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U.S. Department of State

General Information


The Department of State is responsible for providing authentication service to U.S. citizens and foreign nationals on all documents that will be used overseas. Types of documents include corporate documents such as company bylaws and articles of incorporation, power of attorney, patent applications and trademarks, diplomas, transcripts, letters relating to degrees, non-marital status, references and job certifications, home studies, deeds of assignments, distributorship agreements, papers for adoption purposes, etc.

The Authentications Office receives a variety of documents from commercial organizations, private citizens, and officials of the Federal and State Governments. The Office is responsible for issuing certificates under the Seal of the Department of State. It also ensures that request information will serve in the interest of justice and is not contrary to U.S. policy.

The following conditions must be met for all documents requiring authentication:

  1. All seals and signatures must be originals.
  2. All dates must follow in chronological order on all certifications.
  3. All documents in foreign text must be accompanied with a certified (notarized) English translation.
  4. Whenever a copy (if acceptable) is used, it must include a statement that it is a true and accurate copy.
  5. Foreign governments require the U.S. Department of State to authenticate documents in order for the documents to be considered legal.
Therefore, it is suggested that you contact the embassy of the pariticular country to determine what documents are needed for transactions.

A request for authentication services under 22 CFR, Part 131, should include the reason for authentication and the name of the country where the document will be used. Contact information is below.

Authentications Office (FMSS/GS/AUTH)
518 23rd Street, N.W.
State Annex 1
Washington, D.C. 20520
Tel: 202-647-5002
       1 800-688-9889 (Option #6).

or you can e-mail us.

For information about American citizens who were born, married, or deceased abroad, contact the Passport Office, U.S. Department of State, 202-955-0307. Copies of consular reports of birth, marriage, and deaths may be obtained from this office.

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