Authenticating/Certifying American Educational Documents

Bismillaah, ar-Rahmaan, ar-Raheem

The authentication (attestation) of your American educational documents (degrees, diplomas, transcripts) are done by the Office of Authentications in the U.S. Department of State.

Before you can submit your documents to the Office of Authentications, they must go through the following three (3) steps:

  1. You will need to get the documents notarized from a Notary Public. Just in case you do not know what a Notary Public is, it is well known so just ask around [or search on the Internet] and you should be directed to one. Make sure the one who notarizes your documents is from the same county that you live in [you will know why when you read step # 3].
  2. After having the documents notarized, you will need to go to the ‘County Clerks Office’. They certify documents according to the county which your document was notarized in. As for me, they did not certify my documents because they were from a different city, so I had to get them re-notarized from a Notary Public that they were familiar with and that was in the same county as well.
  3. After getting the documents certified by your county, you need to get them certified by the state as well. So you need to get the number for the ‘Secretary of State’ and have them certify your documents by the state.

You can read about these requirements in brief form [I tried to elaborate and explain above] on the section “Authetications Requirements” at the official website of the Office of Authentications (under the U.S. Department of State) here:

http://www.state.gov/m/a/auth/c16920.htm

After you have fulfilled the above three (3) requirements for each of the document which needs to be authenticated, you may mail/post the documents to the Office of Authentications, which is under the ’United States Department of State’. The address is as follows:

United States Department of State
Authentication Office
518 23rd Street, N.W. SA-1
Washington, D.C. 20520
 

The Authentication of documents takes approximately 5 business days to process from the time of receipt [Please note: U.S. Postal mail entering the U.S. Department of State must go through a screening process which may delay the time in which they will receive the document]. You must include a cover-letter (see here) with your name, telephone number, address and email address. You must also indicate the name of the country where the document will be used. Use a self-addressed stamped envelope for faster return of your documents. Documents received without a return evelope and postage will be returned through the State Department regular mail, which can result in a 2-3 week delay. You can use DHL, Fed/Ex, UPS and express mail services for faster receipt/return of your documents. However, you must enclose a prepaid airbill and envelope with the documents.

The authentication fee is $8.00 per document. A personal check or money order made payable to the U.S. Department of State must be submitted with the documents. Visa and Mastercard are accepted for Walk-in Service only.

For those living in the D.C. area or willing to travel personally to the U.S. Deparment of State, then you can submit your documents in person. If you have 15 documents or less, they will be processed while you wait. You may do this from 7:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m, Monday to Friday, except Federal Holidays.

The location for the walk-in service is:

Authentications Office Columbia Plaza Store Front
518 23rd Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20520

For more information, please see the following section “Office of Authentications” at the official website of the U.S. Department of State:

http://www.state.gov/m/a/auth/

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