What is an apostille?
Any document brought to Costa Rica from another country, for official purposes, must be Apostilled, if the country of origin is a member of The Hague Convention of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents, the Apostille Convention, or the Apostille Treaty is an international treaty drafted by the Hague Conference on Private International Law. It specifies the modalities through which a document issued in one of the signatory countries can be certified for legal purposes in all the other signatory states. Such a certification is called an apostille (French: a marginal note). It is an international certification comparable to a notarization in domestic law, and normally supplements a local notarization of the document. (COSTA RICA AND THE UNITED STATES ARE MEMBERS OF THE HAGUE CONVENTION). The process of APOSTILLE is done via de SECRETARY OF STATE in the state the document was issued in, normally all Secretaries of state list their requirements to issue an apostille, on line , in their own web sites, most can be done by mail or currier service with a prepaid return, and the cost will go from 3 to 25 dollars per document. Please scan your documents and email them to us to legal@arcr.net before you send them for apostille, so that we can revise with you and confirm you have the right documents.

What is Consularization?
• Any document from a country that is not a member of the Hague Convention (CANADA IS NOT A MEMBER OF THE HAGUE CONVENTION) mentioned before and that is to be brought to Costa Rica , for official purposes, must be Consularized by the Consul that deals with the country where the document originates. In other words the Consul authenticates the official signature on any specific document, such as a Birth Certificate or a Marriage Certificate.
• We recommend that you obtain official DUPLICATES of any of the documents you need, as the documents submitted to the Costa Rican government are NOT returned.
• We also recommend you EMAIL US documents, to ensure they will work for Residency purposes AT legal@arcr.net

• In your country there may be several different Consuls located around the country, or only one, or none at all. Each consul is responsible for authenticating documents from his/her jurisdiction, which may include 1 or more countries in the surrounding region. In other words if you were Born in one country, married in another, and living in a third, you will likely have to deal with 3 Consulates.
• The various consuls will likely require you to complete some or all of the following points BEFORE they would authenticate a given document. It is our recommendation that you contact each consul first to find out which of the following steps they will require to see if you can avoid those he/she doesn’t require. This varies from Consul to Consul at their discretion.
• NOTARY or COUNTY CLERK- any document not containing an official County Clerk signature will likely need to be Notarized before being sent to the next step. It is best to request a notarized document during the process of obtaining your documents.
• FOREIGN AFFAIRS/FOREIGN OFFICE- The official signature or Notary must then be authenticated by a local government agency, usually foreign affairs, who will affix their seal approving the signature. (Your consul should be able to direct you to the agency for your country).
• COSTA RICAN CONSUL- Once the required steps have been completed, the documents can be consularized by the consul. They must authenticate the signature of the last step taken.

It is always better, safer, and faster to follow these steps in person. However if this were not possible, we recommend you use a Courier and not just regular mail. Make certain you know how much money to send for each step, including costs for return of the documents to you. The Consuls have no budget to even mail documents back.