Apostilles are affixed by Competent Authorities designated by the government of a state which is party to the convention. A list of these authorities is maintained by the Hague Conference on Private International Law. Examples of designated authorities are embassies, ministries, courts or local Governments. For example, in the United States, the Secretary of State of each state and his or her deputies are usually competent authorities. In the United Kingdom all apostilles are issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
To be eligible for an apostille, a document must first be issued or certified by an officer recognized by the authority that will issue the apostille. Documents that have been notarized are eligible for apostilles. Likewise, courts in the Netherlands are eligible to place an apostille on all municipal civil status documents directly.
In some cases, intermediate certifications may be required in the country in which the document originates before it is eligible for an apostille.
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