We are now processing mail-in requests for authentications only. We are not accepting any walk-in requests. We are processing mail-in requests in 2-3 business days. Please use the PDF link below on this webpage when you submit your request to be certain you are providing all the required information.
Due to the COVID-19 health emergency, we suggest you use the US Postal Service or FedEx as these are the only two carriers with regular delivery and pick-up schedules. The length of time it will take for you to receive your documents will depend upon the type of service you choose. We do not track any packages.
Please feel free to contact us at [email protected].
Service Contact: Office of the Secretary, Office of Notary Commissions and Authentications
Service Location: 441 4th Street, NW, Suite 810 South
Contact Email: [email protected]
Contact Phone: (202) 727-3117
Contact Fax: (202) 727-8457
Office Hours: 8:15 AM - 4:45 PM
Walk-In Customer Hours: 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM
The Office of Notary Commissions and Authentications (ONCA) in the Office of the Secretary authenticates documents for foreign use. The office authenticates three 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 for both Hague Convention and non-Hague Convention countries.
- ONCA does not authenticate documents for Guam and Puerto Rico. These are territories of the United States and therefore do not require an authentication.
- ONCA does not authenticate FBI and most other federal documents.
If the document(s) you are submitting for authentication is for a country that is a member of The Hague Convention, we issue Apostille, and then you may provide it directly to that country.
If the country is not a member of The Hague Convention, we issue a Foreign Certificate, and then you must also have it authenticated by the U.S. Authentications Office.
For information about countries that are members of the Hague Convention, please click here.
During the COVID-19 health emergency, we do not require the triple seal for documents issued by the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. However, documents must still be the certified copies from the Court, and they cannot be notarized, but they do not have to have the triple seal.
ONCA does not notarize documents. To find a notary public near you, go to the drop-down: Search for a Notary Public and use the drop-down: Search for a Notary by Address. You may put in any DC address, and the map will show notaries near that address.
To have a document authenticated:
- Most documents must be either notarized by a DC notary public or signed by an authorized head of a DC government agency.
- Birth and death certificates must be the original from the District of Columbia. They must be on letter size (8.5”X11”) paper. If you need this original Birth Certificates or Death Certificates, contact the DC Department of Health. If you need these certificates from another jurisdiction, you must have them authenticated where they were issued.
- Marriage certificates and divorce decrees must be the certified copies issued by the US Superior Court of the District of Columbia. During the COVID-19 health emergency these documents do not have to have the triple seal, but they must still be the certified copies issued by the Superior Court. If these documents are from another jurisdiction, you must have them authenticated where they were issued.
- The cost is $15 per document, payable by check, money order or Visa, Master Card, Discover or American Express. All checks and money orders must be made payable to the "DC Treasurer” from a US Financial Institution in US Dollars and must be for the exact amount.
- No cash will be accepted as payment for authentications.
- When ONCA authenticates – puts an Apostille or Foreign Certificate on a document, it is only validating that the notary public or department head is in fact a legitimate notary or department head or representative of the Superior Court in the District of Columbia. We are not confirming or authenticating the document itself. For example, we do not determine the status or legitimacy of a school, college, university, financial institution or any other record; the country to which the document is presented retains the right to accept or deny the actual information.
Requests for Authentications may be made by mail or by coming to the ONCA Office.
- Documents submitted must be notarized by a DC notary or be a certified copy issued by a Government of the District of Columbia agency. Use this link to fill out the form and then print it, and be sure to include a pre-paid, self-addressed return envelope with your document(s). Send the information to:
Office of Notary Commissions and Authentications
441 4th Street, NW
Suite 810 South
Washington, DC 20001
- 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.
- ONCA usually turns around these requests in 2-3 business days, but the amount of time it will take for you to receive your document(s) will depend upon the type of service and carrier to choose. We have regular pick-up from the US Postal Service and FedEx; if you decide to use another carrier, you may have to schedule the time and pay for pick-up.
- ONCA does authentications in the office from 9 am-1 pm, Monday-Friday. Individuals sign in and will be served as soon as possible; generally in about 20 minutes.
- 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/Notarial and Authentication Services.
You may not have academic credentials notarized at a US Embassy or Consulate.
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.