The U.S. Department of State's Office of Authentications issues both apostilles and authentication certificates. If you need U.S. Department of State documents to be authenticated, please refer to the Office of Vital Records.
In accordance with 22 CFR, Part 131, the Office of Authentications provides signed certificates of authenticity for a variety of documents to individuals, institutions, and government agencies. Examples of documents that may require authentication for use abroad include:
Apostilles authenticate the seals and signatures of officials on public documents such as birth certificates, court orders, or any other document issued by a public authority so that they can be recognized in foreign countries that are members of the 1961 Hague Convention Treaty.
The U.S. Department of State only issues apostilles for federal documents to use in countries that are members of the 1961 Hague Convention.
For more information on the requirements for apostilles, please see Apostille Requirements.
Authentication certificates are issued by the U.S. Department of State for the same purpose as Apostilles but for use in countries that are not members to the 1961 Hague Convention Treaty.