Apostilles, in effect, are very similar to a notarization. Though instead of a private agency affixing the seal and signature, it is the Department of State for the state in which the document originates.

There seems to be some discrepancies regarding which documents are required to be apostilled. Some consulate documents say that every document requires it, some say that only ones referring to direct bloodline are required, but either way, I played it safe and had every single state document apostilled – 14 in total.

Every state had a slightly different payment structure. Most (all but WV) required return envelopes and postage to be included. PA charged $15.00 per apostille, where Ohio only charged $5.00. WV charges $10 for the first and $5 per subsequent. You’ll surely find something different in your states rules.

I also opted to certify all postage so that if something got lost, there was some accountability and tracking. Since I was shipping original documents, some which were a pain in the rear to find, I wanted as much security as possible.

Apostilles on their way out...

In total, this is what everything cost me.

PA WV MD OH Total
Apostilles: $15.00 (1) $25.00 (4) $40.00 (8) $5.00 (1) $85.00 (14)
Outbound Postage: $4.90 $4.90 $4.90 $4.90 $19.60
Outbound Certified Mail: $2.80 $2.80 $2.80 $2.80 $11.20
Inbound Postage: $0.88 $1.15 $0.88 $2.91
Inbound Certified Mail: $2.80 $2.80 $2.80 $8.40
Total: $26.38 $32.70 $51.65 $16.38 $127.11

For as expensive as this was, it was certainly the easiest step so far, and also the quickest. Within a week of sending the documents off, all came back with a sexy apostille stapled to the front.

So now, I have just about everything I need, sans translations, to complete the application. The only thing left (and its merely a comfort thing) is an affidavit from a notary to clarify some minor name discrepancies (post to follow). Next up, translations!

Total cost of the step: $127.11

Total cost so far: $347.22

West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Ohio Apostilles