Requirements for Document Legalization/Authentication
1. To request these services, you must submit a completed application form for document authentication or a letter on company letter head stating (1) the nature of the document, (2) the purpose for its authentication, (3) the names and addresses of organizations or individuals requesting the authentication, (4) the name of a contact person and his or her phone and fax numbers, (5) and a copy of the applicant’s photo I.D. (e.g., drivers license, passport, or naturalization certificate).
2. All documents (except diplomas, individual licenses) to be authenticated must be certified by the Secretaries of States within our service area (Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C.).
3. We do accept documents that have been submitted to us via an agent but only if the documents are accompanied by (1) a notarized power of attorney prepared by the applicant and authorizing the agent, and (2) a photo I.D. (e.g., driver’s license, passport, or naturalization certificate) of the person delivering the documents.
4. The authentication fee is $15 per authenticated document. Payment accepts cash, money order, or cashier’s check only (no personal checks or credit cards).
5. All documents must be submitted with an additional photocopy of the document s in their entirety. This includes an additional photocopy of any cover letter from a local government or the Department of State. If several identical documents are submitted for authentication, we require only one photocopy of one of the documents.
6. Applications submitted by mail must also include a self-addressed stamped envelope. We also accept applications delivered via DHL, FedEx, or UPS with an air bill form and account number.
7. The processing of all documents usually takes 2-3 working days. The Consular Division is open Monday through Friday (9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) and closed on U.S. federal holidays, Chinese Lunar New Year’s Day and October 10.
8. For authentication of FBI Identity History Summaries, we only accept FBI Identity History Summaries issued directly from the FBI. If you receive your FBI Identity Summary through a Channeler, please have it authenticated by the U.S. Department of State before submitting it to our office. For information regarding the FBI Identity History Summary Checks, please visit http://www.fbi.gov. For information regarding the Office of Authentications of the U.S. Department of State, please visit http://www.state.gov/m/a/auth.