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”.

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). (www.hcch.net)

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.

1. 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.

2. Appear before a Notary Public for execution of the document(s): Documents must be notarized by a North Carolina Notary Public unless they were issued by one of the following officials:

  • Register of Deeds
  • Clerk of Superior Court
  • 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

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.

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 under the “Sample Documents” link on the Authentications Home page.

Please note: All North Carolina agency documents must be certified since April 1, 2000.

3. Submit documents to the NC Authentications Office with a cover letter, money order or check, the original document(s) with all certifications attached and a return pre-paid envelope or carrier label (see New Overnight Delivery Policy on Authentications Home Page). Should you want the documents to be directed to a third party, please include that information on the cover letter 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.

4. The processing fee is $10.00 (US currency) per document. For adoptions only, the processing fee for a duplicate original is $5.00 (US currency) when requested at the same time.

5. Make payment to the “NC Secretary of State.”

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

7. If you have questions, please read the Frequently Asked Questions Page linked on the website before calling this office at 919-807-2140.

Notes:
  • Click here for cover letter
  • 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.
  • For certified copies of NC Statutes contact the Reviser of Statutes at 919-733-2578.