Authentication by the U.S. Department of State in Washington, DC
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 a pre-final step in the chain legalization process prior legalization at a foreign Embassy/Consulate.
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 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at Canada Legalization Services deal with such issues on a daily basis and may know about additional unofficial or unpublished requirements.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.|
Canada Legalization Services via its partners/agents in Washington, DC can speedily arrange authentication of clients' documents by the U.S. Department of State. We can offer regular or rush service with discounts for multiple documents. Because we have a reciprocal discount system for our U.S. partners/agents for servicing their documents in Canada, they offer us special rates in the U.S. so a client using us will not pay more than he/she would have paid if the U.S. agents were used directly.
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.