Office of Authentications

Office of Authentications Delays

Due to public health measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, you should expect delays processing your request for authentication services. It may take us 2-3 months to process your request from the date we receive it. Please consider waiting to mail your request until we resume normal operations.  

We have suspended in-person counter service during the COVID-19 pandemic and are only offering mail-in service at this time.

Our team has been heavily impacted by COVID-19 and we are experiencing extremely high call volumes. We are working to safely add resources to make sure we answer your inquiries and address new and pending cases as quickly as possible.

Physical Address:
Office of Authentications
600 19th St. NW
Washington, DC 20006

Mailing Address:
U.S. Department of State
Office of Authentications
CA/PPT/S/TO/AUT
44132 Mercure Cir.
PO Box 1206
Sterling, VA 20166-1206

Hours: 
Walk-Ins
Suspended due to COVID-19

Appointment Services
Suspended due to COVID-19

Phone: 202-485-8000
8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Monday-Friday
Closed Federal Holidays

 

Submit a Request:  Request Authentications Services by completing Form DS-4194. Be sure to include the document's country of use in Section 4 of Form DS-4194.

Our Mission: The Office of Authentications issues both apostilles (for documents used in participating Hague countries) and authentication certificates (for documents used in nonparticipating Hague countries). If you need U.S. Department of State documents to be authenticated, please refer to the Office of Vital Records.

The Office of Authentications provides signed certificates of authenticity for a variety of documents to individuals, institutions, and government agencies to be used abroad. The country in which the document will be used determines the type of certificate needed.

  • An apostille is for documents to be used in countries that participate in the 1961 Hague Convention Treaty.
  • Authentication certificates are for documents to be used in countries that do not participate in the 1961 Hague Convention Treaty.

Examples of documents that may require authentication for use abroad include:

  • company bylaws
  • dossiers
  • powers of attorney
  • trademarks
  • diplomas
  • treaties
  • warrants
  • extraditions
  • agreements
  • certificates of good standing
  • courier letters

 

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Apostilles

Apostilles authenticate the seals and signatures of officials on public documents such as birth certificates, court orders, or any other document issued by a federal agency or certified by a U.S. or foreign consul. An apostille certifies the document(s), so the document 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.

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Authentications Certificates

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.

For more information, please see Authentication Certification Requirements and Requesting Authentication Services and Fees