Kenneth A Edelstein All Purpose Certified New York Mobile Notary
All Purpose New York Notary | Apostille Processing | Legalization and Fingerprinting
Legalization Procedure Summary
Legalization facilitates the use of business and personal documents in a foreign country. Each sovereign nation has their own distinct procedures and policies regarding the submission and ultimate issuance of Consular Legalization. Care should be taken to not confuse an Apostille with Legalization. The Apostille serves the purpose of creating an internationally accepted (for signatory nations of the Hague Convention, Article 12) notarization of a Signature. The Legalization goes a step further granting acceptance of a Document to be used in the target country. Neither procedure (Apostille or Legalization) passes judgment on, or authenticates the contents of the document. The burden of content accuracy remains with the affiant or issuing authority. The Apostille lends credence to the signature on the document; whereas, Legalization is basically an "entrance fee" for the document to be used in the target country.
The procedure for obtaining a Manhattan Legalization is often complex, with numerous prerequisite requirements. Most common is the requirement to either be notarized or bear a NYC notary equivalent - as in the case of official records (Birth, Death, Marriage, Divorce, etc.) issued by a governmental authority. The source "signature;" be it from an individual (notarized) or government authority; requires authentication of either the notary's credentials, or the issuing authority's stamp. Frequently an additional layer of verification, the Apostille, is required to complete the preparation for NY Legalization submission. The rules vary, and are established by each nation. Some nations require a duplicate copy of the document (which they keep) for them to Legalize your copy. It is commonly required that a document be stapled - not bound by a removable clip. Thick documents, beyond the ability of a common or office stapler will require binding - such that pages cannot be manipulated. Other requirements, and there are many, vary by country.
Consulate application procedures vary by nation. Most commonly, an application is downloaded from the Consular or Embassy web site. It then must be printed and completed in exact detail. Some require the application be picked up personally. Some nations require a party to the document, or their attorney; to sign the application. At the other extreme, some allow anyone to sign the application. Even payment terms vary, some insist on Money Orders (only from the US Post Office, not a bank!), others insist on cash. It depends on the Consulate or Embassy policy.
Legalization fees vary greatly in New York. Often, a lower fee is levied for "personal use" documents - (educational transcripts, birth certificates, etc.). A higher fee is placed on corporate related documents, contracts, merger documents and such. The general policy is that the fee is for application processing - some have a policy of no refunds if the application is not in order. Clearly, this is a case where "right the first time" is essential. The total fee is paid by number of legalizations being requested - in advance - prior to actual submission of the documents for consideration. Expedited processing fees are generally per Legalization. Most Consulates and Embassies offer expedited processing for an additional fee. When many documents are to be legalized, these additional fees can be significant.
"Most" Consulate and Embassy offices in NYC, process these requests in a day or two. Some take as long as three or four days. It depends on their policy and backlog. Several nations offer expedited document processing that trims off a day or two. A few have same day NYC legalization service - again, depending on their backlog. Embassies and Consulates are closed on most major US holidays and are also closed to observe their National holidays. It's sometimes a challenge to determine when they are open - and the processing delivery date, as it is frequently expressed in "working days." Many have separate hours for "filing" and for "pickup," long lines and delays are common at month end.
The New York Legalization process does not require translators, friends in government, overseas contacts or attorneys. What it does require is: the ability to research, and very thoroughly implement the governmental requirements of the target nation, usually posted on their web site. Some nations have the processing information at the Consulate; others at their Embassy. Computer skills are essential, as often better information on procedures is not at the local New York facility; and some out of city checking at related sites often results in useful information. It is tedious, but not overly complex, to find the Nation's requirements; and obtain the necessary application form and signatures. Next, the prerequisite processing, prior to bringing to the Embassy or Consulate is scheduled. After verifying payment terms, and operating hours, the documents are presented for Legalization. At this time the fees are paid, possibly including expedited processing arrangements. A subsequent pickup and delivery - to you is scheduled. I never relinquish possession except to the foreign officials; no agents or messengers are ever used in my NYC Legalization processing. I need your input on the country of use, and if priority processing fees are approved - you have no other responsibilities.
If at all possible, allow me to do the notary work; the foundation for all subsequent processing. I have received many sets of documents that contained at least one instance where a document notarization was flawed. Some had improper changes (whiteout, erasures, etc); some had expired notary stamps; some simply were not notarized correctly. I cannot stress strongly enough the importance of perfect NY notarizations, each of them; on every document. In every NY Legalization assignment I have ever received, the mandate has been to "get them all done." There has never been a case where one of the documents submitted for processing to me was "optional". It is logistically advantageous to have each of the notarizations made by a notary who is "Qualified in New York County" on their rubber stamp. When the qualification county varies, costs and processing times increase dramatically, as multiple NY State County Clerk visits are required to verify the notary's signatures. Ideally, I will do all the notarizations myself. The single item that I cannot guarantee is someone else's notary skills and the validity of their seal. Any notarization should have rubber stamp and raised seal on each document or contract.
Most business correspondence presents no issues. Copies of documents can be Legalized, in New York; with a form that I developed, in conjunction with local officials, for use when the original has been notarized out of state; the documents signers are not available, or multiple copies of the same previously signed document need Legalization. However, publicly recorded documents issued by a governmental authority (birth, death, marriage, court decrees, etc.) have a more involved processing path. The same is true of documents issued by an educational institution located within the City of New York; (transcripts, diplomas, and some licenses.) In these cases; allow additional time, sometimes weeks, for necessary pre-submission document preparation. One example is the processing of a Birth Certificate. The original Birth Certificate is not acceptable for use in obtaining NY Legalization. What is required is a new "Certified Copy" issued by the Department of Vital Records with a "Letter of Exemplification" - in effect, the verification of the original document - issued by the same source!
I have successfully obtained NY Legalization for many documents related to International Commerce. Key to my success is a background rich in computer skills, time management, and attention to detail. Being retired, and living in Manhattan, allows me to devote my full time to your NYC Legalization processing requirements. When I leave with properly notarized documents, your direct involvement with the processing ceases. You will receive exactly what you require in the shortest time possible. The key to my success in obtaining Manhattan Legalization is my willingness to devote the necessary time to extensive preparation and very detailed checking of everything. Nothing is ever assumed. Each detail is checked and rechecked prior to implementing the action plan. With the assistance of my wife, Sandra, a Notary Public for over 30 years; we are able to provide a complete "end to end" service. We never use messengers or unnamed assistants. We process everything ourselves, never "farming out" even the routine pickup and delivery functions.
My card refers to Key Client Services; that is the service level commitment I promise to deliver to you, my Key Client. I will never allow myself to become overcommitted. I would rather refuse to schedule your NYC Legalizations, than disappoint. I don't have a stockpile of excuses and fairy tales. I do exactly as promised, knowing that "in the long run" it's a smarter; and less stressful for all, way of doing business. I welcome your call or email inquiries.