top of page


  • What is Notarization?
    Notarization means a Notary Public, the public official commissioned by the State, serves as an impartial witness in performing a variety of official acts related to verifying the identities of the signers and their signing of important documents. Then the notary will sign and stamp the document with a seal. Documents that are notarized are usually used in the US. The simplest way to notarize a document is to go to your bank. Most banks provide free notarization services for their clients, or for a small fee. Click 🔗here to learn how notaries complete the notary process, which is instructive for preparing your documents.
  • Will you or the notary notarize my document if it is in a foreign language?
    In some states, notaries are allowed to notarize foreign language documents once they can understand that foreign language and communicate smoothly with the clients, without the reliance on a third party who, intentionally or unintentionally, may interpret the conversation incorrectly. It's worth noting that although the document may be in another language, the notary’s statement, which usually refers to the notarial certificate, must be in English. Please refer to 🔗 this table to confirm.
  • How do I know if my document has been notarized correctly?
    To avoid delays, please make sure that the notarized document includes the following seven items. Notarial statement/wording The date of the notarial act The location of the notarial act in the city or county where notarization occurs The expiration date of the notary’s commission Notary’s signature Notary’s registration number Photographically reproducible notary seal/stamp Please note that Vital Records (birth/death/marriage/divorce certificates) and court documents cannot be notarized by a notary in most states. You'll need to request certified copies of those documents. In practice, improper notarization may result in invalid documents or rejection of subsequent authentication requests. This will cost the applicant extra time and money.
  • How to order a notarization service?
  • Can a Notary Public notarize any type of document?
    In most states, publicly recorded documents (vital records) can not be notarized by a notary public. These may include, Birth certificates. Death certificate. Marriage certificates. Divorce decrees/certificates. Court documents. Corporate documents on file with the State Corporations Division. Federally issued documents.
  • What is Apostille?
    An Apostille (pronounced "ah-po-steel") is a form of authentication issued to documents for use in countries that participate in the Hague Convention of 1961. Since October 15, 1981, the United States has been part of the 1961 Hague Convention abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents. About 60% of the countries in the world are currently parties to the Hague Certification Convention. There is a list of countries that accept apostilles. If the country of intended use does not participate in the Hague Convention, documents being sent to that country can be "authenticated" or "certified". Click here to learn about Apostille.
  • What is an Authentication?
    Authentication certifies the seals and signatures of public officials on the documents issued in the U.S. and will be sent to countries that don’t participate in the Hague Convention. Authenticated documents can be recognized in those foreign countries. Unlike the Apostille, the Authentication process requires a few extra steps, such as the authentication from the Secretary of State, authentication from the U.S. Department of State, and legalization from the embassy of the destination country located in D.C.
  • What is the difference between Apostille and Authentication?
    An Apostille is a type of authentication. An apostille is for documents to be used in countries that participate in the 1961 Hague Convention Treaty. For these countries, apostille certificate itself is enough. Authentication certificates are for documents to be used in countries that do NOT participate in the 1961 Hague Convention Treaty. The document needs several authentication certificates, including those from the Secretary of State, the U.S. Department of State, and the embassy of the destination country located in D.C. Click 🔗 here to learn about Apostille.
  • Why do I need to get documents apostilled/authenticated?
    When you are going to send the documents issued in the US (Birth Certificate, Power-of-Attorneys, etc.) to another country, you need to get the documents apostilled or authenticated in the US first to make them recognized and acknowledged in foreign countries, without a doubt on the authenticity of the seal or signature on the documents.
  • What's the Turnaround Time for the apostille or authentication?
    Please check the current processing time here. This page is updated regularly.
  • Does an Apostille expire?
    No. Apostille Certificate, Authentication Certificate, and Embassy Legalization Certificate/Stamp do not have expiration dates, as you can see in the sample. However, you should still be aware of how old your documents can be for two reasons. Reason 1: Some requestors overseas may require your US documents to be issued or apostilled recently, such as within the recent 3, 6, 9, or 12 months. Reason 2: The competent authorities in the U.S. which are responsible for issuing Apostille certificates, Authentication Certificates, or Embassy Legalization Certificates may have their own requirements. For example, in Michigan and Virginia, vital records such as birth, marriage, divorce, and death certificates must be certified copies issued within the last 12 months. Click here for more information.
  • What kind of documents can be Apostilled/Authenticated?
