Documents issued by Massachusetts MA government offices, or notarized by Massachusetts MA notary public, and which are destined for use outside of the United States need to be properly prepared for foreign use. Before we get into all the intricate details of attestation, it is important to remind your customers and vendors that documents issued within the United States and which will be used in the United States do not require apostille or authentication (exceptions apply to certain protocols).
Now, as a general rule vital records such as birth, death, marriage and divorce certificates and decrees, as well as other publicly recordable documents from the Massachusetts MA state and county offices are not to be notarized under any circumstances.
Furthermore, diplomas, transcripts and report cards from Massachusetts MA schools, colleges and Universities, are not considered publicly recordable documents and therefor require proper notarial statement.
So as we are about to figure out what it is our document needs, firstly the following needs to be identified:
- Type of document that we have
- Date of issue
- Country where the document will be used
Public documents issued by state, county, city or other government officials needs to be duly certified or exemplified. Private documents, like affidavits, POA, records, etc. need to be notarized in accordance to the notary code.
Believe it in or not, but documents do have a validity period, i.e. expiration date. Notary commission may be expiring, public official may no longer hold the office and many foreign countries deem documents issued over 6 months ago as invalid.
Now the type of authentication you should seek will also depends on the country where you will use the document. Apostille and Certificate of authentication are the two common types. Apostille goes for countries which adopted the convention on abolishing the legalization the foreign public documents, whereas the certificate authentication is for a more complex procedure known as Embassy legalization.