US Department of State (USDOS) Authentication

The USDOS is the highest level of authentication provided in the US. It is similar to what in foreign countries is called “Foreign Affairs Certification”. The USDOS document authentication office is located in Washington, D.C. (WDC) and provides the following services:

Apostille

Documents issued by federal agencies that will be used in countries signatory of The Hague Convention Treaty (France, Bahrain, Mexico, etc.). Examples of these documents are: FBI clearances, naturalization certificates, free sales, etc.

Authentication

Documents that are going to be used in Non-Hague Convention countries (China, Kuwait, Canada, etc.) require the following process:

  • Notarized by a public notary
  • Certified by the secretary of the state where the public notary is commissioned (Texas, California, etc.)
  • Authenticated by the USDOS in WDC
  • Embassy Authentication (Legalization)

Note on Authentications:

  1. Vital records are documents issued by each state and do not require notarization by a public notary
  2. Almost all documents (except some commercial documents) that will be used in a non-Hague Convention country require authentication by the USDOS.