What is an Authentication and Apostille? |
What do I need to send you to get an apostille or authentication certificate? |
What kind of documents will you process? |
What kind of documents are you unable to process? |
How do I get my school documents processed? |
Why was my document returned to me?
Where is my document? When will my document be ready? |
How much will this cost? How do I pay you? |
Does my document need to be notarized? |
Does my document have to be from Wisconsin? |
When might I need to utilize this service? |
How do I ensure my document is notarized properly? |
When providing documents internationally, it is often difficult for the recipient to check the validity of that document. Within the United States we know how to recognize Vital Records, court documents, or notarized documents. When sending documents outside of the United States, however, a standardized certificate was created to allow the receiving country to recognize the validity of the underlying document.
This is called a “chain of authentications”: Someone providing the document verifies its legitimacy; the a notary or state or court official, etc verifies the person signing it; the Secretary of State verifies that person and affixes a square 8.5 x 8.5 certificate to the top and stamp it as certified.
The format of this certificate is recognized by two recipients. In the case of an Authentication, it is sent to the US State Department for further processing before reaching its final destination. In the case of an Apostille, the recipient country recognizes the certificate we provide at the state level, because they are parties to a treaty called the Hague Convention of 5 October 1961. It is commonly called the Hague Convention. Since it was first adopted,
127 countries are now considered competent authorities.
This is why it is critical that the destination country is included on the order form.
When requesting certification on your document, you must provide the following: an order form (one for each country that documents are being processed for), all documents that require a certificate (for two apostilles, two documents must be provided, etc), payment in the form of cash, check, or money order, and a prepaid return envelope or label to return it to you or forward the documents to the final destination.
A few notes:
- The Office currently does not ship DHL.
- If postage is not provided and the destination of the envelope is outside of the United States, documents will not be shipped until postage is paid.
- It is very important for you to provide full contact information for the person ordering the documents in case of any problems.
Any document issued in Wisconsin for use internationally! This includes court documents,
, school documents, state documents of any kind, and documents properly notarized by a Wisconsin notary. If you are a Wisconsinite living or traveling outside of Wisconsin,
a remote online Wisconsin notary
may be used if needed.
Please note this is not a comprehensive list. Other exceptions may exist.
- Federal documents (including The Federal Bureau of Investigation background checks) these must be authenticated by the
Federal Office of Authentications
- Documents issued by a Federal Court
- Vital records not issued by the state of Wisconsin (births, deaths, marriages, etc. in other states or abroad. These must be authenticated by the Issuing state/country
- Copies of vital records
- Military notaries - These must be authenticated by the
Federal Office of Authentications
- Federal officials
- Citizenship certificates
- Consulate officials
Read about processing school documents on the
How To page
Please read our
rejected documents explanation form
Documents are processed in the order they are received. Expedited service takes precedence.
Please do not request an update of your status until it has been over 7 days since the Office received it for expedited service ($35/document), and over 30 days for standard ($10/document). When requesting an update on your status, please email
firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information:
- Last name provided on the order form
- Country requesting the document(s)
- Date sent to or received by our Office
- Form of submittal (drop off, USPS, FedEx, UPS, etc)
- Standard service costs $10 per document, which will take 7-20 business days.
- Expedited service costs an additional $25 expedited fee which totals $35 per document, this will take 1-3 business days.
- Fees are accepted in the form of cash, check, or money order
The document can be issued by a Wisconsin notary, Wisconsin court or county official, University of Wisconsin official, or State of Wisconsin official.
The Wisconsin Secretary of State’s office cannot accept documents that have been issued out of Wisconsin (unless they are properly notarized copies) or documents issued by federal authorities.
Any time a business, school, government, or entity in a country outside of where a document was issued, you may be asked to provide an authentication or apostille certificate on that document before submitting it to the requestor.
A notarization statement must contain:
- Venue where the act took place (State of Wisconsin, County of [______]
- Notarial Statement: What is being notarized (i.e. a signature, a true copy of an original, or an oath. See sample statements below:
- Date the document was notarized
- Notary's signature
- Notary's seal/stamp
- Notary's expiration date
To process efficiently, notarizations in English are recommended but can also be repeated in a different language. Remember notaries that are not attorneys may not use the words “notario," “notarizaciones," “notarizamos," or “notario publico," on their statements pursuant to Wis. Stat. 140.02(1)(i)4