Step 1 – Have your documents notarized by a Public Notary.
This has to happen in the state where the document was issued. Notarization costs around $15, per document, although you may get a discount for multiple documents. This is the first step and the one step EVERY state requires.
Step 1.5 – Authenticating documents by State
Residents of the following US states must add another step here, and that’s to have the document authenticated by the County Clerk / Circuit Clerk / Probate Judge / Superior Court Clerk:
- New York
Step 2 – Authenticating documents by the Secretary of State
Have your documents authenticated by the Secretary of State (in the same state as the Notary Public). The cost of this can vary. In Michigan, it can cost $1 whilst in Texas it can cost $15. Simply contact the office of the Secretary of State in your state for details.
For most US states, this is all you have to do BUT for some states, some documents like the Criminal Record Checks (issued by the FBI), will need to:
Step 3 – Authenticate documents by US Department of State
Have your documents authenticated by the Office of Authentication of the US Department of State in Washington DC, which charges $8 per document.
Prior to the COVID-pandemic, the Office of Authentication accepted walk-ins but they are currently suspended. Now everything will have to be done by mail.
Firstly, you’ll need to submit a Request for Authentication Service. Here is the downloadable PDF Form DS-4194. The bottom of the form details how to pay and submit your form, by mail.
The mailing address is:
U.S. Department of State
Office of Authentications
44132 Mercure Cir.
PO Box 1206
Sterling, VA 20166-1206