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Due to construction, the Office of Public Records will be closed to walk-in researchers during the week of December 5. The schedule for the following week has not been determined; please call (202) 671-1105 prior to coming to OPR during the week of December 12.

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The Office of Notary Commissions and Authentications (ONCA) in the Office of the Secretary authenticates documents for domestic and foreign use. The office authenticates four types of documents:

  • Apostilles, for use in countries that are part of the Hague Convention; *
  • Foreign Documents, for use in other countries  *
  • Department Head Documents;
  • A-Certificates
  • ONCA does not authenticate FBI and most other federal documents.



For more information about foreign document authentication and to find about countries that are part of the Hague Convention, go to the US Department of State/US Authentications Office.

View frequently asked questions about foreign notarial acts.

View frequently asked questions about authentications.

To have a document authenticated:

  • The document must be either notarized by a DC notary public or signed by an authorized head of a DC government agency. The Office of Notary Commissions and Authentications does not notarize documents.
  • The cost is $15 per document, payable by check, money order or Visa or Master Card. All checks and money orders must be made payable to the "DC Treasurer” and must be for the exact amount.
  • No cash will be accepted as payment for authentications.
  • ONCA is authenticating the validity of the notary or department head on the document, not the document itself. A country has the right to reject any document even with the Apostille or Foreign Certificate. ONCA is not responsible for and has no authority over what another country determines is a legitimate document. 

Documents may be authenticated in person or through the mail.

Mail-In Authentication

  • Please allow 2-3 business days to process mail authentication requests. Documents submitted must be notarized by a DC notary or be a certified copy issued by a Government of the District of Columbia agency. Mail the notarized or certified copy of a DC agency issued document, a cover letter, the fee and a self-addressed, stamped envelope to the following address:

Office of Notary Commissions and Authentications
441 4th Street, NW
Suite 810 South
Washington, DC 20001

  • Include a cover letter with your name, address, phone number and the country where the authentication will be used.
  • Only checks or money orders are accepted for mail-in authentications. Checks or money orders must be in US dollars and drawn on a US Bank or from US Financial Institution. We cannot accept funds drawn on a foreign bank. Money orders from American Express or Western Union may be accepted.

In Person Authentication

  • ONCA does authentications in the office from 9 am-1 pm Monday-Friday. Individuals sign in and will be served as soon as possible.
  • All individuals who are in the office by 1 pm will be served on that day.

For individuals overseas who need documents notarized and authenticated you may be able to have them notarized by an officer at a US Embassy or Consulate or a commissioned officer in the military in the country you are living. For more details please visit www.travel.state.gov.

For more information, please contact ONCA, (202) 727-3117, or notary@dc.gov.

Service Contact: 
Office of the Secretary
Contact Email: 
Contact Phone: 
(202) 727-3117
Contact Fax: 
(202) 727-8457
Contact TTY: 
Contact Suite #: 
Suite 810 South
Office Hours: 
Monday to Friday 9 am to 1 pm