Travel.State.Gov > Records and Authentications > Authenticate Your Document > Authentication of American Academic Credentials for Use Abroad
U.S. embassies and consulates cannot authenticate diplomas or other documents from universities and other schools in the United States or provide notarial services related to such credentials.
The U.S. Department of State and our embassies and consulates abroad ceased to authenticate or provide certified true copies of academic credentials, transcripts or degrees in 1983. The U.S. Department of Education determined at that time that such documents are not required in the United States for persons who studied abroad and wish to attend primary or secondary school, or college in the United States. This was announced in a joint release by the U.S. Departments of State and Education published in the NAFSA newsletter of December/January 1983. See 7 FAM 874. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security also determined that authentication of foreign academic credentials generally is not required for U.S. immigration purposes. In an effort to be of assistance to persons who wish to present academic credentials from the United States for use abroad, the following step-by-step guidance is provided.
It is important to note that the authentication procedures outlined above are not intended to verify the content of the underlying documents, but rather they authenticate the seal and signature of public officials, in this case notaries public. An authentication on a transcript does not certify that the person named on the transcript completed a particular course of study, rather it authenticates the signature and seal of the notary who witnessed the registrar’s affidavit. Persons relying on academic credentials should be aware that there are individuals and groups who issue fake academic credentials for a fee. While these documents may be attested to in a notarized affidavit and thus authenticated, persons with concerns about credentials emanating from these “Diploma Mills” should attempt to verify the accreditation status of the school where the documents originated. For U.S. academic credentials, the U.S. Department of Education maintains a Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs.