I am preparing my documents for the Golden Visa and had real difficulty figuring out how to get them apostilled (and even what that meant, since I had never needed it in the past). SO, I thought I’d start a new thread on here to be of help to others in the future.
First, what does it mean to get an apostille?
Documents in your home country are valid in that country. However, in order to make it valid internationally, it needs to be verified according to international convention (the Hague convention). This is what an apostille does - usually at a state’s Secretary of State office or at a country consulate/embassy. They verify that the ORIGINAL document that you submit is in fact valid. They can stamp the original document and/or attach a verification to the document.
How do I get a document apostilled?
You can mail or hand deliver the original document to the state’s SofS office where it was issued or you can hire a service to do it for you. More info on this below. It usually takes several days, sometimes weeks, to get this back to you so begin the process as soon as you can. For Portugal however, keep in mind also that the apostille has to be done within 3 months of submission for your visa. So, timing is key here.
What needs to be apostilled?
Just about everything you are officially submitting for a visa. Birth certificates, marriage certificates in particular. Also Power of Attorney need to be 1) notarized and then 2) submitted to the state SofS for verification/apostille of the notary, in essence. The strangest I came across is the FBI background check, which you print out the pdf the FBI sends you and send it back to DC to get apostilled.
What needs to be translated?
Just about everything, including the apostille statement itself, most of the time. Ask your lawyer. Note that it needs to be from a certified translator.