boat registration, british virgin islands yacht registration, marine documentation, USA
10 December, 2023

The United States Coast Guard requires that a Bill of Sale be notarized by a US Notary. If the Bill of Sale is notarized by a non-US Notary, from a country that is a member of the Hague Convention, then an Apostille must be obtained and attached to the Bill of Sale. Otherwise the USCG considers it as "unrecordable".

Many people do not know what an Apostille is… Well, according to Wikipedia…

The Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement for Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents is one of 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 (a French word meaning certification). It is an international certification comparable to a notarisation in domestic law.

In signatory countries apostilles are affixed by Competent Authorities. (ABCs of Apostilles n.d. p. 13). A list of these authorities is available on the web from the Hague Conference Private International Law. For example, in the United States, the Secretary of State of each state and his or her deputies are usually competent authorities. In the United Kingdom all apostilles are issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London.

To be eligible for an apostille, a document must first be certified by an officer recognized by the authority that will issue the apostille. For example, in the US state of Vermont, the Secretary of State maintains specimen signatures of all notaries public, so documents that have been notarised are eligible for apostilles. (Authentication 2009). Likewise, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office is equipped to verify the signature affixed to any public document issued in the United Kingdom.

In some cases, intermediate certifications may be required in the country where the document originates before it will be eligible for an apostille. For example, in New York City the Office of Vital Records (which issues, among other things, birth certificates) is not directly recognised by the New York Secretary of State. (Birth certificate application 2010) As a consequence, the signature of the City Clerk must be certified by the County Clerk of New York County to make the birth certificate eligible for an apostille. (Crampton 2007, Apostiles n.d.)


Members of the Hague Conference

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