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 Secretary of State
P.O. Box 718
Frankfort, KY 40602-
Designated Authority: Secretary of State; Assistant Secretary of State.
Apostilles and Authentications of Documents
Some documents intended for use abroad (i.e.: birth, death and marriage certificates, transcripts and diplomas, adoption papers, and corporate documents) require some form of certification.
The Secretary of State provides this certification in the form of either an apostille or a certificate of authentication.
Preparing Documents for Submission to the Office of the Secretary of State
Documents from Kentucky Department of Vital Statistics
(Birth Certificates, Death Certificates, etc.)
All documents must be signed by the current state registrar*, Paul F. Royce, and submitted with the completed Request for Apostille or Authentication form and fee of $5.00 per document to the Office of the Secretary of State.
*Note: If the documents are not signed by the state registrar, contact the Kentucky Department of Vital Statistics at 502-
Documents Signed by a Notary
(Adoption papers, grade transcripts/diplomas, power of attorney, etc.)
The document must be signed by a notary registered in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The signature of the notary must be certified by the county clerk** in the county where the notary took the oath of office. Customers must then submit the documents with the Request for Apostille or Authentication form and fee of $5.00 per document to the Office of the Secretary of State.
Documents Signed by a Circuit Clerk or Circuit Judge
(i.e. Divorce decrees)
The documents must be signed by a judge and/or circuit clerk. The signature must be certified by the county clerk** in the county where the circuit court is located. Customers must then submit the documents with the Request for Apostille or Authentication form and fee of $5.00 per document to the Office of the Secretary of State.
**Note: If the county clerk is not available, please confirm with the county clerk's office that the deputy clerk is authorized to sign for documents going outside of the country.
Procedure Upon Having Documents Apostilled or Authenticated
If the country in which the document(s) will be used is party to the Hague Convention, an apostille is affixed to documents by the Office of the Secretary of State and returned to address provided by the customer.
If the country is not part of the Hague Convention, a certificate of authentication is affixed to document(s) by the Office of the Secretary of State and returned to address provided by the customer. The authenticated documents must then be submitted by the customer to the U.S. Department of State for application of the Seal of the U.S. Department of State.
The fee for an apostille or certificate of authentication is $5.00. All checks should be made payable to the Kentucky State Treasurer.
For more information regarding apostilles or authentications, please contact the the Office of the Secretary of State:
by phone at (502) 564-
by fax at (502) 564-
by Email; or
Documents may be submitted by mailing:
First Class Mail: Office of the Secretary of State
Authentications and Apostilles
P.O. Box 718
Frankfort, KY 40602-
Overnight or Hand Delivery: Office of the Secretary of State
700 Capital Avenue, Suite 158
Frankfort, KY 40601
The Office of the Secretary of State is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm ET.