Authenticating Documents (Apostille) FAQ's
What is an Apostille or Authentication?
- articles of incorporation or organization
- certificates of limited partnership
- certificates of merger
- assumed name certificates
- registration of trademarks
- certificates of existence or fact issued by the Corporation Division
- Adoption papers
- School records - School transcripts, report cards or diplomas MUST be signed by a school official and the official's signature MUST be notarized. (school transcripts and diplomas notarization examples)
- Power of attorney
- Deeds of Assignment
- Distributorship Agreements
- References and Job Certification
- Vehicle titles
- Police background check - Record checks from the Oregon State Police, local sheriffs or police departments must be signed by an official from that office and his/her signature MUST be notarized. The Secretary of State's Office can NOT authenticate a records check obtained from the Internet, or from the FBI. Do NOT send your fingerprint cards.
- Vital Records (Birth, Marriage, Divorce, Death, Verification of No Marriage Letter) bearing the signature of the Oregon State Registrar obtained from the Bureau of Vital Statistics in Portland, Oregon.
- County vital records if the event (birth, death) took place less than six months from the certificate issued date. If the event took place more than 6 months before the certificate issued date you must obtain the State issued Certified Copy of the document (see above).
- Documents Signed by a Circuit Clerk or Circuit Judge (i.e. Divorce decrees, legal name change) must include the official's signature, their printed name, and title.
An apostille or an authentication certifies the authenticity of the signature, seal and position of the official who has executed, issued or certified a copy of a public document.
An apostille or an authentication enables a public document issued in one country to be recognized as valid in another country.
An apostille is a certification form set out in The Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents (1961).
The apostille or authentication does not validate the substance, contents, and/or legal effect of the document, nor that the document has been approved and/or endorsed by the Oregon Secretary of State.
The Office of the Secretary of State does not regulate what documents are required by the foreign country. To verify the required documents, contact the embassy of the country to which the documents will go.
A certificate of authentication is affixed to documents intended for countries that are not party to the Hague Convention. Apostilles require no further diplomatic or consular legalization, while certificates of authentication must first be processed by the U.S. Department of State before being sent to countries that are not party to the Hague Convention.
What is the Hague Convention?
The Hague Convention of 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization of Foreign Public Documents is an international treaty. The United States signed this treaty on October 15, 1981. The Convention simplified the authentication process of public documents to be used in nations that are members of the 1961 Hague Convention. Only those nations party to the Hague Treaty will recognize the apostille certification.
How do I contact Oregon Vital Records in Portland?
In-person: 800 NE Oregon St Ste 205, Portland, Oregon 97232
By mail: Center for Health Statistics, PO Box 14050, Portland, OR 97293-0050
By phone: 971-673-1190 or 971-673-1180
By fax: 971-673-1201
By email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Can you forward my authenticated documents outside of the United States?
Our normal practice is to return all authenticated documents by first class mail. However, Federal Express has a scheduled pick-up at our office each weekday, so if your document authentication request includes an International shipping label “pre-printed” from the FEDEX website, as a courtesy we can hand these to the FedEx courier. Please visit the FEDEX website at www.Fedex.com for instructions on preparing and printing a pre-printed label.
Please note: Requests to forward or return authenticated documents that do not include a shipping label “pre-printed” from the FEDEX website will be sent by First Class mail.
US passport information: US Dept of State, call 1-877-4-USA-PPT (1-877-487-2778) or TDD/TTY: 1-888-874-7793. Passport Information is available 24 hours, 7 days a week. Speak with a representative Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., EST, excluding federal holidays. Or, visit their website at, http://travel.state.gov/passport/passport_1738.html.
Visit the US Department of State for information on adopting children from foreign countries.
Documents Issued by Federal Courts: Documents issued under the seal of a federal court should have a preliminary authentication by the Justice Management Division. After the seal of the Justice Management Division is on the document, it may be authenticated by the U.S. Department of State Authentications Office. The final step is to obtain the seal of the foreign embassy or consulate in the United States. Usually, foreign embassies or consulates in the U.S. can only authenticate the seal of the U.S. Department of State. Some foreign embassies and consulates maintain sample seals of state authorities.
Documents Issued by Federal Agencies: Documents issued under the seal of a federal agency can be authenticated by the U.S. Department of State Authentications Office. The final step is to obtain the seal of the foreign embassy or consulate in the United States. Usually, foreign embassies or consulates in the U.S. can only authenticate the seal of the U.S. Department of State. Some foreign embassies and consulates maintain sample seals of state authorities.
