Requesting Authentication Services

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You can request authentication services in three ways:

1. By Mail

Reminders:

  • Check if an authentication certificate or an apostille is needed.
  • Plan ahead. The average processing time for mail-in requests is approximately 12 business days from the date of receipt by the Office of Authentications.
  • Review the certification requirements for each of your document(s).

What to include when you request authentications by mail:

  • A completed Request of Authentications Service DS-4194 form – specify the document’s country of use in Section 4
  • The document(s) requiring authentication services
  • Fees
  • One self-addressed, prepaid envelope for return of your document (don't include FedEx)

Mail your packet to the following address:

Office of Authentications
U.S. Department of State
CA/PPT/S/TO/AUT
44132 Mercure Circle
P.O. Box 1206
Sterling, VA  20166-1206

Note:

  • We recommend using trackable mail from USPS. You'll receive an update when your mail has reached our mail distribution center but not our physical office location. 
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2. By Appointment (only for urgent cases)

Hours: 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m.-2:30 p.m.
             
Monday through Friday (except federal holidays)

  • To schedule an appointment, call 202-485-8000.
  • We do not accept walk-in appointments. Appointments are for urgent cases only. 

Criteria for urgent cases:

  • Life-or-death situations which include: serious illness, injury, or death of a family member.
  • Proof of international travel within 48 hours.
Bring the following items to your appointment:
  • A completed Request of Authentications Service DS-4194 form – specify the document’s country of use in Section 4
  • The document(s) requiring authentication services
  • Fees
  • Documentation of emergency and proof of international travel

Note:

  • Third parties may schedule an appointment but we will only offer the next available appointments to customers submitting their own documents in-person. 

 

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3. By Drop-Off and Pick-Up

Hours: 8:00 a.m.-9:00 a.m.
          
Monday through Friday (except federal holidays)

Drop-off and pick-up service is for customers who need routine, non-urgent service. 

When you drop off your documents, we will do an initial review and give you a receipt with a pick-up date. The turnaround time is 3 business days. 

Please bring

  • A completed Request of Authentications Service DS-4194 form – specify the document’s country of use in Section 4
  • The document(s) requiring authentication services. Customers are limited to submitting 15 documents per day.
  • Fees

To pick up your documents, return between 8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. on your pick-up date with your original document receipt. 

Fees

We charge $8 to authenticate each document you submit. You can pay via credit card, check or money order, or cash.

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Pay by Credit Card

  • Bring a valid photo ID.
  • Credit cards are accepted for pick-up and appointment service only. 
  • Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express are accepted. 
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Pay by Check or Money Order

  • Checks are acceptable using pick-up, appointment, and mail-in services. 
  • Personal or company checks, and money orders must be submitted with mail-in document(s). 
  • Checks and money orders are payable to the U.S. Department of State.
  • You must pay a $25 fee if your check is returned for nonsufficient funds.
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Pay by Cash

  • Cash is acceptable only for pick-up and appointment service.
  • The exact amount is required. No change is provided.
  • Please do not send cash in the mail.