top of page

New Jersey Residents Adopting Children Overseas

First and foremost, thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for adopting a child to love and care for. As a token of my appreciation, my charge half of my normal rate for adoption apostilles. You've probably heard the term "apostille" if you're working on an international adoption for a Hague Convention country. An apostille is a kind of authentication affixed to papers for use outside of the country by the competent authority in the state where they were issued, generally your Secretary of State's office. It is necessary for nations that are members of the 1961 Hague Convention Abolishing the Legalization Requirement for Foreign Public Documents (Hague Apostille Convention). As for countries that are not participating members of the 1961 Hague Convention, it's still doable, but there's an extra step that involves foreign embassies or consulates.

The apostille will appear on your document as a legible signature of the official's name, title, and seal of the agency, certifying it as a "true copy." The seal that has been attached to your document should never be removed. The document will be deemed invalid if you do so. Home studies, marriage certificates, divorce certificates, birth certificates, criminal background checks, references, job certification, deeds, psychiatric assessments, home study updates, and post adoption reports are all examples of adoption papers that may need to be apostilled. Please keep in mind that this isn't an exhaustive list. An apostille can also be used to verify a notary public's good standing and authority after they have notarized a document.

To be recognized by a Hague nation, a document having an Apostille from a state competent authority, such as the Indiana Secretary of State, does not require further confirmation from the US Department of State or authorization by a US Embassy or consulate abroad. Only papers signed by a US Federal official, an American Consular officer, a Military Notary, a Judge Advocate, or a foreign Consul diplomatic official registered with the State Department Office of Protocol require an apostille issued by the US Department of State. The website of the United States State Department contains general information on document authentication and apostilles.

If the intended recipient nation is not a signatory to the Hague Convention, you would simply "authenticate" or "certified" the document before sending it. To allow the document to be regarded as legitimate in that country, you can get a Certificate of Incumbency or Certificate of Authority. These certificates are for nations that are not signatories to the 1961 Hague Convention.

It is recommended that you call the New Jersey Secretary of State's office before bringing a document to them to ensure that you have included all essential information and that you are obtaining an apostille for the right sort of document. The document to be apostilled, for example, may need to be an original, notarized, and signed by an authority, or it may need to be a certified copy. The criteria may differ based on the type of document that requires authentication. A certified (notarized) English translation must accompany documents written in a foreign language. Furthermore, a document established under the jurisdiction of another state cannot be apostilled by one state (i.e. a birth certificate). For each apostille requested, you'll very certainly need to fill out a form that includes the nation for which the document is being apostilled. A modest price may be charged for each apostille. Finally, find out if apostille requests may be made in person or if they must be sent through the mail. Each state has its own set of rules, which are generally posted on the Secretary of State's website.

There is no margin for error with the Authentication or Apostille process. If mistakes are made, both your time and money will be wasted and you'll have to start all over again. If you want to look into outsourcing this part of preparing to studying abroad to someone with experience, please email me at or call 848-467-7740 to request my services or learn more.


bottom of page