Step by Step Apostille for Filipinos in the USA


Step by Step Apostille for Filipinos living in the USA

What is an apostille service?

An Apostille is a method to authenticate a legal document for use in another country.

How do apostille services work?

For example, A Filipino issuing an SPA to the Philippines (to buy or sell a property) or a school transcript that needs to be authenticated—but the person lives in the USA.

He can go to the Philippine Embassy to authenticate the SPA (called a Consularized document) or have the document authenticated (through the mail) at an “apostille service.”

IMPORTANT: Non-government apostille services charge hefty amounts. We recommend using your local government apostille services. Every office of the State Secretary can issue apostilles.

Consularized document instead of apostilling: You have an option to go to the embassy to consularize your document. Click here for more information.

What are the requirements for apostille?

  • Apostille application form.
  • Document to be notarized.
  • Processing fee. ($2/document in Illinois, pay to: Secretary of State)
  • Self-stamped large envelope either back to you or to your recipient in the Philippines (Envelope should fit your authenticated document)

Pros and Cons of Apostille

  • PROS: You can mail your documents instead of visiting the Philippine embassy. The apostille office (usually called the Index Department) can send them directly to your recipient in the Philippines if you include a prepaid UPS/FedEx.
  • CONS: The Index office can take 2 to 4 weeks, including mailing.

Step by Step Apostille:

1. Download and fill out the apostille application form.

To authenticate a vital record (For example, Death certificates, etc.): Obtain a certified copy from the local county clerk’s office where the person was born or died—no need to notarize.

To authenticate a transcript or diploma for international use: Request the school to certify and sign the document and have it notarized locally. You can also have it issued with a statement of acknowledgment from the school, using their letterhead.

Request a copy at the local county office: To authenticate divorce papers, legal name changes, etc. The certificate must have an official seal and the circuit clerk’s or a judge’s signature.

For other documents such as SPA, Deeds, Adoption, etc.: Go to Step 2.

2. Print your document(s) and do not sign yet.

Bring documents to the nearest Notary service (UPS Store, etc.) to be notarized. The issuer will sign the document in front of the notary public.

You can also ask your bank. Chase, PNC, BOA, etc., for FREE notary services.

3. Buy a self-stamped envelope.

OPTION 1: Go to a United States Postal Service (USPS) and purchase a PRIORITY MAIL Envelope (self-addressed stamp) for the applicant or a third party.

OPTION 2: Buy a prepaid “pre-addressed airbill” (DHL, FedEx, etc., about US$120) for faster door-to-door delivery either to the applicant or third party.

* The document can be mailed back to the applicant or to the third party (recipient in the Philippines).

4. Send all documents to apostille services

  • Collate all documents and include the self-addressed large envelope and check payment.
  • In Illinois, each document is approximately US$2 per document, payable to the “Secretary of State” (Total amount can be in one check).


Submit by MailSubmit in-person
Secretary of State
Index Department
17 N. State St., Ste, 1010
Chicago, IL 60602
Secretary of State
Index Department
17 N. State Street
Chicago, IL 60602
Telephone 312-814-8218
  • Processing is 7 to 14 business days plus days for the document to reach another country.
  • For more information, you can call 312-814-8218 • 312-793-3959 (Illinois State Secretary) or visit this link.


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