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Sworn Translation and Hague Apostille: Foreign Documents Issued in the USA for Use Abroad

Updated: Oct 2, 2023

In an increasingly globalized world, the need to deal with foreign documents is common, whether for personal, educational, or professional purposes. If you reside in another country and need to use documents issued in the United States, this guide on sworn translation and Hague Apostille is essential for you. We will explore what these terms mean and how you can ensure that your foreign documents are legally valid abroad.



a paper, a pen, a seal and a gavel


Sworn Translation: What Is It and When Is It Required?


Sworn translation is a process by which a sworn translator, also known as a public translator, certifies that a translation of a foreign document is faithful to the original. This certification is required in legal, administrative, or official situations to ensure that foreign authorities recognize the translated document as valid.


When do you need a sworn translation in the USA for use abroad? Here are some common examples:


  1. Academic Documents: If you are enrolling in a foreign university and your diplomas or academic transcripts are in English, a sworn translation is necessary to validate these documents in the country where you will study.

  2. Legal Documents: Contracts, powers of attorney, and U.S. legal documents that will be submitted to foreign courts or other governmental departments also require sworn translation.

  3. Identification Documents: If you need to prove your identity or legal status in another country, such as a birth or marriage, a sworn translation is also crucial.


The Hague Apostille: Simplifying Legalization


The Hague Apostille is a simplified procedure for the legalization of documents that makes it easier for documents issued in one country to be accepted in other countries. The United States is part of the Hague Apostille Convention, which means you can authenticate your American documents for use in other member countries relatively straightforwardly.


The process of obtaining a Hague Apostille involves the following steps:

an example of Florida Apostille
  1. Document Verification: Ensure that the original document has been properly issued by a competent authority in the USA.

  2. Sworn Translation: As mentioned earlier, if the document is not in the language of the foreign country you are visiting or will live in, or where the document will be used, you will need a sworn translation.

  3. Obtaining the Apostille: Contact the competent authority in the USA to obtain the Hague Apostille. This is usually done by the Secretary of State in the state where the document was issued.

  4. Use abroad: After obtaining the Hague Apostille, your foreign document will now be legally valid in the country for which the Apostille was issued, provided it is accompanied by the sworn translation, if applicable.


Dealing with foreign documents can be a complex process, but understanding the concepts of sworn translation and Hague Apostille is crucial to ensuring that your documents issued in the USA are accepted abroad. Always make sure to follow the correct procedures and, if necessary, consult a specialized professional for additional guidance. With this information, you will be better prepared to tackle challenges related to international documentation.


If you are in need of highly qualified professionals to assist you with these services, SCG Law and Language is here for you.
Our team of sworn translators and Hague Apostille experts are ready to provide prompt and reliable assistance in legalizing your foreign documents for use outside the USA. Contact us today for more information and ensure that your documents are handled with the utmost competence and professionalism.

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