The purpose of the authentications office is to verify to foreign governments that Virginia officials are in good standing. These officials include notary publics, clerks and deputy clerks of Virginia courts, registrars and deputy registrars of the Department of Health, and the Clerk of the State Corporation Commission.
Authentication of a notarized document is required for conducting international business by individuals and corporations in Virginia. All documents for Authentication must be less than one year old. This means that the issue date on Vital Records must be less than one year from the day processed by our office. On all documents signed by a Notary, Deputy Clerk, or any other Virginia official, that acknowledgement must have taken place less than one year from the day processed.
The Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth does not regulate what documents are required by the foreign government.
How do I prepare the documents?
Before documents are sent to the Authentication Office, they must have the proper signatures (original signatures only) and/or certificates attached. All correspondence being sent to the Authentication Office must include a Cover Letter (PDF, 71kb | Word, 32kb) and the appropriate fee.
What are the fees?
The fee for authentication of documents is $ 10.00 per document, payable to the Secretary of the Commonwealth. If there are several documents signed by the same public official (notary public, deputy clerk, etc…) on the same date for the same country; the fee is $ 10.00 for the first document and $ 5.00 for each additional document.
Can I mail the documents or do I need to make an appointment?
So that we can accommodate our customers’ requests in a timely manner, we ask that you mail the documents . If documents must be dropped off for processing, the Drop-off/Pick –up schedule is below. Make sure to include the cover letter and the appropriate fee with all documents.
The general turnaround time for mail-in documents is 5 business days - please plan accordingly. Include a cover letter with contact name, daytime telephone number, the country where the document will be used, and a self-addressed, prepaid return mailer to return documents. Documents submitted without a return envelope and postage will be returned regular delivery by the United State Postal Service to the person submitting the documents.
Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Office
1111 East Broad Street, 1st Floor
Richmond, VA 23219