Authentication Certificate Requirements

Authentication certificates are for documents you use in countries not in the 1961 Hague Convention Treaty.

Before submitting documents to us, you must:

1) Get a notary public to notarize each document:

  • Using a county notary? Go to the clerk of court first and then a state office, such as a secretary of state. 
  • Using a state notary? Go to a state office, such as a secretary of state.
2) Make sure seals and signatures are originals
  • Get a certified copy from a notary public. A certified copy is a copy of a primary document with a certificate on it that it is the true copy.
  • Get records, court documents, and federally-issued documents certified at the state level.

3) Get any documents in a foreign language translated into English. Get the translation notarized. 

4) After you get your document(s) notarized, mail your Form DS-4194 and documents to us.


Requirements for Each Type of Document

State and Local Documents


  • Birth certificates 
  • Marriage certificates 
  • Death certificates
  • Divorce decrees 
  • Probate wills 
  • Judgments

Your state and local documents must:

  • Be an original or certified document
  • Include the raised or stamped seal of the court or department of vital records
  • Be certified by the state which issued the documents. The secretary of state will certify to the official signing the document under the seal of the state.

Federally-Issued Documents

Examples include:

  • Animal and plant certifications, or animal health certifications (issued by U.S. Department of Agriculture)
  • Federal court documents, and FBI background checks (issued by U.S. Department of Justice)
    • Do not notarize FBI background checks        
  • Immigration certifications (issued by U.S. Department of Homeland Security)
  • Certificate of foreign governments (issued by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, or HHS)
  • Certificate of pharmaceutical product or export (issued by HHS)
  • Trademark (issued by U.S. Patent and Trademark Office)
  • Other documents issued by the Environmental Protection Agency, Social Security Administration, or Office of Personnel Management

Your federal documents must:

  • Be executed by U.S. federal agencies
  • Include a legible signature of the official's name, printed name and title, and seal of the agency
  • Be on agency letterhead

Other Documents

Examples include:

  • Affidavits 
  • Agreements 
  • Articles of Incorporation 
  • Bylaws 
  • Commercial invoices 
  • Copy of a U.S. passport (data page only)
  • Deeds of assignment
  • Diplomas 
  • Home study 
  • Income verification 
  • Powers-of-Attorney 
  • Single status 
  • Transcripts 
  • Other business documents
Last Updated: May 31, 2024