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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Summer Countdown: Passport Applications

Just wanted to remind everyone that if you are actually interested in studying abroad over the summer or fall, you need to start on the Passport process now.  You can’t always wait until you’re accepted into a program in March or April; you need to get on top of the Passport thing early. Even if you already have the Passport, you might need new pages for it if you travel frequently and almost all countries require that the Passport not expire until at least 6 months after the estimated end of your trip.

Every year it takes longer and longer to get a Passport, especially if you aren’t the simplest case.  Dual citizenship, foreign citizenship, criminal records, and a history of visiting or coming from difficult locations (Middle East, China, Etc.) can all add to the wait time for a new or renewed Passport.

Plus, you have to have a Passport to get a Visa, arrange flights, set up hotel reservations, and other steps.

So go ahead and get the ball rolling to make sure you have it early! 

For helpful instructions check out theGetting a Passport’ section on our site “Students Ramblings. We also have information for ‘Renewing your Passport. Or just head straight over to the State Department’s website.

“VisaMapper Is A Magical Map Where You Can See Which Countries Require Visas To Visit”

You can find a direct link to the VisaMapper app (and other tools) under “Student Resources” on the left side of this blog.

“VisaMapper Is A Magical Map Where You Can See Which Countries Require Visas To Visit”

by Suzy Strutner via “Huffington Post

“This might be the most brilliant thing a Reddit user has done in a while.

To curb the pain of the “do I need a visa?!” research headache, udit99 made a no-frills website called VisaMapper. Visitors select their nationality from a drop-down menu and instantly see, on a color-coded world map, which countries require a visa for them to visit and which don’t.

Tell VisaMapper you’re of Swedish citizenship, for example, and watch loads of nations on the map turn to happy shades of green. This color means you won’t need a visa to visit them. . . . .”

I will say that I can’t tell when the map applies. . . . Sometimes the rules are different for travelers staying longer than 90 days (or a similar length of time) which would often include students.  England I know has different requirements than I think this app shows.

Guide to UK Student Visa