Are you looking to offer apostille services? If yes, stop looking. We’ll talk about everything you need to know about the apostille services.
Mobile notaries look for opportunities to accelerate the growth of their businesses. They can expand their business by providing apostille services. The customers tend to ask about the apostilles from the notaries. That’s why it’s best to start the apostille services for your notary business.
However, the notaries don’t have the authority to issue apostilles. Still, you can help the people guide them about all the documents required by the agencies responsible for issuing the apostille and ensure they don’t mess up any of the documents. And, you can charge for this service and earn money from it.
Before you start offering the apostille services, you have to understand all the details about the apostille. Some of the topics we’ll understand are what is an apostille, an apostille agent, how much you can charge for the apostille services, etc.
So, without further ado.
Let’s get started.
What Is an Apostille?
In today’s times, people travel from country to country frequently. They may require the documents to be signed either by the home country or the country they are staying in. These documents could range from a birth certificate to a death certificate. Many of these documents require a signature from an authorized public official or have to be notarized. One of the major issues that people face is that they can not identify the legitimacy of the notary’s signature. That’s the reason why apostille is essential.
The word apostille comes from a french word that means “certification.” Apostille is a government-issued certificate. It confirms the legitimacy of a notary public’s or any other public official’s signature. In simple words, the apostille helps validate the signature on the documents so that there is no trouble in accepting the notarization. The apostille can facilitate those countries part of the Hague Apostille Convention. And, if the country is not from the 156 countries mentioned in the Hague convention, they may have to get some more documents from the U.S Department of State.
What Is an Apostille Agent?
An apostille agent is someone who helps the people in getting the apostilles or the authentications. But, you have to keep in mind as a notary that you’re not authorized to issue the apostilles. Only the state agency who are authorized can issue the apostille. Most of the time, it is the secretary of state’s office. The secretary of state’s office is the authorized person who can attach the apostille certificate to the document. However, the agent would guide people about many things like if you have the correct records in the right amount or not, the apostille stamp, etc.
What Does an Apostille Agent Do?
The apostille agent doesn’t only help in notarizing the signature, but they also provide a range of different services. For instance, one of the services of the apostille agent could be providing the courier services in which they will send the documents which has needs the apostilles to the desired agency. The apostille agent must be keen on doing that as it doesn’t only include one single document. The apostille must include a few more copies, like the notarized document, check to pay the processing fee, and apostille request form.
One other task the apostille agent may perform is to coordinate with the issuing agency in order to get the information regarding getting the apostille. You can help the customer by asking questions from the issuing authority and then guiding the customer accordingly. Sometimes the issuing authority might ask for a certified copy of the document, and sometimes they just need the notarized document. So, it’s always a good idea to ask the issuing authority about it. On the other hand, Notaries are prohibited from certifying copies of vital records such as birth certificates, divorce decrees, death certificates, etc.
As an apostille agent, you have to ensure that the agency, whether they’re going to require the translation of the documents, a cover page, or if the receiving country is looking for some other documents as well or not.
What Does an Apostille Look Like?
You might be wondering how does the apostille looks like. It’s nothing but a 15cms paper which is the certificate. It should be attached with the desired document, and then a seal is placed on it or an apostille stamp. The government crest is used to secure it. Usually, the certificate is pasted on the backside of the document. But, when the paper doesn’t have space on both sides, the certificate is pasted somewhere on the front, which is the most suitable location.
What Should the Apostille Agent Charge for the Services?
As you’re not obliged to provide the apostille services as a notary, you don’t have to charge a specific fee for the apostille services. The notary laws do not govern the costs which you’d charge. You have the freedom to set the fees by yourself for the apostille services that you’ll provide. However, there are a few elements that you have to keep in mind when deciding how much you’d charge:
- Count the documents you have to send for processing and the state fees to perform that task.
- To which issuing agency do you’ve to send the documents
- Is there any kind of shipping costs for that?
- Is the customer looking for an urgent service?
Not to forget, when you’re a notary, you’d have to ensure that all the tasks not related to that, like the apostille services, have to be recorded separately. And also have to charge the customer for that because that’s not something related to the notarial acts and isn’t governed by the notary laws. If you’re looking ahead to becoming an apostille agent, let us tell you that it’s going to be exciting and profitable as well.
Benefits of Becoming an Apostille Agent
There are a lot of benefits to becoming an apostille agent. The best part about working as an apostille agent when running a notary business is that it is very related to your existing business. You don’t have to look anywhere else for the customers to offer your apostille services. Those customers whom you have offered the notary services or are going to offer the service would be interested in the apostille services. You just have to inform the client that you also provide the apostille service. Sometimes they’re not aware of those services. That’s why you’ve to ensure that you educate them about it. Once they do that, they won’t hesitate to call you for any of the apostille services they require.
Now, you must be familiar with the apostille, what does the apostille look like, the services the apostille agent offers, and much more. If you’re providing a notary service, you must be wondering what a notary is and searching “apostille vs notary” on google, but let me tell you that it would be beneficial for you to start the apostille service. The reason is that it’s related to your existing business and you wouldn’t have difficulty learning them.