Authentication is the process of proving that a foreign public document is genuine. A foreign document can be authenticated by a local notary public or the public authority or government official issuing it whose authority can further be certified by a more authoritative authority known as Apostille.
The reason that a foreign party asks you to authenticate the foreign public document by a local notary is simple. Each foreign public document serves a particular purpose. For example
- a marriage certificate proves a valid marriage,
- a death certificate confirms the death of a person, and
- a birth certificate shows the identity of one's parents.
The problem is different countries issue different public documents in different forms and languages. It is a common practice that a foreign public document can only be accepted if it is authenticated.