Types of Documents - Review Thoroughly

The Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth does not regulate what documents are required by the foreign government.

Requirements for documents for authentication

If your document is:

  • a Notarized Document, the document must be properly notarized, by a Virginia notary, within the past 12 months.
  • Vital Record(birth, death, marriage or divorce certificate), the document cannot be notarized and must be issued from the Department of Health - Vital Records Division or your local Department of Motor Vehicles within the past 12 months. Marriage certificates issued by the Circuit Court must contain a Certification of Official Record/Triple Seal.
  • Court Record, the document cannot be notarizedand must be issued from the appropriate Virginia Circuit Court within the past 12 months. Circuit Court documents should contain a Certification of Official Record/Triple Seal two page document (VA Code 8.01-389 and 8.01-391) The date must be reflected on the document in addition to the signature and printed name of the (Deputy) Clerk of Court.
  • is issued by the State Corporation Commission, the document must be issued by the State Corporation Commissionwithin the past 12 months. 

In order for your notarized document to be authenticated, all seven items are required from the notary.

  • The name of the county or independent city in which the document is signed;
  • the date the document is notarized;
  • the notarial statement – what is being notarized (i.e. a signature, a true copy of an original, or an oath);
  • the notary’s signature;
  • the date that the notary’s commission expires (month, day, year);
  • the notary’s registration number;
  • the notary’s photographically reproducible notary seal/stamp with name matching our records exactly.
  • must be original notarization.

You can verify your notary’s name here. It must match our records exactly.

Documents in different languages are accepted but the notarization must be in English.

In order for your vital record to be authenticated, it must have been issued by the Virginia Department of Vital Records within the past 12 months. To obtain a new document, please visit the Vital Records website (Virginia Department of Vital Records), contact them by phone at 804-662-6200, or visit your local DMV. Virginia law prohibits notarization of vital record (original or certified copy.)

Marriage certificates can also be obtained from the Circuit Court in the city/county where the marriage was recorded. Circuit Court documents should contain a Certification of Official Record/Triple Seal two page document (VA Code §8.01-389 and 8.01-391). The date must be reflected on the document in addition to the signature and printed name of the (Deputy) Clerk of Court. 

In order to have a court document authenticated, the document must be issued from the appropriate Virginia Circuit Court within the past 12 months. Circuit Court documents should contain a Certification of Official Record/Triple Seal (two-page document) (VA Code 8.01-389 and 8.01-391) The date must be reflected on the document in addition to the signature and printed name of the (Deputy) Clerk of Court. A photo copy of a court document cannot be notarized.

Contact the State Corporation Commission at 804-371-9733 and tell the Specialist you need to order a document to be authenticated. Once issued, the document, cover letter, fee(s), and return mailer will need to be submitted to the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Office for authentication.

Documents issued by the State Corporation Commission do not need to be notarized.

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, travel.state.gov ;
  • documents issued by a Federal Court;
  • vital records not issued by the state of Virginia (births, deaths, marriages, etc. in other states or abroad. These must be authenticated by the Issuing state/country;
  • military notaries - These must be authenticated by the Federal Office of Authentications, travel.state.gov;
  • federal officials;
  • citizenship certificates;
  • consulate officials
  • At this time, we cannot authenticate an electronic notarization with an Apostille or Great Seal authentication.