Requesting Authentication Services

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 5 to 6 weeks 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.

Authentication Fee Increase

Effective July 15, 2021, authentication fees have increased to $20, per document, for all services, including rejections and requests that are not ready to be processed by our office because they require additional certification. Please make sure to mail the correct fee with your request to avoid any delays in service.

Form DS-4194, Request for Authentication Service, has expired and includes the previous fee. You should use the expired form when requesting services, but you need to include the new fee of $20. We will post the updated version of the form when it is available.”

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You can request authentication services in three ways:

1. By Mail

You should expect delays in processing your authentications request during the COVID-19 pandemic. It may take us 5-6 weeks to process your request form the date we receive it. Please consider waiting to send your request until we resume normal operations.

Reminders:

  • Check if an authentication certificate or an apostille is needed.
  • Plan ahead. You should expect delays processing your request for authentication services as we resume operations in phases during COVID-19. 
  • 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)

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

  • 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:

You may be eligible for urgent service if your immediate family member has died or is seriously ill or injured while abroad and you need to travel outside of the United States within 72 hours (3 business days). Immediate family members include parents, legal guardians, children, spouses, siblings, and grandparents.

  • Proof of the life-or-death emergency such as a death certificate, a statement from a mortuary, or a signed letter from a hospital or medical professional.  Documents must be in English or translated in English by a professional translator.
  • Proof of international travel (itinerary, ticket, reservation) within 48 hours.
  • A completed Request of Authentications Service DS-4194 form – provide the document’s country of use in Section 4
  • The document(s) requiring authentication services
  • Fees

Note:

  • Third party companies 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

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

Fees

We charge $20 to authenticate each document you submit for all services, including rejections and requests that are not ready to be processed by our office because they require additional certification.

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Pay by Check or Money Order

  • Personal or company checks, and money orders must be submitted with mail-in document(s).
    • We cannot accept temporary, starter, or bank fill-in checks.
    • All check numbers must be over 100.
    • Checks must be dated within the last six months.
  • Checks and money orders are payable to the U.S. Department of State.
    • Name and address must be pre-printed on the check without changes.    
  • You must pay a $25 fee if your check is returned for nonsufficient funds.