The Virginia Secretary of the Commonwealth - Authentications Director issues two types of authentications of public documents: apostilles and certifications. Apostilles are used by countries participating in the Hague Convention. Certifications are used by countries that do not participate.
You can request apostilles with the Virginia Secretary of the Commonwealth by mail or in person. If you drop off the documents in person, Virginia requests you schedule an appointment. Submit the original notarized or certified document, contact information, and the foreign country in which the apostille will be used, and the state will issue the apostille.
The state fee is $10 per authentication.
Virginia, and every other state, only authenticates signatures on documents that have been issued in Virginia. If you have a document, such as Articles of Incorporation, which have been issued in another state, you must contact that Secretary of State.
Do I need a certified copy of the document before I can obtain an apostille?
Virginia requires the original certified or notarized document to issue the apostille.
Frequently Asked Questions
When doing business in many countries abroad, you may be required to obtain an apostille of company documents. An apostille is a type of certification that will be used in countries participating in the Hague Convention. A state will issue an apostille of a notarized signature on a document, and lists the specific country in which the document will be used. Apostilles and certifications can be obtained for public and private documents, including corporate filings, diplomas, degrees, and job applications, marital and adoption documents, and deeds and contracts.
Which countries accept apostille documents?
For a list of the countries that accept apostilles, please visit the Status Table provided by the Hague Conference on Private International Law.
Do I need an apostille or a certification?
Apostilles are used for those countries that participate in the Hague Convention. For those countries that do not participate, a certification will be used instead of an apostille. Certification often requires additional review by the United States Department of State or by the embassy of the destination country.
How to obtain certified copies
In order to obtain an apostille of a corporate document in most states, you must submit a certified copy of the corporate document. In many states, this occurs in a different division from where apostilles are issued.
Notarization of documents
Nearly every state requires your documents to be notarized before submitting the apostille application. Pay careful attention to which body has the authority to notarize these documents, as it can take place at the city, county, or state level.
What is the contact information for the state in Virginia?
Virginia Secretary of the Commonwealth - Authentications Director
1111 East Broad Street, 1st Floor
Richmond, VA 23219
Virginia Apostille, Virginia Authentication