Are you open during the lunch hour?
Yes, our office is open Monday – Friday, 8 AM to 5 PM, Pacific Time (even on your lunch hour); except for major Holidays.
Can I get documents authenticated in Portland?
No, our only office is located in Salem. You can mail or deliver your request to us at:
255 Capitol Street NE Suite 151
Salem Oregon 97310
I have an FBI background check that I need authenticated. Can you do that?
No. On FBI background checks, you must request the authentication at the time you submit your request for the background check. See their website, http://www.fbi.gov/hq/cjisd/cjis.htm, for criminal background checks and their Frequently Asked Questions page for further information.
Can you tell me what I need, to get dual citizenship for my child?
You need to check with the Foreign Consulate or Embassy to find out what documents you need to have the authentication/apostille attached to.
I got married, seven months ago in Yamhill County; I need the apostille on my marriage license. Can you do that?
The marriage certificate must be signed by the Oregon State Registrar. We are not able to authenticate county signatures.
I have my birth certificate from New Jersey and my marriage license from Hood River, can you authenticate them?
We can only authenticate Oregon vital records. If the marriage certificate is signed by a state registrar we can authenticate it. You will need to contact New Jersey to authenticate your birth certificate. The Secretary of State of each state in the United States is authorized to prepare Apostilles and Authentications for documents created within that state's jurisdiction.
Do I need an apostille or an authentication?
Oregon uses the same form for both kinds of certificates, so you do not need to know or tell us which certificate the destination country requires. Our form will work in all countries. If you need a certificate for China, though, you must indicate that on your order.
I need to add a page to the document you already authenticated; can I remove the certificate, add the page, and reattach the authentication certificate?
No. Do not remove apostille or authentication certificates once they are attached (removal will invalidate the certificate).
Can you translate my marriage certificate to Spanish and then authenticate/apostille?
The Secretary of State does not translate documents. You need to get that translated and have the translation notarized before our office can do the apostille.
I was born/married outside of the United States, how can I have my birth/marriage certificate authenticated?
If you were born to U.S. parents, contact The U.S. Dept. of State, Passport Services, Correspondence Branch, 1111 19th Street NW, Suite 510, Washington, DC 20522-1705, (202) 955-0307, or visit their website at http://travel.state.gov/law/family_issues/birth/birth_593.html for your birth certificate. Let them know you need that authenticated for use outside of the United States.
You may check with the US Citizenship and Immigration office: USCIS Application Support Center, 721 Southwest 14th Avenue, Portland, OR 97205-1904. Or visit their website at, http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis.
Otherwise, you need to check with the country of origin for a certified copy of those certificates. And, let them know you need them authenticated.
I need a Medallion Signature Guarantee. Can you help me?
No, that is a special signature guarantee for the transfer of securities, and is NOT a notarial service. For more information on obtaining a medallion certificate, please go to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission website at, http://www.sec.gov/answers/sigguar.htm. Or contact them via phone at 1-800-SEC-0330 (investor assistance and complaints), via fax at 202-942-7040, or by mail at Mail Stop 11-2, 450 Fifth Street N.W., Washington, DC 20549.
Professional Engineering Certificate
It has come to our attention that a number of foreign students have completed the Professional Engineering exam and received certification in Oregon. We are starting to receive these certificates with a request for an apostille to be attached, mainly from engineers in South Korea. They are signed by officials from the Professional Engineering board; that is NOT a notarization.
Your PE certificate must be notarized by an Oregon notary public before you send it to us for an apostille. Please ask the PE Board to notarize your certificate if you need an apostille.
Once your certificate is notarized, you can send it so we can attach the apostille.
Another option for notarization is if you are in Oregon, go to any notary public (look in the yellow pages under "notaries public" or go to http://filinginoregon.com/Oregon/Notaries.htm). You could also send your certificate to a friend in Oregon and ask that person to have the certificate notarized.
The Oregon Secretary of State will Authenticate or Apostille the following documents:
Certified copies of business organization documents on file with the Oregon Secretary of State:
Please note: Organizational documents (Bylaws, meeting minutes) that are not on file with the Corporation Division, must be notarized before an Apostille or Authentication can be attached.