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Authentication Certificate Requirements

Prior to submitting documents requiring authentication, certain requirements must be met and are as follows:

  • All seals and signatures must be original and all the dates must follow in chronological order.
  • All documents that in a foreign language must be accompanied with a certified (notarized) English translation. 
  • Please submit a completed Request of Authentications Service DS-4194 form with all of your requests. In Section 4 of the DS-4194, the Country of Use for each document must be specified before the document(s) can be processed.   
  • Online, editable version DS-4194 (for Internet Explorer use only)   
  • Printable, PDF version DS-4194 (for all web browsers) 

Requirements for Documents

Specific requirements must be met before the document(s) can be authenticated, but those requirements can vary, depending on the type of document(s) requiring authentication services.

Select the type of document below to determine specific requirements for authentication services.

General Documents

Examples of general documents include:

  • Affidavits 
  • Agreements 
  • Articles of Incorporation 
  • Bylaws 
  • Commercial Invoices 
  • Copy of a U.S. Passport (identification page only) 
  • Deeds of Assignment
  • Diplomas 
  • Home Study 
  • Income Verification 
  • Powers-of-Attorney 
  • Single Status 
  • Transcripts 
  • Other business documents

Requirements for general documents include:

  • Acknowledged by a notary public;
  • Certified by the clerk of court from the county in which the notary is commissioned; and
  • Certified by the Secretary of State from the state in which the document was executed.

Note:  Item #2 may be omitted if the authority in item 3 will certify directly to the notary.

  • Documents originating in the District of Columbia must be certified by the Secretary of the District of Columbia Notarial Section.

State and Local

Examples of State and Local documents include:

  • Birth Certificates 
  • Marriage Certificates 
  • Death Certificates
  • Divorce Decrees 
  • Probate Wills 
  • Judgments

Requirements for State and Local documents include:

  • Must submit the original document that contains the raised and/or stamped seal of the court or Department of vital records.
  • Certified original.
  • Certified by the Secretary of State from the state in which the documents were recorded. The Secretary of State will certify to the official signing the document under the Seal of the State.

Federally Issued

Examples of Federally Issued documents include:

U.S. Department of Agriculture

  • Animal/Plant Certifications
  • Animal Health certifications

U.S. Department of Justice

  • FBI – Back ground check 
  • U.S. Federal Court Documents 
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court 

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

  • Immigration Certifications

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

  • Certificate of Foreign Governments 
  • Certificate of Pharmaceutical/Export 

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

  • Trademark

Environmental Protection Agency

Social Security Administration

Office of Personnel Management

Requirements for Federally Issued documents include:

  • Executed by U.S. federal agencies.
  • Have an official’s original and/or stamped signature with the raised and/or stamped seal of the agency.

Note:  Agency letter head is accepted.

Superior Court of the District of Columbia and the District of Columbia Court of Appeals

Examples include:

  • Marriage Certificates (Issued in the District of Columbia)


  • Document must have the original official signature and the raised seal of the court.

Office of Authentications

Physical Address:

  Office of Authentications
  U.S. Department of State
  600 19th Street, NW
  Washington, DC 20006

Mailing Address:

Office of Authentications
U.S. Department of State
44132 Mercure CIR PO BOX 1206 Sterling, VA 20166 1206

Note:  Effective October 6, 2014, all express mail air bill labels sent to the Office of Authentications for the use of returning documents must reflect the customer’s mailing address as both the sender and recipient.    



  Note: During inclement weather
  conditions, please check the OPM
  Website to determine the open status
  of the Federal Government.

Telephone Inquiries

To inquire about the status of your documents, please call the Office of Authentications:

Phone:  202-485-8000

  9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. and 
  1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. EST
  Monday through Friday

When calling for a telephone inquiry, you must indicate whether a request form DS-4194 (PDF version) was submitted and provide the following:

* Full name and/or name of company
* Type of document(s)
* Country of use
* Number of document(s)
* Complete return address
* Type of mail service used to return the
   document(s) if applicable; include
   tracking number
* Type of payment submitted 

Schedule an Appointment

To schedule an appointment or speak with an Authentications Specialist, please call the Office of Authentications:

Phone:  202-485-8000

  9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. and 
  1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. EST
  Monday through Friday

Appointment Services:

  10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. and 
  2:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
  Monday through Friday

  Note:  All Federal Holidays are