Information concerning the Authentication and Legalization of
documents at the U.S. Secretary of State, the U.S. Department of State
and Foreign Embassies.
Notarized documents - Tell us in which country each document will
be used. If a document needs to be legalized for more than one country,
you must submit a separate notarized original of the document for each
Documents already certified by the Secretary of State of the state
where the document was executed (notarized). Tell us in which country
each document will be used.
We will obtain the U.S. State Department authentication and/or embassy
Note: Documents which are certified under the official seal
of a Federal agency do not need to be notarized and certified by the
Secretary of State. Tell us in which country it will be used and
we will obtain the U.S. State Department authentication or apostille
certification and embassy legalization.
Facts on Document Authentication and Legalization
Documents issued in one country to be used in another country must be
"authenticated" and/or "legalized" before they can be recognized as
valid in the foreign country. This is a process in which various seals
and signatures are placed on the document.
The number and type of authentication certificates you will need to
obtain depends on the nature of the document and whether or not the
foreign country is a party to the multilateral treaty on "legalization"
If your document is intended for use in a country which is a party to a
treaty called the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of
Legalization for Foreign Public Documents ("Hague Legalization
Convention"), obtaining a special "apostille" certificate is generally
all that is required. Click HERE for list of countries
that have joined “The Hague Convention.”
If the country where the document will be used is not a party to The
Hague Convention, you will have to begin the cumbersome, time-consuming
process of obtaining a series of certifications known as the "chain
authentication method". This is literally a paper chase in which
authorities will have to attest to the validity of a succession of
seals beginning with your document and ending with the seal of the
foreign embassy or consulate in the United States.
The following conditions must be met for all documents requiring
All seals and signatures must be originals.
All dates must follow in chronological order on all
All documents in foreign text must be accompanied with a
certified (notarized) English translation.
Whenever a copy (if acceptable) is used, it must include a
statement that it is a true and accurate copy.
Foreign governments require the U.S. Department of State to
authenticate documents in order for the documents to be considered
Requirements for authentication: (signed before a notary public)
Certified by the Clerk of Court of the county in which the notary is
Certified by the Secretary of State of the state in which the document
* Not necessary if the authority in item 5c will certify directly to
STATE AND LOCAL DOCUMENTS
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.
FEDERAL AGENCY DOCUMENTS
Certified under the official seal of a Federal agency
ANIMAL HEALTH CERTIFICATES
Must be certified under the official Seal of the United Sates
Department of Agriculture in the state in which the document originates.
If your document is to be used in one of the countries on “The Hague
Convention” list, it should be:
Certified by the Clerk of Court of the county
Certified with the Apostille by the Secretary of State of the state in
which the document is being executed.
After the above steps have been fulfilled, the document requires no
authentication by the U.S. Department of State. It is ready to go
directly to the country of use.
Documents requiring certification with the Apostille by the U.S.
Department of State are the ones which have been executed under a
Federal agency seal or certified by an American or foreign consul.
The most common types of documents submitted for authentication
and legalization include:
powers of attorney
patents and patent applications
certificate of free sale
certificate of origin
certificate of assignment
certificate of analysis
deeds of assignment
Certificate to Foreign Government
Certificate of a Pharmaceutical Product
Food and Drug (FDA) Administration Documents
Department of Health and Human Services Documents
corporate documents, such as:
articles of incorporation
certificates of amendment
certificate of naturalization
shipping documents (commercial invoice and certificate of origin)
records required for adoption of non-U.S. citizen children
certificates of non-marital status
references and job certification
FBI Fingerprint or Police Report
U.S. Department of Justice Document
Documents issued by the US District Court
school records, including:
letters relating to degrees
Authentication by the Secretary of State (of the state where the
document was notarized)
Authentication by the U.S. Department of State
Legalization by a consulate/embassy (like Embassy of China,
Embassy of Qatar, Embassy of Kuwait, Embassy of United Arab Emirates,
Embassy of Saudi Arabia, Embassy of Vietnam, Embassy of Taiwan, Embassy
of Thailand, etc.)
Apostille certification by the U.S. Department of State or the
Secretary of state where the document was notarized
Certification by the National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce OR by
the American Egyptian Cooperation Foundation
Apostille Service of the FBI Background Check issued by the US
Department of Justice
Apostille Service of a Certified Copy of the Certificate of
Naturalization issued by the regional office of the Department of
Homeland Security (Citizenship and Immigration Services) or INS - Form
G-24, Certification of Documents.
Obtain authentication, legalization or apostille at the US State
Department and/or the embassy for documents issued outside the USA (for
example: corporate documents issued from Cayman Islands or the Bahamas
needs to be used or legalize by the Embassy of United Arab Emirates)
Obtain authentication at the US Department of Justice for
documents issued by a US District Court (like US Bankruptcy Court, etc.)
Obtain apostille for documents issued by the International
Revenue Service (Department of Treasury) - Form 6166, etc.
Obtain apostille or authentication or legalization for documents
issued by the US Department of Health and Human Services (like CFG -
Certificate to Foreign Government, CPP - Certificate to Pharmaceutical
Products, Certificate of Free Sale)
Obtain apostille or authentication or legalization for documents
issued by the Social Security Administration Office
Obtain "apostille" on documents issued by the US Patent and
Trademark Office (like Certified Copy of Assignments)
Obtain "apostille" for US Department of Agriculture document
Retrieval of certificate of incorporation (like Delaware and
Retrieval of certified copy of a document from the US Patent and
Trademark Office (USPTO) - like certified copy of assignments)
Obtain an "Apostille" on the Consular Report of Birth (FS240)
Obtain "Certificate of Good Conduct" for Qatar
We can provide authentication and legalization of apostille
of Affidavit of Single Status for China.