Foreign Language Documents

Any foreign language document must include a written English translation, sworn or affirmed by the translator, and must be recorded along with the original instrument. An apostille or certificate of authorization may be required depending upon the country of origin.

Apostilles and the Authentication of Documents

According to the Pennsylvania Department of State, when a Pennsylvania notary public notarizes a document that will be filed in another state or country, the notary may be asked for proof of his or her appointment. This verification, depending upon the requirements of the particular state or country, may be obtained from the Secretary of the Commonwealth. The individual for whom the notarization was completed should check with the state or country for their requirements.
The Secretary of the Commonwealth also provides authentication of public officials' signatures on documents (Please note: a commissioned notary public is a public official). If the document is to be used outside the United States, the country of destination determines whether the authentication is an Apostille or Certification. The Apostille and other verifications are prepared by the Secretary of the Commonwealth for a $15.00 fee.

At this time the following countries and territories have accepted the Hague Convention:

List of countries and territories

A Certificate of Authentication is affixed to documents intended for countries that are not party to the Hague Convention. Apostilles require no further diplomatic or consular legalization, while Certificates of Authentication must first be processed by the U.S. Department of State.

Model Apostille

For frequently asked questions and apostille instructions from the Pennsylvania Department of State, please visit their website.

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County of Lancaster, Office of Recorder of Deeds
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150 N. Queen St., P. O. Box 1478
Lancaster, PA 17608-1478
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