Yesterday was apostille day for our household. What's an apostille? Well, it's not an incredible new form of taco or enchilada. Nor is it a new vaccine, wonder drug, or European pop band. It's a piece of paper with a stamp that tells one country that whatever piece of paper the apostille is attached to is the real deal, an authentic document, not a scam or a fake.
They're helpful when companies are conducting international business transactions or when, as we are, people are trying to travel between countries for more than tourism. In the U, S, with its dual systems of state and federal government, apostilles come in two forms. State governments provide apostilles for documents they produce, such as birth/death/marriage and adoption certificates, whereas the State Department provides apostilles for documents from federal agencies.
In our case for moving to Spain, we need four apostilles. Three from our home state to authenticate our marriage license and background checks from the State Police, and one from the federal government to authenticate that the Husband will receive income from Social Security.
Yesterday was devoted to the three state apostilles and involved a four-hour round trip drive to our state capitol to take our documents to the office that authenticates them. There, while I waited, the staff made sure our marriage licenses carried the correct watermarks and seals and that the background checks had been notarized correctly for the State Police. Then, $30 later, they gave us the apostilles, over and done.
The federal one is a bit more complicated. First, the State Department is pretty particular about the federal documents it authenticates. The document has to be on agency letterhead, carry the agency watermark or seal, and have an authorized signature. Second, while they used to provide walk-up service, due to Covid they no longer do that, so it has to be delivered and will take six weeks. Yikes. So, we're still working on the federal one.
Today I'm scanning the authenticated state documents, with their apostilles, into PDFs for emailing to an advisor who will ensure we've done it correctly. Then, assuming we have, they will become part of our visa application.