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Legalization is the process of making a document legally valid or acceptable, often in a foreign jurisdiction. It's a formal process that often involves multiple steps, including notarization, verification, and sometimes even embassy or consulate certification. This is different from apostillization and is usually required for countries that are not part of the Hague Apostille Convention.

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Steps in Legalization

  1. Notarization: The document is notarized by a certified notary.

  2. State Authentication: The Secretary of State authenticates the document.

  3. Federal Authentication: The U.S. Department of State verifies the document.

  4. Foreign Embassy/Consulate Legalization: The embassy or consulate of the target country stamps the document.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What's the difference between apostillization and legalization?

Apostillization is generally simpler and applies only to countries that are part of the Hague Apostille Convention. Legalization is for countries not part of this convention.

How long does it take for a document to be legalized?

It varies but could take weeks or even months, depending on the type of document and the country.

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