1961 Hague Convention
According to the HCCH (Hague Convention on Private International Law) the 1961 Hague Convention facilitates the use of public documents abroad. The purpose of the Convention is to abolish the traditional requirement of legalization, replacing the often long and costly legalization process with the issuance of a single Apostille certificate by a Competent Authority in the place where the document originates. The Convention was created to simplify the process of authenticating documents to be used abroad.
An apostille is a certificate to authenticate seals and signatures on a public document to be used in a country that participates in the 1961 Hague Convention. All Things Notary® provides our clients with the convenience of completing the apostille process on their behalf.
Document legalization is required when the country of intent/destination does not participate in the 1961 Hague Convention. In this case, the documents to be used abroad are required to be processed through the Consulate or Embassy.
Determine if your destination country or country of intent is a member of the Hague Convention.
Competent Authority in the U.S. https://www.hcch.net/en/states/authorities/details3/?aid=353
Travel.org is an informative site for someone planning to travel abroad.