    Documents that may require apostille or authentication for use abroad include: ➤ Personal Documents: Birth Certificate Death Certificate Marriage Certificate Divorce Certificate Court Document FBI – Background check Background check of the local police department U.S. Residence Certificate/Affidavit Name Change Certificate/Petition for Name Change Driver's License Certificate of Naturalization Translation of Any Document ​ ➤ Affidavits: Single Status Affidavit Affidavit of One and The Same Gift Affidavit Waiver of Inheritance ​ ➤ Powers-of-Attorneys: Power of Attorney of Real Estate Transaction Power of Attorney of Divorce Proceedings Other Power of Attorney ​ ➤ Study and Immigration related documents: Proof of Income Employment Verification Letter Bank Statement Diploma Transcript Health Certificate/Medical Letter Family Circumstances Statement Child Adoption Documents ➤ Notarization: Certifying “true copies” of documents Certifying affidavits or Jurat Certifying acknowledgments Verification of fact​ ➤ Business documents: Articles of Incorporation/Articles of Organization Amendment Company's Annual report (Statement of information) Bylaws (Operating Agreements) Good Standing Certificate Business License Meeting Minutes Board Resolutions Shareholders' Resolutions Corporate Stock Ledger Financial documents Bank documents Tax documents Contracts
  • Who can issue an Apostille in the USA?
    In the United States, all 50 states and the Federal Government (US Department of State – Office of Authentication) can issue an Apostille. It may vary by the issuing authority of the document. The U.S. Department of State only issues apostilles for federal documents to use in countries that are members of the 1961 Hague Convention. State-issued documents for use in countries that are members of the 1961 Hague Convention must be authenticated by the competent authority (mostly it's the Secretary of State Office) in the state where the document was executed. A state-issued document with an apostille does not require additional certification by the U.S. Department of State or legalization by a U.S. embassy or consulate overseas to be recognized in a participating country. The U.S. Department of State will not issue an apostille for state-issued documents. Click here to learn about Apostille.
  • Does the Secretary of State Office provide expedited authentication service?
    Most states do not offer expedited services. Several states provide expedited service based on additional fees. Contact us for details. It usually takes 10-15 business days (excludes shipping time) to process the documents, but it may change depending on the resources available at the Secretary of State's Offices. Some states provide walk-in services (drop-off and pick-up services), which could be faster but not apply to everyone.
  • What documents are needed for consular authentication/legalization?
    The most important one is the original document that needs to be authenticated. Other required materials may include the applicant's ID for individuals or the company's incorporation certificates for corporates. The document requirements of embassies vary from country to country. Our team will guide you based on your situation once we receive your order.
  • Will there be a translation along with the US-issued documents after its apostille or authentication?
    No. In all authentication steps, no government authority will automatically translate your original English documents into a foreign language. The principle of their authentication is the authenticity of the document. They will not change, add or delete (also translate) any information in the original documents you submitted. However, you can attach translations to or ask us to provide a translation service (with an additional fee) for your documents at the very beginning if you need one.
  • Will you apostille or authenticate my document if it is in a foreign language?
    For Apostille and Authentication: It varies by state and agency. Most states accept documents in different languages as long as the notarization is in English. However, some agencies, like the U.S. Department of State, have different requirements. They do not accept Non-English documents. All documents in a foreign language must be translated into English by a certified translator and notarized as a true translation. 💡Tips: If your documents need to be used in non-English speaking countries, and the documents are powers of attorney, declarations, agreements, wills, affidavits, etc. that can be prepared and drafted by yourself. In that case, we recommend that you draft them in both English and foreign language, in the format of "one paragraph in English + one paragraph in local language", and then complete notarization and certification successively. In this way, it can not only avoid the rejection of apostille or authentication in the United States, but also make the receiving party in foreign countries understand the documents without obstacles. Please refer to 🔗 this table to confirm
  • What are Vital Records?
    Vital records consist of birth, death, marriage, and divorce certificates. State government vital records offices issue these documents. To get a copy of a vital record, contact the vital records office in the state where the event occurred, or order it on the government-authorized platform: Notaries cannot notarize vital records. Please do not ask our notaries or any other notaries to notarize either your original or scanned copy of your vital records. This notarization may result in its invalidation or the rejection of the apostille thereafter.
  • Must I provide the original vital records?
    To get an apostille, a certified copy of your vital records is needed. A certified copy of your vital record usually carries: A raised, embossed, impressed or multicolored seal The registrar’s signature The date the certificate was filed with the registrar’s office If your original document does not contain the above elements, it will not be accepted. ⚠️ Please note: Certified copies of Birth or Death Certificates in New York City should bear a Letter of Exemplification.
  • How to Get a Certified Copy of a Birth/Marriage/Divorce/Death Certificate?
    The easiest and quickest way is to order on the government-authorized platform: Click 🔗 here for instructions on getting a copy of your Vital Records from a local department in all 50 States and DC. Click 🔗 here for guidance if the record happens outside of the U.S.
  • How to get an FBI Background Check?
    FBI Background Check, also called an Identity History Summary check, can be requested in three ways: Online Mail FBI-Approved Channeler Current Processing Time: Online Requests - About 3-5 days (after the FBI receives your fingerprint card) Mail Requests - About 2-4 weeks (Allow additional time for mail delivery) You may find more information on our post or the FBI's guides.
  • How to submit fingerprints to the FBI if I'm overseas?
