If your document was issued in the USA and is to be used in the country that is also a party to The Hague Apostille Convention of October 5, 1961, then most likely you will need an apostille at the U.S. Department of State. Please use this link in this case.
However, if you intend to use your documents in a country that is not a party to The Hague Apostille Convention, authentication at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, DC is usually a pre-final step in the chain legalization process prior legalization at a foreign Embassy/Consulate.
How to Use Our USDOS Authentication Service
WDC Apostille & Legalization Services can speedily arrange authentication of clients' documents by the U.S. Department of State. We can offer regular or economy service with discounts for multiple documents. Please check out Our Service Fees.
It is super-easy to use our services if you follow the below suggested algorithm of actions:
- You contact us preferably by email explaining your document situation. If it is urgent, you can call us 24/7. Please provide as many details as possible about your documents but the key information we usually need is: 1) who issued them, 2) where you intend to use them, 3) how many you have, 4) are they originals or notarized copies, 5) how fast you need them back and 6) the destination they need to be sent to. If your shipment destination (after processing) is neither in the USA nor in Canada, then we would need the exact address including postal code so that we can give you exact courier quote.
- We will reply by email as well as fast as we can with our comments, suggestions, questions and/or confirmation with preliminary or final quote.
- You can then write us back with additional questions, comments or concerns. Or you may just be satisfied and ready to send your documents.
- At this stage we agree on the course of action and our services. You would make the payment, ship the documents and email us the tracking # so that we can start tracking your inbound shipment and provide you interim updates.
- We will complete your service request and ship the documents back to your agreed destination either in your attached prepaid envelope with filled out air waybill or in our envelope (but we would have to charge you extra for this service). If you prefer, we can scan the completed documents and email them to you prior outbound shipment so you would know that we did indeed do everything as previously discussed.
- After shipment is sent, we will email you the tracking # so that you can monitor the arrival.
Thus, prior sending documents to us, you are encouraged to get a quote based on your specific document situation or contact us if you have any questions. This is an important step as we can help you to ensure you did not miss any requirements by state agencies and foreign governments.
Guidelines for Successful Authentication at the U.S. Department of State
Documents submitted for authentication at the U.S. Department of State and possibly subsequent legalization at a foreign embassy/consulate/mission can be either a certified original or notarized/certified copy. In most general cases they can be photocopies certified as true and accurate copy of the document but in certain cases requiring special handling they need to be originals or certificates ready for international use. This is due to requirements by individual States and foreign countries who in certain cases do not accept copies of particular document types.
Please note that all seals and signatures must be originals and all dates must follow in chronological order. All documents in a foreign language must be accompanied with a certified (notarized) English translation.
The below table shows various examples and specific requirements by the U.S. Department of State but it is best if you also contact us in advance prior sending your documents as professionals at WDC Apostille & Legalization Services deal with such issues on a daily basis and may know about additional unofficial or unpublished requirements.
|Document Type||Document Example||Acceptable Form||It must be:|
|Federal Agency Documents||Documents executed by Federal Agencies and Courts of the District of Columbia such as the U.S. Department of Justice, Library of Congress, Superior Court of the District of Columbia, Court of Appeals, Department of Commerce, etc.||Certified originals||Certified under the Official Seal of the Agency or the Court (original official signature required)|
|General||Diplomas, Powers-of-Attorney, Agreements, Bylaws, Transcripts, Deeds of Assignments, etc.||Notarized and certified true and accurate copy of the document||Acknowledged before a notary public with the statement that it is a true and accurate copy|
|Certified by the clerk of court of the county in which the notary is commissioned (not necessary if Secretary of State will certify directly to the notary)|
|Certified by the Secretary of State of the State in which the document is executed|
|Vital Records - Require Special Handling||Birth, Marriage and Death Certificates||Certified originals||Certified by the custodial of those records|
|Certified by the Secretary of State of the State in which the documents are recorded. The Secretary of State should be requested to certify to the officials signing the document under the impressed Seal of the State|
|Court Records - Require Special Handling||Divorce Decrees, Probate Will, Judgments etc.||Certified originals||Certified by the custodial of those records|
|Certified by the Secretary of State of the State in which the documents are recorded. The Secretary of State should be requested to certify to the officials signing the document under the impressed Seal of the State.|
We hope to hear from you soon!