The Hague Convention of 1961 set up this authentication system to reduce the amount of steps needed to authenticate or legalize documents and eliminate the need to process the documents at foreign consulates and federal agencies. About half of the countries throughout the world follow the rules of the apostille and Hague Convention and half do not. We need to confirm what country your documents are being used in as it affects how we process them. The top photo on the homepage of this website shows what the California apostille and the Secretary of State red stamp (stamped partly on the apostille page and partly on the document being apostilled) looks like.
The apostille is basically authenticating the signature of the county clerk, notary public or other public official on the document that the apostille is attached to and is used by the receiving authority to ensure that the documents were not created fraudulently. The apostille does not validate the actual contents of the document, which is clearly stated in the Hague Conference on International Law’s Guidelines that are distributed by the California Secretary of State, but the signatures of the parties involved.