Notarized documents that are going to a foreign country often require an apostille or authentication certificate. This provides additional security and validation of the notary stamp.
In Colorado, the notary will notarize the document in the normal manner. Then, if the customer requires an apostille or authentication, the document must be mailed or delivered to the Colorado Secretary of State (SOS).
Request Form to SOS
The customer must fill out a request form, list the destination country, and pay a service fee to the SOS for the authentication. The SOS will look up the record for the notary who has stamped the document.
The SOS will verify that the notary is in good standing, that the notary commission is not expired, and will verify the notary signature on the document matches the notary signature kept on file. The notary provides a signature on the notary application form.
The SOS does not verify the contents of the document. If the notarization is done correctly, and the notary signature is valid, and the notary is in good standing, then the SOS will attach an authentication certificate, including the seal of the State of Colorado, and an authentication number, to the document.
Here is a Sample Colorado Apostille from the Colorado SOS, for use in Argentina.
Apostille or Certificate of Magistracy
If the destination country has approved the Hague Convention of 1961, then the authentication used is a standardized certificate called an apostille, which is a French word. If the destination country has not approved the Hague Convention, then a Certificate of Magistracy is attached.
After authentication, the SOS will mail the document back to the customer, or the customer may choose to pay an additional fee for expedited service to have the document authenticated while the customer waits.
The notary may choose to assist the customer in obtaining the apostille or authentication, or the customer may choose to do it. Some notaries around the country specialize in processing apostilles, authentications, and documents that require assistance from a foreign embassy or consulate. There are some foreign embassies and consulates in Denver and Boulder.
Verify an Apostille or Authentication
If you receive a document authenticated by the SOS, you can verify it by using the SOS website at http://www.sos.state.co.us/auth/VerifyApostilleSearch.do Enter the authentication number and issue date. Here is a sample verification:
This Authentication was issued by the Colorado Secretary of State’s office on the date below.
Issue date: January 18, 2013
Signer’s name: GERALD J LUCAS
Signer’s title: Notary Public, State of Colorado
Issued for use in the country of: Argentina
Certificate of Fact
Note: For documents going to Puerto Rico, or other US possessions or territories, the SOS does not issue an apostille, since the destination is not a foreign country. Only countries can sign treaties, such as the Hague Treaty.
On written request, the SOS can issue a Certificate of Fact that confirms that the named notary is or was valid and in good standing in Colorado from start date to end date. This is a stand-alone document. No notarized document is needed. It does not certify the correctness or authenticity of any notarization by the notary.
Foreign Language Documents
The document may be in a foreign language, but the notary certificate must be in English. The notary must be able to communicate with the document signer directly, without using a translator.
The Colorado SOS has a request form and instructions on their website explaining the process for obtaining an apostille or authentication.
Colorado Notary Training includes information which describes the procedure for an apostille or authentication.
[Last-Modified Date 2017-03-28] add page links, new image
Apostille or Authentication
Apostille or Authentication