Apostille or Legalization of Medical Fitness Certificates in the USA
For work or immigration purposes individuals are often asked to supply Medical Fitness Certificates. Foreign countries may have their pre-approved list of doctors in either USA or Canada that assess individual's health condition and issue such Certificates. In such cases, these Certificates may not need apostille or legalization. However, in majority of cases, foreign authorities may require Medical Certificates to be either apostilled or authenticated/legalized via the chain legalization process. The choice of either apostille or legalization for the Medical Fitness Certificate is dependent on the status of both the country of issuance and the country of intended use.
The below is the recommended procedure for U.S. individuals to submit the Medical Fitness Certificates in proper order with foreign country specifics taken into account in advance:
- If the foreign country has the pre-approved list of doctors, choose the one convenient for you and contact him/her to make an appointment. Ask the doctor if the Certificates are sent directly to the foreign authorities or you need to apostille or legalize them after they are in your possession. Most likely, you do not need to do anything so you may skip the below altogether.
- If the foreign country leaves it to you to find your own doctor, call your family doctor and ask if he/she issues such Certificates. However, before you talk to the doctor, you may want to find out the foreign country requirements for the actual Certificate so you know what to ask from your own doctor. Sometimes the clinics may provide elaborate Certificates on many pages with a lot of medical information but in other cases a one-page Certificate stating you are fit for work duty or immigration is all they can issue.
- If you do not have a doctor, you can easily find one in Yellow Pages or on Internet. Please read Step 2 above for format requirements.
- Find out from the foreign authorities if they require actual originals or they can accept certified true copies as well. Ask them about the translation requirements (if the language of their country is not English) and binding/sealing of multiple pages (if any).
- After you obtain the original Certificate, go to interpreter (if needed) and then to Notary to notarize either the original or the certified true copy (together with translation in the proper binding/sealing arrangement).
- If the foreign country is a signatory to The Hague Apostille Convention, then notarized document must be apostilled by the Secretary of State. Usually, you need to take the notarized Certificate to the Clerk of the Circuit Court for certification (in the notary's county) with final apostille by the Office of the Secretary of State. More information can be found here but usually this is all that is required so you may skip below Steps 7-9.
- However, if the foreign country is not a party to the Convention, then the Medical Fitness Certificate needs to be certified (commonly referred to as "standard certification") by the Secretary of State (as oppose to apostille). To get this standard certification, you would still need to take the notarized Certificate to the Clerk of the Circuit Court for certification (in the notary's county) and then to the Secretary of State certification. More information can be found here.
- After standard certification by the Secretary of State, the Certificate can be authenticated at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, DC.
- After authentication at the U.S. Department of State, the document can be legalized at a foreign Embassy/Consulate.
Canada Legalization Services via its sister company in the USA called "WDC Apostille & Legalization Services" can assist you with authentication/apostille at the US Department of State and/or foreign Embassies/Consulates in Washington, DC or New York City. We may also assist you with certification at the Secretary of State level (if you cannot for any reason do that yourself). Please contact us or request a quote if you require such service. We hope to hear from you soon!