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Apostille USA

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) 647-5002 Fee: $5.00. For additional information, call the Federal Information Centre: 1-800-688-9889, and choose option 6 after you press 1 for touch tone phones. Walk-in service is available from the Authentications Office from 8 a.m. to 12 noon Monday-Friday, except holidays. Walk-in service is limited to 15 documents per person per day (documents can be multiple pages). Processing time for authentication requests sent by mail is 5 working days or less. See also, the State Department home page: http://www.state.gov. See also in general, 22 C.F.R. 131.

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.

Wisconsin
Office of Secretary of State
P.O. Box 7848
Madison, WI 53707-7848
608-266-3159
http://www.sos.state.wi.us
Designated Authority: Secretary of State; Assistant Secretary of State.

Authentications and Apostilles

"Authenticating" a document may also be called "verifying," "certifying," or attaching a "state seal." An "Apostille" is a specific format of an authentication certificate that is required by certain countries. When requesting authentication certificates from the Secretary of State's office, it is important to specify which foreign country is involved, so this Office can determine if an apostille or "regular" authentication is necessary. Use of the wrong certificate can cause a document to be rejected by the foreign country.

Frequently Asked Questions
1. “How long does it take to get an Authentication or Apostille
Certificate?”
Generally, Authentication  or Apostille  Certificate orders are processed  in two
(2) – five (5) business days after their receipt by the Office. The fee for standard
processing is $10 per certificate order. If you need your order completed sooner
than that, you may request Expedited Service for an additional $25 fee.
Expedited service orders are processed in one (1) to two (2) business days.  **If
requesting same day service, documents must be submitted by 10:00 am, and
will be processed by 3:30 pm. ** If submitting more than ten (10) documents we
strongly suggest calling ahead.
** PLEASE NOTE:  PROCESSING TIMES MAY BE SUBJECT TO CHANGE
DUE TO UNEXPECTED STAFF SHORTAGES OR UNUSUAL WORK VOLUME.
2. “How do I expedite an Authentication or Apostille Certificate Order?”
Expedited Service is available for an additional $25 fee. Expedited service orders
are processed in one* (1) to two (2) business days, depending on the volume of
current orders. Deliver your certificate order with an additional $25  Expedited
Service fee (total $35) for each certificate. Please be sure to mark the order form
“For Expedited Service.” **If requesting same day service, documents must be
submitted by 10:00 am, and will be processed by 3:30 pm. ** If submitting more
than 10 (10) documents we strongly suggest calling ahead.
** PLEASE NOTE:  PROCESSING TIMES MAY BE SUBJECT TO CHANGE
DUE TO UNEXPECTED STAFF SHORTAGES OR UNUSUAL WORK VOLUME.
3. “I sent in my Authentication or Apostille Certificate order, but have
not heard anything yet. What can I do?”
We are only able to offer information about whether or not documents have been
processed or if they were returned because of errors.    In  order to verify this
information we will need your last name, the country requesting the
authentication or apostille, the fees included, and how you submitted the
document to us (walk-in, mail, or courier). We strongly encourage you to use a
courier service or request a tracking number from the post office for the delivery
and return of your documents so you can track the location of the package.
Please be sure to write down your tracking number before you send it to us.
We are unable to track your document.
If you submitted a check as payment for your  Authentication or  Apostille
certificate request, you may wish to contact your bank to determine if/when your
check was processed. A cleared  check has cleared indicates the Office of the
Secretary of State has  received and processed your certificate request. If the
check has not cleared, it is possible that 1) your certificate request has been
received and is being returned to you due to a discrepancy, 2) the Office has not
yet received your request, or 3) the request is being processed.

 
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