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How to obtain an Apostille or Certificate of Authentication

What is an Apostille?

An "apostille" is an authentication issued to documents for use in countries that participate in the Hague Convention of October 5, 1961. If the country of intended use does not participate in the Hague Convention, documents being sent to that country may be required to obtain an additional federal Certificate of Authentication from the U.S. Department of State of Authentications placed on top of the state issued apostille.

The Washington Secretary of State’s office can provide state certification for documents that bear the signature of a Washington State Official officer or other authorized Washington notary public officer and are to be sent to or used in a foreign country. An Apostille Authentication verifies that the Notary Public, Clerk of District Court, Clerk & Recorder, or Vital Records Administrator is authorized to provide the notarization or certification and that he/she has done so in accordance with the requirements of the Revised code of Washington. Certification provided by the Secretary of State’s Office does not verify the accuracy or reliability of the contents of the record.

  • Washington State uses a “universal certificate” that can be used as either an Apostille, for countries that are members of the Hague Convention, or an Authentication, for non-member countries.  Documents that are being sent to countries that are not members of the Hague Convention will require additional certification by the U.S. State Department, the country’s Embassy, or both.

 For document types, and where to obtain them, please see APOSTILLE DOCUMENT GUIDELINES.

To obtain an apostille you must send the following information:

  • Original unaltered certified copy of state department or county court issued document or personal document item notarized by a Washington state notary with a full notarial certificate. (please refer to RCW 42.45)

  • Fee is $15.00 per document (a document can be more than one page).

  • Make check or money order payable in U.S. dollars (USD) to: Secretary of State

  • Apostille Authentication Request Form (Renamed) which includes:
    • The name of the country requesting documents. (the document cannot be authenticated without this information)
    • A daytime phone number and email address to contact for questions
    • Information on where the documents should be mailed after processing
    • If documents are for a minor, please use the name of the adult making the request

NEED YOUR APOSTILLE IN A HURRY?

The fastest method is to bring your documents to Olympia for in-person services at an additional $100.00 Same Day Service fee. Orders mailed into the office with an additional expedite fee of $100.00 will be reviewed within 2 – 3 business days of receiving your order. Non expedited (regular) requests are reviewed in the order they are received, typically within 5 to 7 business days (subject to change depending on volume). All completed mail orders are returned using regular U.S. postal mail unless a pre-paid shipping label is included with the request.

Notice:  We do not process FBI Clearance letters. They can only be processed at the U.S. Department of State – Office of Authentications

Once you have gathered the necessary documents you may deliver them in person or mail them to:

Physical address & Overnight address by commercial carrier:   Mailing address (includes USPS overnight)
Corporations Division Corporations Division
Apostille and Certificate Program Apostille and Certificate Program
801 Capitol Way South PO Box 40228
Olympia, WA 98501 Olympia, WA 98504

Disclaimer

Certificates are not valid for use anywhere within the United States of America, its territories or possessions.