International Service of Process
International Service of Process Information
International Process Server Resources
|Authentication of Foreign Documents
There are generally two ways to authenticate documents from, and for use
in, foreign countries. The first is through use of the Hague Convention
Abolishing the Legalization of Foreign Public Documents which applies a
standardized certificate, apostille, to a document verifying its
authenticity. The apostille is a document in which form and content has
been agreed to by the nations that have chosen to become signatory.
Legalization convention countries.
The second method is chain authentication which is a sequence of
authorized signatures, beginning with the original signature, such as a
notary or court officer, then verified by a state, federal or judicial
agency, and then the state, federal or judicial agency's verification is
further verified by the foreign country's consular representation in the
United States, or the United States' consular representation in the
There are many circumstances where authentication is required or
recommended. There are a few countries signatory to the Hague Service
Convention, Hague Evidence Convention and Inter-American Convention that
require authentication of all documents being forwarded for formal
Documents from abroad to be used in a foreign court are required to be
authenticated. Additionally, many state courts require that personal
service affidavits be authenticated if not provided by a foreign
judicial authority in connection with formal service through one of the
Service of judicial documents through an international treaty or
convention, such as the Hague Service Convention and the Inter-American
Convention, is the formally recognized and recommended method. Once the
process server agency is provided with a copy of the documents and a
valid address for service, generally the process server agency takes
care of all the necessary steps to perfect your service.
|Service By Agent
A common misconception made by nearly every attorney or legal service
professional in the United State is that process servers (as they are
known in the U.S.) are available in all other countries around the
The fact is that they are rarely available. There are few countries
that allow private process service as an option within their judicial
systems. Because of this, private process servers are non-existent.
Most foreign courts require that a court officer, court appointed
attorney or judicial bailiff (huissier) serve process emanating from
their courts or received from a foreign judicial authority.
Court officers and court appointed attorneys will generally only serve
process at the request and direction of their own courts. Many judicial
bailiffs (huissiers) will serve foreign process received from private
individuals in a foreign jurisdiction if it does not violate their
internal/local laws. Often, however, a judicial bailiff (huissier) will
require translation of the documents (if applicable).
When service by a private agent is not prohibited by the foreign
country, quick personal service upon foreign defendants is always
available. Our firm utilizes attorneys, judicial bailiffs (huissiers),
and private investigators, through trusted relationships which have been
cultivated over many years.
The Key to successfully serving by an agent is to ensure, whenever
possible, that all applicable service requirements are complied with in
both jurisdictions. This will guarantee you are doing everything you can
to protect your ability to enforce a judgment in the United States that
is based upon such service. Many U.S. statutes contain sections which
specify how service is to be made outside the United States.
Service by letter rogatory is effected in a foreign country absent a
treaty, convention or other agreement for service of judicial documents.
This is also the method used for acquisition of compelled evidence in a
country absent treaty, convention or other agreement for this purpose.
This method requires a current diplomatic relationship with the
destination country. If there is no Consular Convention in force between
the United States and the foreign country, letters rogatory are received
by foreign authorities on the basis of comity. A letter rogatory
request, even when diplomatic relationships exist, does not obligate the
foreign country to execute the request, but simply provides a formal and
fairly standardized mechanism through which the requests may officially
be made in a manner considered valid in the foreign jurisdiction.
A letter rogatory for execution in a foreign country is a request for
international judicial assistance, signed by the forum court here in the
United States, forwarded through diplomatic channels to the destination
country and ultimately executed through the courts of the destination
This is a formal process for use in cases where you believe you may need
ultimate enforcement of a judgment or court order in the foreign
Service by letter rogatory is a very lengthy process, often taking 6
months or more to complete, with no way to expedite the process.
Unfortunately, there are instances when this is the only option
Service by letter rogatory requires translation of all documents to be
served, including exhibits and the letter rogatory itself, into the
native or designated national language of the destination country.
Due to the fact that standard letter rogatory protocol requires
execution through State Department officials and diplomatic channels of
the country of origin, process server agencies and or attorneys can only
execute letters rogatory for cases that originate in U.S. courts.
If you have a case originating in a court outside the U.S., your best
course of action would be to contact counsel in the destination country,
or research the proper procedures and channels within your forum
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