Apostille (ah-po-steel) is French for "certification".
Individuals who travel abroad to live, conduct business, or for education may be asked at some point to have documents Apostilled or Autheticated by the US State Department or Local issuing authority.
The apostille process is a certification procedure that is used to authenticate documents for use in another country. It is often required when an individual or organization needs to submit official documents to a foreign government, agency, or institution.
To obtain an apostille for a fingerprint-based background check, also known as a departmental order through the FBI, you must follow these steps:
Step 1: Obtain a fingerprint-based background check from the FBI To obtain a fingerprint-based background check, you must provide your fingerprints to the FBI through an authorized channeler or by submitting a request directly to the FBI. You will need to provide personal information such as your full name, date of birth, and social security number, as well as any other relevant identification information. The FBI will then conduct a criminal background check and provide you with a report that details any criminal history information that has been found.
Step 2: Have the background check certified by the FBI To obtain an apostille, the background check must be certified by the FBI. This involves obtaining a signature from an authorized FBI official on the document, attesting to the fact that it is a true and accurate record. The certification process may require you to provide additional identification information, such as a government-issued ID or passport, to ensure that the document belongs to you.
Step 3: Submit the document to the U.S. Department of State for authentication Once the background check has been certified by the FBI, it must be submitted to the U.S. Department of State for authentication. This involves obtaining an apostille from the U.S. Department of State that confirms the authenticity of the FBI certification. The apostille process verifies the signature of the FBI official who certified the document, and confirms that the FBI is an authorized agency to issue such a certification. This process is necessary to ensure that the document is accepted by the foreign country or institution where it will be used.
Step 4: Receive the authenticated document After the document has been authenticated by the U.S. Department of State, it will be returned to you with an apostille attached. The apostille is a certificate that confirms the document is authentic and can be used in the country where it is being submitted. Once you receive the authenticated document, it is considered valid and can be submitted to the relevant foreign government, agency, or institution.
In summary, the apostille process for fingerprint-based background checks requires obtaining a background check from the FBI, having it certified by the FBI, submitting it to the U.S. Department of State for authentication, and receiving an apostille to confirm its authenticity. The process can be complicated and time-consuming, so it's important to plan ahead and make sure you understand the requirements for the country where you will be using the document.
Why do I need an apostille?
There are several reasons why a person may need an apostille for a fingerprint-based background check, including:
Employment: Many employers require a background check as part of the hiring process, particularly for jobs that involve working with vulnerable populations, such as children or the elderly. Some employers may require an apostille if the job is based in a foreign country or involves international travel.
Immigration: If you are applying for a visa or residency in a foreign country, you may be required to provide a background check as part of the application process. In some cases, the foreign government may require an apostille to confirm the authenticity of the background check.
Education: Some academic programs, particularly those in healthcare or education, require a background check before admission. If you are applying to a program in a foreign country, you may need an apostille to confirm the authenticity of the background check.
Adoption: If you are adopting a child from a foreign country, you may be required to provide a background check as part of the adoption process. The foreign government may require an apostille to confirm the authenticity of the background check.
Legal proceedings: If you are involved in a legal proceeding in a foreign country, you may be required to provide a background check as part of the proceedings. The foreign government may require an apostille to confirm the authenticity of the background check.
It's important to note that the specific requirements for obtaining an apostille can vary by country, so it's important to check with the relevant authorities to ensure that you have all of the necessary documentation and certifications for your particular situation.
How do I know if I need an apostille?
The Consulate of the Country you are corresponding with will let you know whether or not your documents require an Apostille. Likewise, your employer, institution or attorney may be facilitating your paperwork and they will tell you that you need one. If the country you are traveling to is a Hague Convention country, then the apostille process is a reciprocal agreement that makes apostille authentication the default method of verifying documents.
What countries are a part of the Hague Convention?
The following countries are part of the Hague Convention and require documents to be Apostilled as of 2023:
Albania, Andorra, Armenia ,Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Eswatini, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Madagascar, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Rwanda, San Marino, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Togo, Turkey, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Venezuela & Zambia.
this list can change as new countries may join the reciprocal authentication process established by the Hague Convention.