Here we have another life incident where I am grateful for (1) the Internet, (2) wikipedia. According to the latter, an apostille is commonly used to refer to “the legalization of a document for international use under the terms of the 1961 Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents.” After reading this I still say … wtf? So let me try to break it down for you.
In order to obtain a Spanish visa, I need an apostille on my police clearance record. I’ve been thinking of it as an international notary, if that helps. The visa application process is pretty hefty, so make sure that you have every item you need. Give yourself enough time to collect all these crazy things, so you get your visa on time for your departure. Bear in mind that EVERY CONSULATE IS DIFFERENT. I realize that’s not helpful, but I don’t make these decisions! As a resident of Pennsylvania, I am tied to the Spanish Consulate of New York, so I am operating under their rules.
So if you need one of these things, specifically in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, here are the steps:
1. Get your document notarized. In my case I needed a police clearance from the State Department. I went to the University’s notary public and got it stamped.
2. You can choose to haul your butt to Harrisburg or mail them your document and wait for it to return.
Since my application is a bit time sensitive, I went to Harrisburg in person. Blissfully, the Bureau of Commissions, Elections & Legislation takes walk-ins. It only took 5 minutes! It was well worth the drive because now I have all the pieces I need for the visa application and can move on to the next step (NY: next week).
3. Fill out one of the Request for Legalization of Documents forms and get a personal check or money order for the $15 processing fee.
4. Get your shiny gold seal, and go on your merry way.