Friday, September 17, 2010

Apostilles for Expats

What is an apostille and why do I need one as an expat moving to the Yucatan? Good question. I wish we had known about this before we moved down. If you are married and/or have children that will live with you here in the Yucatan and you want to come down and apply for FM2 or FM3 residency visas you are going to need to have your marriage certificate and all of your children's birth certificates apostilled by the Secretary of State in the documents state of Origin.

An apostille, in the most basic terms, is a notarization that is recognized internationally by all foreign governments. It is recognized by international law. Your bank notary does not have the power to issue an apostille. Only the Secretary of State in all 50 US States or appointed government agencies in your country of origin has the power to issue an apostille. Check out the following link:

Let me give you an example of how this applies to our family. My wife and I met and married in the state of New Mexico in the US. We also had our first son in New Mexico. Our second son was born in Texas because that was where we were living when we had him. I have to order an apostilled birth certificate from Vital Records in New Mexico for my oldest son. Then Vital Records ships that birth certificate to the Secretary of State in New Mexico to have the document apostilled. The Secretary of State then ships out the apostilled document, in this case my son's birth certificate. We go through the same steps with my youngest son with both Vital Records and the Secretary of State's office in the state of Texas.

If you come down to the Yucatan and you have a marriage certificate, divorce decree or birth certificates that do not have apostilles and you want to apply for residency visas (FM2 or FM3) then you are going to have to send back for them in the US or Canada and pay the international shipping rates via FedEx, UPS or DHL. Word to the wise. Get this taken care of in advance. No one ever told us this before we came down and we did alot of research on necessary documents before we came down. Aargh!!! We just don't want you pulling out your hair unnecessarily. Hope this helps.

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