The Complete Guide to Obtaining a Columbia Apostille
If you need to get a document like a birth certificate in Colombia, or a diploma legalized for use there, you’ll likely need an apostille certificate. An apostille is a type of authentication stamp that makes a document valid for use abroad.
Getting an apostille can seem complicated, but this guide will walk you through the process step-by-step. By the end, obtaining an apostille certificate for Colombia will feel like a breeze!
What is an Apostille?
First things first – what exactly is an apostille? An apostille is a certification that authenticates a document for use internationally. It verifies the origin of a public document so it can be legally used in countries that are members of the Hague Apostille Convention. Colombia joined the convention in 2014, so most U.S. documents need an apostille stamp to be valid there.’
An apostille certifies the authenticity of the signature, the capacity of the signer, and the seal/stamp on a public document. With an apostille, officials in Colombia can verify that your document is legit and issued in the United States.
Why Do You Need an Apostille for Colombia?
Colombia requires an apostille certificate for all U.S. public documents before they can be used for legal purposes there. This includes documents like:
● Birth certificates
● Marriage certificates
● Divorce decrees
● Death certificates
● Diplomas and transcripts
● FBI background checks
● Patents or notarized documents
The Colombian authorities need to verify these documents were issued in the U.S. That’s where the apostille comes in – it legally authenticates the document for use in Colombia.
Where to Get an Apostille for Colombia
Only a select few authorities can issue apostille certificates in the United States. The U.S. Department of State gives this power to designated officials in each state.
To get a document apostilled for Colombia, you’ll need to track down the proper authority in the state your document was issued. Here are the officials authorized to apostille documents for the Colombian government:
● If your document is from Alabama, the Secretary of State can apostille it.
● For Alaska, the Lieutenant Governor issues apostilles.
● Arizona’s Secretary of State handles apostilles.
● In Arkansas, the Secretary of State apostilles state records. County records go through the County Clerk.
And so on for every U.S. state and territory. The process varies slightly between states, but the basics are the same. You’ll submit your original document, pay a fee, and get back the sealed apostille.
How to Get a Colombian Birth Certificate Apostilled?
One of the most commonly apostilled records is the birth certificate. Here’s a quick rundown of how to get your birth certificate apostilled for use in Colombia:
- Get a certified copy of your birth certificate from the vital records office in your birth state. Make sure it has a raised seal or stamp.
- Check your state’s requirements in case you need to fill out any special forms. Some states have apostille request forms.
- Bring your birth certificate to the approved authority (usually the Secretary of State). Be ready to pay the apostille fee.
- The authority will verify your birth certificate, sign the apostille, affix their seal, and attach the apostille to your document.
- You now have a birth certificate with a valid apostille for Colombia!
How Long Does It Take to Get an Apostille for Colombia?
It usually takes around 1-2 weeks to get your apostille, depending on how long the processing takes with your state authority. Planning ahead is key, so don’t wait until the last minute!
For faster processing, some states offer expedited apostille services for an additional fee. You can get your document back in as little as 1-2 business days with expedited service.
Other states like New York allow walk-in apostille requests at certain locations. If you need your apostille right away, check if your state has expedited or walk-in options. Just be prepared to pay extra!
How Much Does an Apostille for Colombia Cost?
The cost of an apostille varies by state, ranging from $5-$25 per document. On top of the apostille fee, you may need to pay for:
● The certified copy of your document (typically $10-$30)
● Special state forms or fees
● Expedited processing for faster service
● Overnight shipping to send your apostilled document back
We recommend that you call your state authority to get accurate apostille pricing. Budget $50-$100 total just in case.
How to Get an FBI Background Check Apostilled for Colombia
Colombia requires FBI background checks for certain visas and residency applications. Luckily, getting your FBI check apostilled is pretty straightforward:
- Order your FBI background check through the FBI channeler website. Make sure to request an original copy.
- When you get your original FBI report back in the mail, make a high-quality photocopy.
- Send the photocopy to the U.S. Department of State in California to be apostilled. They handle FBI checks for all states.
- In around 10 business days, the Department of State will mail your FBI check back with the apostille seal.
Simple as that! Just don’t open the original FBI envelope until Colombian authorities need to see the report. The apostille refers specifically to that sealed document.
How to Use Your Apostilled Document in Colombia
Once you have your apostilled birth certificate, diploma, or other document, it’s valid for use anywhere in Colombia! Some examples include:
● Applying for a Colombia marriage certificate or divorce as a foreigner
● Getting a Colombian driver’s license
● Enrolling your child in a Colombian school or university
● Applying for a Colombian work or residence visa
You’ll need to show the original apostilled document in most cases. Always keep it in a safe place in case you need it again later!
Other FAQs about Apostilles for Colombia:
How long is an apostille for Colombia valid?
An apostille has no expiration date and you can use it indefinitely in Columbia
Does Colombia accept electronic apostilles?
No, Colombia only accepts original hard copy apostilles. Many U.S. states don’t issue e-apostilles at all.
Does Colombia require apostilles to be notarized?
No extra notarization is needed – the apostille is sufficient on its own!
In Conclusion: You’re Ready for Your Colombia Apostille!
And that’s the scoop on getting U.S. documents apostilled for use in Colombia! Locate the right authority for apostille processing based on your state. Submit your document with the proper forms and fees. Then you’ll get back your certified document with an apostille seal, valid forever in Colombia.
With your apostilled birth certificate, diploma, FBI check, or other document in hand, you’re ready to go! Getting your apostille may sound complicated, but following this guide will make the process a breeze. Now your document can smoothly sail through Colombian validation thanks to its official apostille stamp.
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