US Department of State Authentication

US Federal ApostilleThe U.S. Department of State office of authentications is located in Washington, D.C. This government office handles the processing of documents for foreign countries who are and who are not members of the Hague Apostille Convention.

The U.S. Department of State issues both certificates and Apostilles. The determination of which certificate is issued is based on the country in which the document will be used. Countries who are members of the Hague Apostille Convention, will receive an apostille. For countries who are not members, a certificate will be attached.

At International Apostille Services, Inc., we take the guesswork out of getting an apostille from the U.S. Department of State. Our trained and knowledgeable staff have years of experience processing all types of Federal documents through this office. These documents include: FBI background checks, Social Security letters, IRS form 6166, and more!

This short video will help explain the process:

The very first step is to contact our Washington DC apostille office. Our trained and knowledgeable are available Monday – Saturday from 8am to 7pm to answer your questions and to provide you easy to follow step-by-step instructions. Once we receive your documents, we will submit them to the US Department of State the next business morning.

Apostilles can be complicated. Don’t leave this process to untrained employees or non-professionals who do not fully understand the Apostille process and the unique requirements of certain countries. Your paperwork could be rejected costing you time and money. Don’t let this happen to you!

Click to download our California Apostille order form. Our Apostille service is fast, convenient, and saves you time and money.

US Federal Documents Apostille

Do you have a document issued by the US Federal Government which requires an Apostille?  We can authenticate documents issued from the following Federal Executive and Judicial Branches of the United States Government:

US Department of Agriculture (USDA)
– Animal/Plant Certifications
– Animal Health Certifications

US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
– Certificate of Foreign Governments
– Certificate of Pharmaceutical/Export

US Department of Justice (DOJ)
– FBI Back ground check (FBI Apostille)

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)
– Trademark

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
– Certificate of Naturalization

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Social Security Administration (SSA)
– Letters

Office of Personnel Management

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)

Judicial Branches of Government
– U.S. Federal Court Documents
– U.S. Bankruptcy Court
– U.S. Court of Appeals

Documents issued by the US Federal Government will need to be authenticated by the US Department of State in Washington DC.  You can either mail your document to our office in Washington, DC or in Los Angeles. Processing time with the US Department of State is 3-4 business days.  Please allow additional time for shipping.  You can also visit our Washington DC Apostille website for more information.

Click to download our California Apostille order form. Our Apostille service is fast, convenient, and saves you time and money.

Legalization International Law

Legalization is a process of authenticating documents for use in a country that is not a member of the Hague Apostille Convention.   This is a more complex process than the simple California Apostille.  Apostilles are issued for countries who are members of the Hague Apostille Convention.  If the destination country is not a member, then a certification will be applied at the State and the U.S. Department of State level.

The chart to your right helps clarify the steps involved.  Please keep in mind that not all documents require notarization and not every country will ask you to complete all the steps.  Birth, Death, and Marriage certified originals are issued by the local County Clerk’s office.  A Divorce Decree is issued by the Superior Court.  These kind of documents do not require notarization and can be sent to our office for immediate processing with the California Secretary of State.

The California Secretary of State authenticates signatures only on documents issued in the State of California signed by a notary public or the following public officials and their deputies:

  • County Clerks, Registrar-Recorder
  • Court Administrators of the Superior Court
  • Executive Clerks of the Superior Court
  • Officers whose authority is not limited to any particular county
  • Executive Officers of the Superior Court
  • Judges of the Superior Court
  • Notaries Public
  • State Officials

Once your documents have been certified at the California Secretary of State’s Office, the next step is to have your documents certified at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C.  Our affiliate office is located in this district allowing us to process your documents quickly (1-3 business days).

The U.S. Department of State will authenticate the signature of the California Secretary of State and a certificate will be attached.  Once complete, your documents are now ready to be legalized at the Embassy or Consulate office.

Every industry has their own special lingo.  Some of the following words are used interchangeably by others so we’ll help clarify the real meaning.

1. Apostille – A document issued by the Secretary of State which is destined to a country who is a member of the Hague Apostille Convention.

2. Certification – A document issued by the Secretary of State which is destined to a country who is NOT a member of the Hague Apostille convention.

3. Authentication – This is what the California Secretary of State and the US Department of State does.  They authenticate the signature of the person who signed the document.

4. Legalization – Refers to what the Consul or Embassy does.

5. Attestation – Refers to being sworn in that everything is true and correct written on the document.  Basically taking an oath.

Click to download our California Apostille order form. Our Apostille service is fast, convenient, and saves you time and money.

US Department of State Authentication

In addition to providing California Apostille Services, we also provide document Authentication, Apostille, and Certification through the US Department of State in Washington D.C.

Though most Apostilles and Certifications issued by the California Secretary of State are sufficient enough for the receiving country, some countries (usually non-Hague Apostille Member Countries) will request the document to be Authenticated by the US Department of State in Washington, D.C.

View a list of Hague Apostille Member Countries

The first step in obtaining a US Department of State Authentication is to first receive an Apostille or Certification from the California Secretary of State.  We can also help you if you’ve received an Apostille or Certification from any of the Secretary of State offices including Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

 The most common type of business documents we receive are:
  • Articles of Incorporation
  • Certificate of Free Sale
  • Certificate of Foreign Government
  • Certificate of Origin
  • Commercial Invoice
  • Corporate Documents
  • Department of Health and Human Services Documents
  • Food and Drug (FDA) Administration Documents
  • Patent
  • Power of Attorney
We also receive personal documents which require authentication.  These document include:
  • Marriage Licenses, Divorce agreements, Divorce Decree
  • Birth Certificates, Marriage Certificates, Death Certificates
  • Single Status to Marry, No record of a Marriage
  • Criminal Record – Criminal Background Check
  • FBI Criminal Background Check
  • Local Police, Sherriff’s Department, etc…
  • Power of Attorney – General, Special, Finance, Real Estate etc.
  • Notarized copies of Passport, Affidavits, and other documents
  • Papers for Adoption purposes
  • Transcripts (High School, College, University, or any other issuing agency)
  • Diploma, Degree Certificates, Graduation Records
  • Permission to Travel, Consent by Parent(s) to travel with Minor Children
Please note: If your documents are destined for a country who is a member of the Hague Apostille Convention, your document will receive an Apostille.  For documents sent to countries who are non-members of The Hague Apostille Convention, your documents will receive a Certification.

Click to download our California Apostille order form. Our Apostille service is fast, convenient, and saves you time and money.