Document Apostilles

Many countries and international university may require Americans to get what is called an Apostille or Authentication of their Diplomas and other documents.  If you are applying for a university abroad, a job internationally, etc. they will usually ask for your diploma and maybe a police background check as well. Initially, they will just ask you for a “photocopy” of the document, but maybe later they will want you to “authenticate the document” or include an Apostille.

What does this mean exactly?  What it means is that they don’t trust your document precisely, in fact they don’t trust anyone’s documents.  These countries are asking you for a “second-level” of security to make sure your document is not a fake or copy.  It isn’t enough these days to just get an original copy of your document and mail that to them. Now, they want your state and federal government to also attest to their validity.

Basically, the international standard for “verifying the legality of documents” is to have the State and Federal government notarize or “certify them.” This involves sending the original and a copy to your state department, then send that to the United States federal government, and sometimes then onto that foreign nation’s embassy for a final stamp.

Obviously, such a process is long and costly in terms of time and money.  So many countries got together and signed an agreement that you can instead get a document called the “APOSTILLE.”  This document is given to you by your state department and does not require the federal or embassy steps.  Much faster right?   Sometimes — not all countries actually follow that rule, and it kind of depends on your state.

But regardless, you always have to start with this step – get the State Department to sign off on your document to prove it is legit.  Below are links to the websites for each state where you can order document authentications and apostilles!

1. Alabama 
2. Alaska
3. Arizona
4. Arkansas (Rules)
5. California 
6. Colorado
7. Connecticut 
8. Delaware
9. District of Colombia
10. Florida 
11. Georgia 
12. Hawaii 
13. Idaho 
14. Illinois
15. Indiana 
16. Iowa 
17. Kansas
18. Kentucky 
19. Louisiana
20. Maine 
21. Maryland 
22. Massachusetts 
23. Michigan 
24. Minnesota 
25. Mississippi 
26. Missouri 
27. Montana
28. Nebraska 
29. Nevada 
30. New Hampshire
31. New Jersey 
32. New Mexico 
33. New York 
34. North Carolina 
35. North Dakota 
36. Ohio
37. Oklahoma 
38. Oregon 
39. Pennsylvania
40. Rhode Island 
41. South Carolina 
42. South Dakota
43. Tennessee 
44. Texas
45. Utah 
46. Vermont 
47. Virginia
48. Washington
49. West Virginia 
50. Wisconsin 
51. Wyoming

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Now you can renew your passport with an app

“Now you can renew your passport with an app”

by Suzanne Rowan Kelleher via “Fox News

passportapp.jpg

Forget schlepping to the post office or the DMV. If you have a smartphone, an envelope and a credit card, you can now renew your passport at home.
Ten years after the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) required Americans traveling to Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean and Bermuda to carry U.S. passports, the ItsEasy Passport Renewal & Photo app has arrived just in time for tens of millions of Americans whose passports will soon expire. The app, a free download, was released this month for iPhones and will soon be available for Android phones.
The ItsEasy app guides customers through the passport renewal process, starting with determining whether the expired passport is actually renewable. (ItsEasy)
“Nearly 10 years after implementation of the WHTI and the associated surge of passport applications, the Bureau of Consular Affairs is preparing for an anticipated surge as those applicants renew their passports,” said William Cocks, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs. “We expect increased passport applications to continue through 2018.”

Frequent flyers may need passport renewals, too, because the State Department has stopped adding visa pages to U.S. passports. Until this year, passport holders could pay to have 24-page visa inserts added when their passports were full.

The ItsEasy app guides customers through the passport renewal process, starting with determining whether the expired passport is actually renewable.

There are numerous reasons why a passport may not be renewable, said David Alwadish, CEO and president of the app’s developer, ItsEasy.com. “For example, the traveler may not have the most recent passport in his or her possession, or it may be damaged beyond what is acceptable to the Department of State. Or the most recent passport may have expired more than five years ago.

“In each of these cases, the customer would need to apply for a new passport rather than a renewal.”

The ItsEasy app provides guidelines for taking a passport photo with your smartphone, and a gauge to help ensure that faces are sized to the proper dimensions.

The app sends an email with a printable passport renewal form and a USPS Priority Mail shipping label to be affixed to a 9 x 12 envelope. The user fills out the renewal form, puts it in the envelope with his most recent passport and then drops it in any mailbox.

The State Department charges $110 to renew a passport within the standard time frame (about six weeks, according to Cocks), and $170 for an expedited one. There’s an additional service fee of $29.95 if you use the ItsEasy app. . . . .

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