An apostille is valid for as long as the country requesting it will accept it. An apostille does not have an expiration date.
In order to find out how old your documents can be and how recent the apostille must be issued on each document, we recommend that you double check with the country requesting your documents. For example, if you need a California apostille on a California birth certificate, we recommend that you ask how old the birth certificate can be and how recent the apostille should be issued. If the answer is 30 days for both, then the birth and the apostille must be issued within the past 30 days.
Most countries will accept original documents several years old as long as the apostille has been recently issued.
From our experience, background checks have the most restrictions. Most all countries will request a background check to be issued within the past ninety days. Some go so far as to request one issued within the past 30 days with an apostille. Again, please double check with the country requesting your documents in order to avoid any delays or additional costs.
Also, some States have restrictions on how old the original documents can be. For example, Wisconsin and Virginia are 12 months. Texas is five to seven years. We recommend that you contact us so we can discuss your documents before you mail them in for processing. Please note that the State office has the final discretion if they will accept your documents or not.
Here is typically what’s included in a Apostille:
- Country … [country name] This public document
- has been signed by … [name]
- acting in the capacity of … [function]
- bears the seal/stamp of … [authority] certified
- at … [location]
- the … [date]
- by … [name]
- No … [apostille registration number]
- Seal/stamp … [of the authority giving the apostille]
- Signature … [signature of authority giving the apostille]
Apostilles can be complicated. Don’t leave this process to untrained employees or non-professionals who do not fully understand the Apostille process and the unique requirements of certain countries. Your paperwork could be rejected costing you time and money. Don’t let this happen to you!