What's an Apostille?
An apostille is a certificate issued by a qualifying government official that completes the notarization process. They are most commonly used for the transfer of documents between countries that belong to The Hague Apostille Convention. This certification streamlines the otherwise burdensome authenticating process that needs to take place before foreign countries will accept documents.
The most common example we run into is clients who need to open a bank account in a foreign country. Wyoming's Secretary provides the articles as a PDF. Further, your country's bank may not be familiar with our government's website. Due to these factors, they will often feel most comfortable when given apostilled Articles of Organization or Incorporation to verify the company is in good standing. If we're your Wyoming registered agent, then we are happy help you obtain apostilled copies of your Article, certificate of incumbency or other filings.
Examples of documents that may require authentication for use abroad:
- Articles of Incorporation
- Articles of Organization
- Corporate Bylaws
- LLC Operating Agreement
- Power of Attorney
- Certificate of Good Standing
- Other Agreements Which Are Notarized
- Birth Certificate & Other Government Documents
Apostilles and Certificates of Authentication validate the notary’s seal and signature for acceptance in the foreign country. An Apostille only certifies the origin of the document, not the content of the document. In this way it is similar to a notary. The notary's job is not to verify the contents of a document, just that the person signing in front of them has been appropriately identified. For this reason, a notary or apostille stamp does not verify, for example, that a contract is legally enforceable or that it abides by all laws. It merely represents that the signatures on the document are legitimate and not fraudulent.
The Apostille Convention only applies to administrative and public documents. The document’s public designation is determined by the country that issues it. Additionally, if your documents receive an apostille, it is the only certification that it will need.
Ordering an Apostille
You may use the following guide or retain our services to obtain your apostille. We are familiar with the process and happy to help, but you may also do so yourself. Submit your request for an apostille to the state’s Secretary of State's office with the following information:
- Your original document that includes the Notary’s certificate.
- An explanation for why the apostille is needed.
- The document’s final destination and the country it is needed for.
- A postage-paid envelope addressed to either you or the document’s destination.
- The document processing fee.
If your documents are intended for a country that is not included in The Hague Convention, the Wyoming Secretary of State office can provide a Certificate of Authentication. This certification, however, may require additional authentication depending on its intended use. You can request Certificates of Authentication in addition to your Apostille Certificate.
You can purchase an Apostille Certificate from the Secretary of State. The normal processing for this order is 5 to 7 days. There is no expedited option available. The processing fee for your certificate is $10, plus $3 if a certified copy is required. You will receive your Apostille Certificate by mail in the envelope you included with your apostille request.
How to Receive a Certificate of Good Standing
To receive a certificate of good standing, contact the Wyoming Secretary of State’s office. Wyoming offers options to complete the process online or by mail. The process is free if done online at the Secretary of State website. By mail, the processing fee is $10. Additionally, online processing provides immediate processing, while a mail-in application will take approximately two days to complete. You will receive your certificate of good standing by mail at your business address.
Only businesses required to register with the state can receive certificates of good standing. If conducting business in a state with different requirements than your own, it is possible to get certification from that state. Find additional reading about Wyoming business licenses, Wyoming's DBA and searching for a Wyoming company here.