Getting an Apostille in the USA
United States Authentication Authorities
Q. Who are the U.S. "Competent Authorities" to issue the Apostille certificate?
A. There are three levels of U.S. competent authorities, one for Federal agencies, one for U.S. (federal) courts, and one for state documents, including documents executed before notaries.
1. Federal Executive and Administrative Agencies: Authentications Office, Department of State, 518 23rd St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20520, (202) 647-
2. U.S. Courts: Clerks and Deputy Clerks of the Federal Court System. Fee: $5.00.
For the purposes of the Convention, clerks and deputy clerks of the U.S. Courts shall include the clerks and deputy clerks of the following: The Supreme Court of the United States, the Courts of Appeals for the First through the Eleventh Circuits and the District of Columbia Circuit, the United States District Courts, the United States Court of Claims, the United States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals, the United States Court of International Trade, the United States District Court for the District of the Canal Zone, the District Court of Guam, the District Court of the Virgin Islands, and the District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands.
Secretary of the Commonwealth
Public Records Division
McCormack Building, Room 1719
One Ashburton Place
Boston, MA 02108
Certifications and Apostilles
A certification or legalization is generally necessary for documents which leave the United States. Common types of documents which require certification for acceptance into a foreign country include documents for an international adoption, diplomas issued by an American college or university and various types of records and contracts integral to a company which does business in a foreign country.
Please be advised that certifications can only be obtained for documents with an original signature of a valid:
Massachusetts notary public
justice of the peace
city/town clerk, or assistant
court clerk, or assistant or
Registrar of Vital Records.
Photocopied signatures which appear on a document cannot be certified. It is important to identify which country will receive the records since different countries require different types of certification. The certification forms are basically the same; however, the name of the certificate which is attached to a document going to a country which is a signatory to the Hague Convention is known as an Apostille.The regular certifications and apostilles are available at a cost of six dollars ($6.00) per signature to be certified.
An individual may receive the requisite certification by coming in person to the Commissions Section, Room 1719, One Ashburton Place, Boston, Massachusetts 02108, or by mailing the necessary documents to that address. A maximum of three documents will be done per customer at the counter while you wait. Four or more documents must be left with the commissions staff and picked up the next business day after 3pm. There will be no exceptions made.
Certifications may also be processed at the following Regional Offices. Number of documents and turn around times will vary. Contact for details.
Southeastern Office -
Western Office Services -
Similarly, mailed requests are processed within two to three weeks. If mailing, please be sure to include the following information:
The country of destination for the documents;
A check made payable to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; and,
Please enclose a prepaid return envelope to have the documents returned
If you wish to have the documents returned via Federal Express, DHL, or
any other express mail service, please enclose a prepaid return envelope
with a billing account number.
Please be advised that we do not accept credit cards as a form of pre-
A failure to provide all of the necessary information may result in a delay in the issuance of the certification.