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Legal Resources

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Legal Resources

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.   
  • Fillable PDF, DS-4194

 

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.

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State and Local Documents

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.
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Federally-Issued Documents

Examples of Federally Issued documents include:

  • Animal/Plant Certifications (issued by U.S. Department of Agriculture)
  • Animal Health certifications (issued by U.S. Department of Agriculture)
  • FBI – Back ground check (issued by U.S. Department of Justice)
  • U.S. Federal Court Documents check (issued by U.S. Department of Justice)
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court check (issued by U.S. Department of Justice)
  • Immigration Certifications check (issued by U.S. Department of Homeland Security)
  • Certificate of Foreign Governments (issued by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)
  • Certificate of Pharmaceutical/Export (issued by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)
  • Trademark (Issued by U.S. Patent and Trademark Office)
  • Other documents issued by Environmental Protection Agency, Social Security Administration, or 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.

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Documents issued by the 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)

Requirements:

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