Apostilles and Certifications
The Lieutenant governor services as Secretary of State for the State of Hawaii. As Secretary of State, the Lieutenant Governor provides authentication services for all public and general documents that are used overseas. Public Documents include: powers of attorney, marriage certificates, birth certificates, divorce decrees, probated wills, judgments or other documents generated by a legally formed government agency. General Documents include powers of attorney, agreements, by-laws, transcripts, unrecorded conveyance documents, un-probated wills or legal declarations.
The Hague Treaty was established at a convention held in 1961 at Hague, located in the Netherlands. This Treaty abolished the requirement of legalization of foreign public documents. The convention provides for the simplified certification of public documents to be used in countries that have joined the convention, by use of a special form called an Apostille. Effective October 16, 1981 the United States recognized the Hague Treaty.
The determination of whether an Apostille or Certification is issued depends upon which country the documents are bound for. If that country recognizes The Hague Treaty, then an Apostille will be issued. If the country does not recognize the Hague Treaty, a Certification will be issued. The following link is a list of countries that recognize the Hague Treaty.
STATEMENT OF LEGAL EFFECT OF AN APOSTILLE
Apostilles certify only that a document has been signed by, and bears the seal and stamp of, a duly commissioned Notary Public of the State of Hawaii OR was certified by the appropriate custodian of records (e.g. Court Clerk). An Apostille does not validate the substance, contents, and/or legal effect of the document, nor that the document has been approved and/or endorsed by the Lieutenant Governor, the State of Hawaii, or any court of competent jurisdiction.
Procedure for Requesting Apostille or Certification
1. Complete, sign and submit the Application for Apostille or Certification of Documents.
2. Public Documents
Birth, marriage, and death certificates and court documents (divorce decrees, probated will, judgment, etc.) and copies of documents on file in the State Bureau of Conveyances must first be certified by the custodian of those records before they may be presented to the Lieutenant Governor for Certification or affixing an Apostille. The certified copy must display the ORIGINAL SIGNATURE (not a stamped signature) of the custodian of the record. CONTACT the Department of Health or the respective Court or the Bureau of Conveyances for any information on any fees charged for certified copies. Certified court records must contain the signature stamp of the court clerk along with the seal of the court.
CERTIFIED COPIES of the documents must be forwarded to the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, together with an Application for Apostille or Certification. Send the documents, specify what country the documents are bound for and for what purpose, along with a money order, or cashier’s check for $1.00 per document to the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, State Capitol, 5th Floor, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813. NO PERSONAL CHECKS WILL BE ACCEPTED. Also include an addressed and stamped envelope if you wish the document to be returned or for warded by mail or provide a local, toll free telephone number where you can be contacted when the documents are ready for pickup.
General Documents are documents such as diplomas, unrecorded powers-of-attorney, agreements, bylaws, transcripts, unrecorded conveyance documents, unprobated wills, etc.
These documents must be acknowledged before a notary public then submitted to the State of Hawaii First Circuit Court (or the Circuit Court in which the Notary Public resides) for signature and commission verification.
3. Once the notary’s signature and commission have been verified, documents must be forwarded to the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, together with an Application for issuance of an Apostille or Certification. Send your documents and specify what country your documents are bound for, along with a money order, or cashier’s check for $1.00 PER DOCUMENT to the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, State Capitol, 5th Floor, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813. NO PERSONAL CHECKS WILL BE ACCEPTED. Please include an addressed and stamped envelope if you wish the documents be returned or forwarded by mail, or provide a local, toll free telephone number where you can be contacted when the documents are ready for pickup.
4. Please allow approximately one week for processing time.
5. The Office of the Lieutenant Governor reserves the right to deny applications for Apostilles or Certifications that appear to be contrary to State or federal law, interest, or policy, or intended to be used for improper or illegal purposes.
If you have any questions, please contact the Office of the Lieutenant Governor at (808) 586-0255.