Customer Alert
We are now allowing in-person, appointment only, authentication services. Please make an appointment to schedule your visit.

Authentication Process

Gather documents, fees, and return envelope

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Mail your required items to the Authentication division

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Wait to receive your documents back from our office

About Authentications

The purpose of an authentication by our office is to verify to foreign governments that certain Virginia officials are in good standing. Authentication at a state level is not valid for use within the United States or its territories.

Depending on the destination country, the authentication is issued either as a Great Seal or an Apostille. The authentication only verifies that the Virginia Notary, Virginia Clerk of Court, or Virginia Deputy State Registrar is listed in our system, and they have notarized or issued your document correctly.

Documents issued by the FBI and Federal Courts would be authenticated by the US State Department, not by the Virginia Secretary of the Commonwealth.

Documents must be properly notarized by a Virginia notary (as allowed by law) within the past 12 months prior to presenting to our office for authentication.

If your document is a Vital record or Court document, it must be issued within the past 12 months NOT notarized.

If the document is not properly notarized by a Virginia notary or issued by the state of Virginia, it will be returned for correction/completion. Please review the exceptions below.

How to Request an Authentication

Status Update

If more than ten business days have passed and you would like to inquire about the status, you may email ( or call the office (804-692-0114).

Please provide the following information:

  • Full name
  • Mailing address
  • Destination country or embassy

Contact Information

Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Office
Authentication Division
1111 East Broad St, 1st Floor
Richmond, VA 23219

Phone: 804-692-0114