Category Archives: California Apostille

CA Notarization of a Foreign Language Document

Do you have a document in a foreign language that requires notarization?
California law allows a notary to notarize a document written in a foreign language even if the notary cannot read or understand it.  The notary public’s function relates to identifying the signer and witnessing the signature, not validating the contents of the document.
Despite that, there are some considerations that must be observed:

  • The notary must be able to communicate with the signer in their language.  This is a necessary requirement for all notarizations in California and it is not permissible to use a translator in lieu of direct communication between the notary and signer.  If the notary does not speak the signer’s language, the signer should be referred to a notary that does.
  • The notary must scan the document for completeness.  The notary should not notarize the document if it appears to be incomplete.
  • The notary must be able to read the notarial certificate contained in the document.  It the notary certificate is in a foreign language or the document is missing notarial verbiage, the notary must attach a certificate in the English-language.  The notary should ask the signer the nature of the document to determine if an oath should be administered.
  • The notary should be able to identify the type of document being notarized for entry in the notary public’s journal.  If the notary is unable to identify the type of document, the notary  must make an entry to that effect (e.g., “a document in the foreign language”).

California has a diverse population represented by many different ethnicities, and in the Bay area it is common to see foreign documents, many for use abroad.

Do you have a document originating in California for use abroad?  Does it require an Apostille?  Totally Notary is a Private Service Company registered with the CA Secretary of State to provide Apostille services.  Totally Notary provides 2 business day Apostille processing, securely and affordably.  Call for details today!

©2018 Totally Notary All Rights Reserved

California Apostille Service by Totally Notary

Do you need an Apostille for a document originating in California and for use abroad?  Do you need it quickly?
Totally Notary is a registered Private Service company with the California Secretary of State to provide Apostille services.

In California, Apostille requests are processed by the Secretary of State offices in Sacramento and Los Angeles.  Requests are processed by mail or in person.  Mail processing can take weeks and the commitment of time to drive to a local office and to wait in line isn’t feasible for many with busy schedules.

Let Totally Notary do the legwork for you, quickly and efficiently.

California Apostille requests are processed by Totally Notary within 2 business days of receipt (weekends and holidays excluded).
Rates include all state fees and USPS Priority Mail (2-3 day) return shipping, if needed.  Expedited overnight shipping is available for an additional $10.
If you are located near Pleasanton, CA, you may drop off your Apostille request and pick up your processed order at the Totally Notary business office, 205 Main Street, Suite J, Pleasanton, CA.

Don’t risk your sensitive documents to loss  with mail-in processing.  Once Totally Notary takes possession of your document it doesn’t leave our care until it is returned safely to you.

Apostille Rates

Rates include all state fees & USPS Priority Mail return shipping.  Expedited overnight shipping available for an additional $10.

First Document……………………………………………………………..$149.00
Each Additional Document*…………………………………………..$99.00
*Discount available for five or more documents

Steps for successful Apostille processing:

1.   Submit a scan of the document and the Apostille Order Form to Totally Notary for a complementary evaluation.
Email or Fax: (925) 271-6155.

2.   Once the document has been assessed by Totally Notary and approved for Apostille processing, mail or drop off the ORIGINAL document and the Apostille Order Form to Totally Notary at 205 Main Street, Suite J, Pleasanton, CA  94566.  Before shipping, please notify Totally Notary by text or email to expect it.  

3.   Accepted forms of payment:  Cash, money order, cashier check, PayPal and major credit cards.  Personal and Business checks will be subject to a 7 business day hold time for clearing of funds.  For faster processing, please pay by credit card.

4.   Processed orders will be available for return shipping or local pick-up within 2 business days of receipt (weekends and holidays excluded).

California Apostille Service by Totally Notary is 100% guaranteed.  If an Apostille certificate cannot be obtained, the full fee will be refunded.

Totally Notary cannot guarantee that the document destination will accept the Apostille, only that the Apostille request will be processed by the California Secretary of State according to their policies and the Hague convention.

©2017 Totally Notary All Rights Reserved

What is an Apostille?

An “apostille” is a form of authentication issued to a public document that has been signed for use in another country.
Public documents, such as  birth certificates, marriage certificates, judgments, corporate records, patents and notarized acknowledgments are frequently sent for use abroad and prior to 1961, went through a slow and costly process called legalisation.  Legalisation involves authentication in the originating country as well as the Embassy or Consulate of the destination country.

To streamline the process, a treaty, The Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents was drafted on October 5, 1961 at the Hague Conference on Private International Law.

It allows participating countries to designate Competent Authorities to authenticate public documents in the country of origin and eliminates the need for additional authentication provided the document is for use in another participating country.

The country of destination determines if the document is authenticated with an apostille or requires certification through legalisation.  A list of countries that accept apostille is here.

As a participating country, the United States has three levels of Competent Authority;  Federal, U.S. Courts, and State.
The origin of the document determines which level authenticates it.

Federal authentications are conducted through the U.S. Department of State Authentications office.  This agency authenticates Federal executive branch documents such as FBI background checks.

U.S. Court  authentications  can be conducted by the Clerks and Deputy Clerks of the Federal Courts, or as an alternative, the U.S. Department of Justice can authenticate the seal of the Federal court and then the U.S. Department of State Authentications Office will place an apostille over that seal.

State authentication is most often conducted by the Secretary of State office, as it is in California.
There are two regional offices for the California Secretary of State:  Sacramento and Los Angeles.

The Secretary of State authenticates signatures only on documents issued in the State of California signed by a notary public or the following public officials and their deputies:

  • County Clerks or Recorders
  • Court Administrators of the Superior Court
  • Executive Clerks of the Superior Court
  • Officers whose authority is not limited to any particular county
  • Executive Officers of the Superior Court
  • Judges of the Superior Court
  • State Officials

The process of obtaining an apostille is relatively simple.  It can be done by mail or in person.
If by mail, the original document in question is submitted to the appropriate competent authority with applicable fees and return postage, and after authentication, the document and apostille certificate is returned to the sender.
Walk-in service is available at the Sacramento and Los Angeles offices Monday – Friday from 8:00am – 4:30pm on a first come, first serve basis.

Do you have urgent need for an apostille?
Totally Notary now provides expedited apostille document service.  Call for details!

©2015 Totally Notary All Rights Reserved