Getting an Apostille in the USA
United States Authentication Authorities
Q. Who are the U.S. "Competent Authorities" to issue the Apostille certificate?
A. There are three levels of U.S. competent authorities, one for Federal agencies, one for U.S. (federal) courts, and one for state documents, including documents executed before notaries.
1. Federal Executive and Administrative Agencies: Authentications Office, Department of State, 518 23rd St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20520, (202) 647-
2. U.S. Courts: Clerks and Deputy Clerks of the Federal Court System. Fee: $5.00.
For the purposes of the Convention, clerks and deputy clerks of the U.S. Courts shall include the clerks and deputy clerks of the following: The Supreme Court of the United States, the Courts of Appeals for the First through the Eleventh Circuits and the District of Columbia Circuit, the United States District Courts, the United States Court of Claims, the United States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals, the United States Court of International Trade, the United States District Court for the District of the Canal Zone, the District Court of Guam, the District Court of the Virgin Islands, and the District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands.
Office of the Secretary of State
State Capitol, Room E-
600 Dexter Ave.
Montgomery, AL 36104
Designated Authority: Secretary of State
The Authentication Division of the Alabama Office of the Secretary of State is responsible for providing authentication services for Alabama documents that will be used in foreign countries. These documents include birth certificates, marriage certificates, statements of marital status, articles of incorporation, corporate bylaws, certificates of merger, powers of attorney, diplomas, school transcripts, deeds and ABI background checks.
There are two types of authentications. The type of authentication your Alabama document requires for foreign use is based upon the country in which the document will be used. If the country in which the document(s) will be used is party to the Hague Convention, an Apostille is affixed to documents. If the country in which the document(s) is to be used is not part of the Hague Convention, a Certification is affixed to document(s). Please note that there is a difference between Members of the Hague Conference and Parties to the Hague Convention.
The Apostille may be affixed to documents bearing the official signature and seal of a currently commissioned Alabama notary public, probate judge, or the current Alabama State Registrar. Please Note: All birth certificates and death certificates requiring an Apostille must bear the signature of the current Alabama State Registrar.
The Certification may be affixed to documents bearing the official signature and seal of a currently commissioned Alabama probate judge, circuit clerk or the current Alabama State Registrar. Please note:Each notarized document requiring a Certification must have an additional county authentication of the notary commission. County authentications are issued by the office of the probate judge in the county of the notary's commission. For county information, please see our public official database.
Click here to download the required submittal form. Complete the form and send it with your document to the Secretary of State.
How much is an authentication?
The authentication fee is $5.00 per document.
What does my document need to be authenticated by your office?
Your document must have an original signature and embossed (raised) seal of a currently commissioned Alabama public official. For the Apostille, these signatures include currently commissioned Alabama notary publics, probate judges, circuit clerks or the current Alabama State Registrar. For the Certification, these signatures include probate judges, circuit clerks or the current Alabama State Registrar.
Should my school documents be notarized before I mail them to your office to be authenticated?
Yes. Documents with the signature of a school official and the school seal applied by the school registrar are not acceptable. Documents must be notarized by an Alabama Notary Public before the Apostille can be affixed to the document. If the document requires the Certification, it must be notarized and county authenticated before the document can be authenticated for foreign use.
May I send my federal documents to your office to be authenticated?
No. Federal documents are not authenticated at the state level. Please contact the United States Department of State Authentications Office.
Can my document be sent to a third party by your office after it has been authenticated?
Yes. Documents may be directed to a third party when the sender encloses a pre-