Apostille Certificate is obtained can varies greatly from country to country.
In order to legalize a document (e.g. diploma and transcript), the documents must first be notarized and then once notarized; the documents must then be sent off to receive an Apostille Certificate.
For the purpose of this section, the word 'diploma'; refers to a university diploma. Legalizing a certificate issued by other authorities would require a similar procedure.
Obtaining an Apostille Certificate in the USA
In order to Apostille a university diploma and accompanying transcript in the United States, the diploma and transcript must first be notarized by the university that issued the diploma and transcript. Though you can have your original diploma and transcript notarized at the university you attended, for convenience it is recommended that you obtain a notarized copy of your diploma and transcript. Every college and university has a notary. It is therefore an easy procedure getting your diploma and transcript notarized. Normally, the university registrar will be able to handle this for you. In some cases e.g. you attended a small university; the registrar may not understand what you are requesting. If s/he does not, ask to speak with the university’s notary; s/he will understand what needs to be done.
Once your diploma and transcript have been notarized, they must then be sent to the Secretary of State of the state in which the documents were notarized for an Apostille Certificate. By way of example, if you attended a university in Minnesota, your diploma and transcript must be notarized by the university in Minnesota and then legalized (receive an Apostille Certificate) by the Secretary of State of Minnesota. You cannot legalize a diploma and transcript in any other state other than the one in which the university is located. Once your diploma and transcript have been legalized, you should bring them with you to Russia (along with the originals). After arrival, you will need to give the apostilled copies to Language Link (you keep the originals).
If you have not yet received your diploma but will do so before your employment with Language Link, please speak with your registrar who will be able to suggest how the university can assist in this matter
As procedures and fees vary slightly from state to state, we suggest you search the information via Internet so as to become familiar with the requirements and particulars of the requirements first.
Obtaining an Apostille Certificate in the United Kingdom
In order to Apostille a university diploma and transcript in the UK, the overall procedure is the same as in the US. Your diploma and transcript must first be notarized and then sent off for an Apostille Certificate. That said, your diploma and transcript can be notarized by any notary public or practicing solicitor in the UK. It is recommended that you compare prices for this service as they can vary greatly in the UK. It is likewise suggested that you call ahead and enquire as to what personal documents you may need to have with you so as to verify your identity and address. As a rule of thumb, the original diploma and transcript and a copy of the diploma and transcript, some form of photo ID (e.g. passport) and proof of address (e.g. utility bill) will be needed.
Once your diploma and transcript have been notarized, the documents should be sent off for legalization (an Apostille certificate). To obtain an Apostille Certificate in the UK, it is necessary to send the notarized diploma and transcript to the following agency and address:
- The Legalisation Office
- Norfolk House (West)
- 437 Silbury Boulevard
- Milton Keynes
- MK9 2AH
Along with your notarised diploma and transcript, it is also necessary to send the following:
- a cover letter with your name, address, telephone number, email address, fax number (if you have one) and a brief message saying what documents need to be legalized and the country that the document will be used in i.e. the Russian Federation. Also state what address the documents need to be sent to.
- the correct payment i.e. postal order (made out to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office), a company cheque (no personal cheques will be accepted), an ePayment receipt (or the confirmation email).
- a stamped addressed envelope with your application. If you have included the £6 postage in your fee, a self addressed return envelope without any postage will be sufficient. The Legalisation Office may request additional funding if the postage costs exceeds £6 or if the postage has not been covered in the fee or on the envelope.
The average turn around time for straightforward postal applications is normally within 48 hours though times can be longer.
For more information on legalizing documents e.g. diplomas in the UK, please visit the Foreign and Common Office website.
Obtaining an Apostille Certificate in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland
For information on how to obtain an Apostille Certificate in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland, please go to the appropriate website.