    Option 1: You can take the fingerprints yourself by printing out the FD-258 on regular letter-sized paper and using an ink pad to mark the fingerprints. You can make as many sets of fingerprints as possible to avoid rejections caused by illegible fingerprints. Here are FBI's detailed instructions on how to properly collect the fingerprints. Option 2: Please check whether or not the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your country can collect the fingerprints, and whether or not their websites mention some local authorities could provide professional fingerprinting services. If neither is available, please refer to Option 1.
  • How to get a local criminal background check?
    Go to your local police department where you reside or last resided in the United States, request that the police conduct a local or state criminal records search and provide you with a document reflecting that there is no history of a criminal record. Local police departments may require your personal appearance in order to conduct the search. The local criminal background check you obtained should bear the officer's signature, and that signature must be notarized. You'll need to ask the police department to return you a notarized result or take a mobile notary with you if they do not have any notaries in their office.
  • What service should I order for my criminal background check?
    For a local criminal background check, destined for a Hague Apostille Country, please order the service here. For a local criminal background check, destined for a Non-Hague Apostille Country, please order the service here. For an FBI background check, destined for a Hague Apostille Country, please order the service here. For an FBI background check, destined for a Non-Hague Apostille Country, please order the service here.
  • What's the difference between fingerprint form FD-258 and FD-1164?
    Both FD-258 and FD-1164 are known as the fingerprints cards. You'll need to submit one of them when requesting a criminal background check (or Identity History Summary Checks) from the FBI. The difference is, when you submit your request online, they guide you to place the fingerprints on the FD-258. While if you submit your request by mail, they suggest you use the FD-1164.
  • Can I have a template?
    A variety of editable templates can be downloaded at 🔗 this link, including but not limited to: Single Status Affidavit Template Affidavit of One and The Same Person Template Affidavit of Relinquishment of Inheritance Right Template Power of Attorney Template Statement of Premarital Property Template Child Travel Consent Form Template
  • Which service should I order on your website?
    Click 🔗 here for guidance.
  • What to expect after I place an order?
    You'll receive an order confirmation email immediately right after you place an order. Another more detailed instruction email from our customer service team will be sent to you within 12-24 hours after your purchase to let you know the next steps (responses during weekends and holidays may be slightly slower). Instructions vary case by case. Cases are processed in the order we receive them.
  • I am from another state rather than the DC area, can you provide Notarization/Authentication/Apostille/Legalization services for me?"
    Partially Yes, check the details below👇. For documents that require notarization only, we suggest you 🔗 find a local notary public near you. For notarization services for the documents that need to be authenticated/apostilled/legalized subsequently, we suggest you find a local notary public near you and have them notarized in a traditional way (paper and pen). Some government authorities cannot authenticate/apostille/legalize an electronic notarization. For Authentication/Apostille/Legalization services, no matter which state you are from, we are happy to provide services for you. Just mail us the original notarized or certified documents that need to be authenticated. Then leave the subsequent process to us. It's quite simple! Click 🔗 here to see the difference among traditional, electronic, and remote notarization. Click 🔗 here to Order Online.
  • What payment methods do you accept?
    We accept the following payment methods: 1. Credit/Debit Card Accept direct credit card payments from all major credit card companies, including Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, UnionPay, JCB, Diners, Cartes Bancaires, Maestro. 2. Apple Pay 3. Paypal Payable to: 4. Checks Checks, Money Order, Cashier's Check. Payable to: American Notary Service Center Inc. You can easily place an order online.
  • What is the fee and processing time of your service?
    Fee Schedule Current Processing Times * You may experience delays during COVID-19.
  • Can you mail the documents to an address outside of the US?
    Yes. You can choose the shipping method at the checkout page, then enter the country name and postal code to view and pay for shipping fee if it's available. The shipping fee should be prepaid, and we’re not responsible for any loss or damage. The courier takes responsibility for that.
  • What's your mailing address?
    Mailing Address: American Notary Service Center 7512 Diplomat Drive, Suite 101, Manassas, VA 20109
  • What is your Refund Policy?
    If the authentication is rejected or returned, the Center provides a full refund, but no refund is available for the following cases: 1. If the application is rejected or returned by the Secretary of State /the U.S. Department of State/Embassies or Consulates because of the inaccurate or inappropriate notarization at the very beginning, or the unsatisfied form of the document, and no refund is provided. 2. There is no refund for any shipping fee charged by the Mail Service Providers. The Center will do its utmost to ensure that it is carefully reviewed when processing documents to avoid unnecessary rejections and returns. Therefore, we recommend you find an experienced notary public with extensive notary experience and be familiar with and abide by the state's notarization laws and regulations. Inappropriate notarization or documentation may result in subsequent authentication requests being rejected, and you will have to start over, costing your time and money.
  • Any problems with your order
    If you encounter any problems with your order, please contact our Customer Service Team via email. Your request will be attended to as soon as possible.
bottom of page