Authentication of Vital Records, Academic, Commercial or Other Credentials Issued in the U.S.
U.S. Consular Officers are not Empowered to authenticate Public Documents Issued in the United States. Such documents include vital records (birth, marriage, death and divorce), as well as academic, commercial, or other credentials. Consular Officers do not have access to the records of the issuing office or the seal of the custodian of these records.
Public documents issued in the United States may be authenticated by the designated official in the U.S. state or other jurisdiction where the public document was issued. For documents issued in the United States, please refer to the respective state’s authentication office for more information. The National Association of Secretaries of State website contains contact information for each state’s authentication authorities and can be found at: http://www.nass.org Home page>Issues>Business Services>Notary Services>Choose a state for the state Notary Public website. The document may then be authenticated for use abroad by the U.S. Department of State Authentication Office.
When a certification or authentication of a true copy of a document issued outside of Thailand is required, please contact the embassy or consulate of the country where the document was issued.
Procedures for Authentication and Legalizing Official Documents Issued In the United States
Official documents requiring authentication will need to be certified first by the entity that issued them, then by the state in which that entity is located, and then by the federal government (the U.S. State Department). Once the document has been authenticated by the U.S. State Department, the foreign embassy in the United States of the country requesting the document will perform a final authentication. Following is a brief outline of what will be required (though the actual requirements will vary greatly from state to state).
To authenticate and legalize official documents issued in the United States, please follow the steps below.
Step 1: Obtain the Document
If you do not already have the document, contact the custodian of records where the document was originally issued to obtain a copy. In some cases you may be required to obtain a new sealed copy for the purposes of authentication, even if you already possess a copy. Please check with your respective state.
Academic Records: Contact the respective academic institution directly for information on what it will need to certify the document’s authenticity. Some academic institutions require the submission of the original diploma; others issue a true copy themselves. Most academic transcripts issued to the student, for example, cannot be used for official purposes; a new sealed copy must be obtained.
Step 2: Contact the State Authentication Office
Authentication procedures vary from state to state. We strongly encourage patrons to contact their respective state’s authentication office for more information. Refer to the National Association of Secretaries of State website to locate the state specific Authentication Authorities at: http://www.usa.gov/ Home Page > A-Z Index> S> State Agencies by Topic> State Government Home Pages.
* In some cases, the Clerk of Court is required to certify that the Notary’s term has not expired in the county where the Notary Public is commissioned.
Step 3: Obtain Signature and Seal from State Secretary of State (State Authentication Office)
The document must then be signed and sealed by the Secretary of State in the state where the Notary is located, certifying to the Notary’s current status. For contact information, visit the State Department’s list of State Authentication Authorities at: http://www.nass.org Homepage> Issues> Business Services> Notary Services> Choose a State to get to the state Notary Public Website.
Step 4: Obtain U.S. Department of State Authentication
Forward all documents to the U.S. Department of State at the following address:
Department of State Documents Authentication Office
518 23rd ST. N.W., SA-1, Columbia Plaza
Washington, D.C. 20520
Tel: (202) 647-5002 or 1-800-688-9889, FAX: (202) 663-3636
The Department of State Documents Authentication Office charges a fee of $7.00.
Step 5: Obtain Embassy/Consulate Authentication of Foreign Government
Once the documents have been authenticated by the U.S. Department of State, bring the documents to the foreign embassy in the United States of the country requesting the documents, where they will do the final authentication.
Contact information for the Royal Thai Embassy in Washington D.C. can be found at: http://www.thaiembdc.org
Step 6: Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Legalization Division
Once the document is in Thailand, submit the document to the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs-Legalization Division to make the document legal for use in Thailand. Once they put their stamp and seal on the document it can now be used in Thailand officially. The phone number for the Legalization Division is (+66) 2-981-7171.
Further Questions: U.S. Embassy – Bangkok, American Citizens Services at (66) 2-205-4049 or U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of American Citizens Services at (202) 647-5225, or (202) 647-5226.
Disclaimer: The information in this circular is provided for general information only. The Department of State makes no warranty regarding the accuracy of this information. While some of the information is about legal issues, it is not legal advice. Questions involving interpretation of specific foreign laws should be addressed to foreign attorneys.
For more information on Authentication of Documents, Apostilles, or Copies of Birth, Death, Marriage, or Divorce Records, please consult travel.state.gov.