An American Expatriate, or American Expat, is an American citizen living and/or working in a country other than the United States, often temporarily and for work reasons. An American Expat can also be an individual who has relinquished their citizenship in the United States to become a citizen of another country. This article discusses the American Expat Apostille process for Americans living and/or working abroad.
American Expat Numbers
The U.S. government doesn’t keep track of how many Americans leave the U.S.; however, the most recent estimate puts the figure at nearly nine million. This figure represents a doubling of the 1999 figure, which was 4.1 million. The number of American Expats has more than doubled in the last fifteen years — a number growing more rapidly than the rate of the U.S. population itself.
After the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, many Americans said that they would leave the country, though no figures currently exist to indicate whether a significant increase has occurred.
Where American Expats Are Moving To
So where are these American Expats moving to? According to the Association of American Residents Overseas (AARO), U.S. Expats can be found in over 160 countries:
● 40% relocate to the Western hemisphere — Canada, Central, and South America.
● 26% relocate to Europe.
● 14% relocate to East Asia and the Pacific — think Australia and New Zealand as well as China and Japan.
● 14% relocate to the Middle East.
● 3% relocate to Central or South Asia.
● 3% relocate to Africa.
Apostilles For American Expats
An Apostille is a certificate that accompanies an official document to authenticate the signature of public officials on the document for use in another country. An Apostille certifies:
● The authenticity of the signature of the public official who signed the document.
● The capacity in which that public official acted at the time of signing.
● When appropriate, the identity of the seal or stamp which the document bears, such as a notary public seal.
It must be noted that an Apostille does not validate the contents of the document.
American Expat Apostilles can only be issued for documents issued in countries that are members of the 1961 Hague Apostille Convention and can only be used in countries that are also party to the Convention. If the country of destination is a “Non-Hague Country” or a country that’s not a party to the 1961 Hague Apostille Convention then Embassy Legalization must be obtained.
American Expat Apostille Process
Some of the most common documents that often require American Expat Apostilles when living and/or working abroad are birth certificates, powers of attorney, FBI background checks, academic records, Social Security letters, and government pensions. It’s best to find out what documents will be requested from you prior to starting the process of obtaining an American Expat Apostille.
There are several steps involved with obtaining an American Expat Apostille while abroad. Once you have obtained a copy of your official document, the next step is to Apostille your paperwork. For this step, the document and applicable payment in U.S. dollars must be sent to the Secretary of State. If your document needs to be Authenticated through the Embassy or Consulate, they will need to be contacted and the paperwork mailed to them.
If you’re an American Expat living and/or working abroad, it’s almost certain that you will need some form of American Expat Apostille. The type of document Apostille required will depend on your particular situation abroad. When dealing with official document Apostilles it’s always best to work with a professional agency such as American Apostille & Notary Services. This will ensure that your Apostille is processed correctly the first time.