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Apostille or Certificate of Authentication (Authentication of Public Documents)

This document provides useful information on Apostille and Certificates of Authentication.

	
		

Overview

If you wish to use a certified document from New York State in a foreign country, you will need to have the document authenticated. This authentication certifies the signature on the document and the capacity of the official who has executed the document. The authentication may also validate the seal of the official.

The New York Secretary of State authenticates public documents for use in foreign countries. Only public documents that were issued in New York State and signed by either a State Official or a County Clerk can be authenticated.

There are two types of authentication that can used in foreign countries: "Apostille" and "Certificates of Authentication." Countries that use the Apostille authentication have signed the 1961 Hague Convention abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents. Countries that are not members of the 1961 Hague Convention require a Certificate of Authentication.

An Apostille or Certificate of Authentication is issued by the New York Secretary of State through the Department of State. It is a one-page document with a blue laser printed facsimile of the New York Department of State Seal. Both the Apostille and Certificate of Authentication include the facsimile signature of the New York Secretary of State or his/her deputy.

To learn which countries follow the Hague Convention, please see the link to the list of signatory countries below. If the country in which you wish to use the document is listed, you can use an Apostille. If it is not, you should obtain a Certificate of Authentication.

Apostille:
The 1961 Hague Convention established Apostille guidelines. The Convention provides for the simplified certification of public (including notarized) documents to be used in countries that have joined the convention. Under the Hague Convention, signatory countries have agreed to recognize public documents issued by other signatory countries if those public documents are authenticated by the attachment of an internationally recognized form of authentication known as an Apostille. The Apostille ensures that public documents issued in one signatory country will be recognized as valid in another signatory country.

Certificate of Authentication:
For countries that do not accept the Apostille certification, you need a Certificate of Authentication. The New York Secretary of State issues Certificates of Authentication to authenticate public documents for use in any country that is not a member of the 1961 Hague Convention. In some cases, Certificates of Authentication may require an additional certification from the United States Department of State prior to submission to the foreign country (See the link below).

Obtaining and Preparing Documents for Authentication:

Vital Records
To obtain Birth, Death, Marriage or Divorce Records (vital records), you should make a request to the original office where the document was filed. To determine the appropriate office to obtain the vital record we suggest you refer to the New York State Department of Health web page on vital records at the link below.

Birth, Death, Marriage and Certificate of Divorce certificates submitted to the New York Department of State for an Apostille or Certificate of Authentication must first be certified by either a New York State Official or a County Clerk. The Department of State will not issue Apostilles/Certificates of Authentication without this certification.

Please Note: Birth and death certificates issued from the New York City Department of Health will also require a Letter of Exemplification. Therefore, you must request a Letter of Exemplification when requesting a birth or death certificate. Both the birth or death certificate and the Letter of Exemplification must be certified by the New York County Clerk prior to submission to the New York Department of State.

Educational Documents
To obtain educational documents such as transcripts, diplomas or certificates, contact the school, college or university that you attended.
Educational documents submitted to the New York Department of State for an Apostille or Certificate of Authentication must first be certified by an official at the educational institution attesting that the document is an official record or a true copy of the original document. The official's signature then must be notarized by a notary public. The notary public's signature must then be certified by the County Clerk in the county where the notary public is qualified to certify.

All other documents (such as a power of attorney) must first be notarized. The notary's signature must then be certified at the County Clerk's office where the notary is qualified.


Requesting an Apostille or Certificate of Authentication:

After following the above steps, download and fill out the Apostille/Certificate of Authentication Request Form at the link below. Attach the documents that you would like authenticated/apostilled. The fee for each document is $10 (See the Apostille/Certificate of Authentication Request Form for payment methods).

You may mail the documents and payment to the New York Department of State, or you may submit them in person.

Mailing Address:
New York Department of State
Division of Licensing Services
Apostille and Authentication Unit
99 Washington Avenue 6th floor
Albany, NY 12231

Hand Deliveries:
Albany Office
New York Department of State
Division of Licensing Services
Apostille and Authentication Unit
99 Washington Avenue 6th floor
Albany, NY 12231
Hours 9:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Telephone (518) 474-4429

New York City Office
New York Department of State
Division of Licensing Services
123 William Street, 2nd floor
New York, NY 10038
Hours 9:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m.


Processing Time:
The processing of documents submitted by mail is usually completed within 4 business days of receipt.

Please note: Apostilles/Certificates of Authentication are returned by first class mail. You may request that your documents be returned to you by overnight delivery service by enclosing a prepaid shipping label with your request. Requests for overnight delivery service that do not include a prepaid shipping label will be returned by first-class mail.

The processing of documents submitted in person is usually completed while you wait.

Please note: Subject to volume and staffing levels, documents submitted within one hour of closing time may not be processed until the following business day. Any document which the department is unable to process while you wait will be returned to you by mail or will be available for pick up at the customer service counter the following business day.

Verification of Issue:
The Department of State now allows you to verify whether an Apostille or Certificate of Authentication was issued by the New York State Secretary of State's office. Apostilles and Certificates of Authentication issued on or after April 9, 2013 may be verified on the Department of State’s website at the verification web link below.

If you are unable to locate an Apostille or Certificate of Authentication or if you wish to verify an Apostille or Certificate of Authentication issued prior to April 9, 2013, please contact the New York Department of State at (518) 474-4429.

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