Apostille and document preparation for US GV investors

Amit, I’m also going through the process and I too have a marriage certificate from India. Would be great to learn from your experience, if you were able to get the marriage certificate apostilled. I’m based in SF so I was wondering of contacting Indian Consulate here.

@nadeemk I plan to start this process in couple of months and will post my experience here.

2 posts were split to a new topic: Apostille of Police Clearance Certificate from Indian consulate?

Here is my FBI background check apostille timeline.

tl;dr: submitted on Jan 6, shipped via FedEx on Mar 11.

Jan 6, just after midnight: I received my FBI background check electronically. I immediately submitted an electronic order to Monument Visa Service. The submission process was straightforward and the price was very reasonable. I received a letter of confirmation from a human being early during the east coast business day.

Mar 4: I checked in by phone with Monument Visa Service. They advised me that the State Department was just starting on early January orders. I seamlessly upgraded my order, so that the document would ship directly to my lawyer in Portugal via FedEx. The $60 cost was at least 25% below what I would have paid at a FedEx retail counter, and this would shave at least a week off of the total transit time.

Mar 11: Although the US mail wasn’t delivered to Monument until a few minutes before the FedEx cutoff time, they rushed my apostille and got it in to FedEx just under the wire. Estimated delivery to Portugal: Monday. They emailed the tracking number to me at 4:54 PM EST, or 1:54 PM my time.

I am very pleased with the superb service and value I received from Monument. It was worth every penny and more.

I’m curious, what makes you think that that using the service/expediter actually made the process go faster? I’m genuinely curious. Thanks

  • The expediter delivered my document to the State Department immediately. To submit it myself would have wasted an hour on clerical work and driving time for two week ETA First Class mail. Add ~$40 for 2-3 day express shipment.
  • The expediter service filled out some bothersome form correctly, on my behalf. My time is valuable to me, and getting it reliably right to avoid going to the back of the line is extremely valuable to me.
  • The expediter service was able to provide timely progress information. Progress reporting was psychologically and practically valuable (for contingency planning). As a high volume repeat customer, they have good visibility and access into the processing pipeline. They escalated my case last week and they knew exactly when my document would arrive, to the day. My document arrived at their office from the State Department at 4:30 PM today, and they rushed it to FedEx for a 4:58 PM checkin, 2 minutes before the daily cutoff. Impressive.
  • The State Department mails every document back to exactly the address it came from using First Class mail. First Class mail to the local expediter: 1 day. First class mail to my state: 2 weeks! By two weeks from now, it would have been a lost cause; the apostille must be shipped to Portugal, professionally translated, bundled up with other documents, and reshipped to SEF before the 90 day drop-dead date.
  • The expediter’s volume shipper price for 2 day FedEx Express service to Portugal: $60. The FedEx store’s retail price for 2 day FedEx Express service to Portugal: $145.91, not to mention wasting 2 hours driving to the nearest FedEx store and back. My time and money are valuable to me.

I saved time, money, effort, and frustration by using the expediter. I literally spent less money working with the expediter than I would have spent going it alone and shipping overseas using FedEx, and I shaved more than a month off of the cumulative shipping time for the three legs.

If it makes you feel better, I paid $15 for printed fingerprint cards from a local company and requested my own FBI background check for $12 or whatever it was. That’s simple and low risk. If it’s delayed by a few days, that’s fine. But once the background check is generated, the clock is ticking: it goes bad in 90 days. With the State Department taking 8-12 weeks to process apostilles, there is NO time to waste and no margin for error.

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Although we did not use Monument Visa, I will say they were very helpful over the telephone in answering questions. We had already sent our FBI Background Check to the State Department on our own, and were concerned that we’d need to start the process all over again because of delays. If we’d had to do that, we would have used Monument.

Anyway, we did indeed receive the apostilled version back from the State Department in time to send it by express mail to our attorney in Lisbon, who in turn promptly completed the electronic filing with the SEF with about 2 weeks to spare before the FBI document would have gone stale (i.e., over 90 days).

One comment on the translation… we performed the State Department apostille and the translation on a parallel course. In other words, the FBI Check doesn’t need to have the State Department apostille attached in order to be translated. This can save time. We ended up sending our Portuguese lawyer two copies of the FBI Check: one copy which contained the State Department apostille, and a second copy which had been translated and apostilled by the State of California (to certify the credentials of the notary who acknowledged the services of the translator).

Bottom line… follow the advice of your Portuguese attorney. Our attorney endorsed the way we handled this and it worked fine. The application and related documents were filed with the SEF on 10 December 2020 and the pre-approval was granted by SEF on 02 March 2021. Like others, we are waiting for the SEF to start taking biometric appointments again.

I am curious about this translation and apostilling by the state of CA. If I am reading this correctly

You had the FBI clearance translated into Portuguese and signed by the translator
The translators signature was notarized
The translated and notarized document was apostilled by the state of CA

Is this correct ?

We had 2 copies of the FBI clearance going at the same time due to the lengthy delays at the State Department.

Copy 1 - Translated by a local, California-sanctioned translator. The translator’s signature was notarized and then the notarized document was apostilled by the California Secretary of State.

Copy 2 - Sent to the US State Department in Washington for the apostille of signature of the FBI official.

Then, both copies were sent to the lawyer in Lisbon, who then filed them with the SEF.

I don’t believe the State of California itself offers translation services, but rather issues a license to a third party translator.

FYI - wanted to let the group know that I just had a 10 business day (Monday to Friday) turnaround from when I emailed the docs to Monument Visa to Monument getting them back from the State Department! And they will be DHL’d directly to Lisbon arriving at my lawyer’s on Monday end-of-day.

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Wow that’s incredible, thanks for the update!

I will pass along that Monument was a little surprised too … said that was one of the fastest they had seen


I sent mine in a week ago. I still have to finish the lawyer contract, open a bank account, and pick some funds!! I almost hope it isn’t done that fast!

Quick question: Does the copy of our passport need to be apostilled for the golden visa application? I’m just applying for myself (no spouse or children) and I’m getting ready to get my background check and send it for apostille and just wasn’t sure if the passport copy was also needed (or anything else?)

my lawyer hasn’t requested it.

presumably SEF will see the actual document when they biometricize you. :slight_smile: and they have systems to verify them already.

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