An Apostille is an authentication of a notary or government official’s signature used by countries who are parties to the Hague Convention. Countries may require either an Apostille or a Certification from the Secretary of State’s Office for birth, death &/or marriage certificates. The country of destination determines whether the accepted authentication is an Apostille or Certification.

Apostilles are issued by the Secretary of State and assistance can be obtained through authorized service providers. Check the Secretary of State’s website to find a service provider.

Birth and Death Certificates

Birth and Death certificates are issued by two different agencies in San Mateo County: the Public Health Department and the Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder’s Office.

Apostille requests accompanied by a Health Department issued birth or death certificates (dated 1966 to the present) also require a Public Health Officer’s Signature Verification certificate issued by the County Clerk-Recorder Division. The cost is $12.

Apostille requests accompanied by a County Clerk-Recorder issued birth or death certificate (and marriage) can be submitted directly to Secretary of State’s Office without additional documentation.

Recording a document in the U.S. when a person is out of the country

If the document(s) to be recorded is signed and notarized outside of the U.S. the signature of the notary must be authenticated in one of the following ways:

  • by a judge of the court in the country where the acknowledgment was taken
  • by an American Diplomatic Officer, Consul General or Consular Agent
  • by an Apostille attached to the document

Please call 650.363.4500 and ask to speak with someone in the Recorder Division for further information.

Notary Verification

If a Notary Public registered in San Mateo County notarizes a document and that document needs an Apostille from the Secretary of States’ Office, the Secretary will require that the County Clerk authenticate the Notary’s Signature. A Notary Verification Form issued by the County Clerk Division provides the authentication needed.