Document authentication is becoming an increasingly common requirement for a wide range of international transactions. Any company or private citizen may need the document authentication services of the Secretary of the State's Office in connection with a business agreement, registering a diploma or a degree, establishing residency, adopting a child, or any number of other transactions with or in a foreign country. The information presented on this page is intended to make this process easier to understand so customers are able to successfully access the authentication services they seek.
What is an Authentication?
Although it is sometimes referred to as a "stamp" or a "gold seal," an authentication is actually a sealed certificate that confirms the authority of a public official, such as a Notary Public, Town Clerk, or Judge, to act in a particular capacity in connection with a document that he or she has signed. The authentication certificate will verify that the named individual and their position are a matter of record in the Secretary of the State's Office. The certificate will only be prepared if the official has in fact executed the document properly and can only be attached to a signed original or a sealed certified copy from a public record keeper, such as a Town Clerk.
What is an Apostille?
The Apostille is a specific form of Authentication that is prepared pursuant to an international treaty the "Convention de le Haye du 5 octobre 1961" also known as "The Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirements of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents." The convention eliminates the need for authentication above the level of the Secretary of the State and is only accepted by countries that have signed the treaty. The country in which a document will be used determines the type of certificate that this office will attach to the original.
How do I prepare documents for Authentication?
Documents submitted for authentication must be original documents recently signed by a public official of the state of Connecticut. We do not authenticate documents signed by officials of other states. Those documents may be authenticated by the Office of the Secretary of the State for the state in which the documents were issued or executed. This office can usually authenticate documents signed by the following officials:
Connecticut Notaries Public, Town Clerks and their duly appointed assistants and deputies; local Registrars of Vital Statistics and their duly appointed assistants and deputies; Clerks, Deputy Clerks, and Assistant Clerks of the Superior Court; Judges of the Superior Court; Judges of the Probate Court; Connecticut Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner of Public Health; Connecticut Registrar and Assistant Registrar of Vital Records; and Justices of the Peace.
It is important to remember that Notaries Public cannot certify copies of documents. Copies of Public Records can be certified by a public record keeper such as the Secretary of the State or Town Clerk. Vital Records such as certificates of birth, death, and marriage can only be certified by Town Clerks, Registrars of Vital Statistics, or the Commissioner of Public Health. If you have questions concerning authentication of vital records, please contact the Authentication Unit.
For other documents, such as diplomas and school transcripts, we recommend the following procedure: The person in possession of the document can make a photocopy and prepare a written statement that may be attached to or written on the photocopy, stating that the copy is a true and correct copy of the original. The individual will then verify the statement under oath before a notary public and the notary will indicate by a jurat that he or she has administered an oath to the testator.
How do I request services?
Original documents may be mailed to the following address for authentication:
Authentications and Apostilles
Secretary of the State
P.O. Box 150470
Hartford CT 06115-0470
If you have questions on how to properly complete the form, please call 860-509-6100.
Customers may complete the Authentication Order Form, or provide a covering letter that provides the following information: Your Name; Your Company Name (if applicable); Street Address; City; State; Zip Code; Daytime Telephone Number; and, Country in which the documents will be used. All orders will be returned by First Class Mail, unless the customer provides for an alternative prepaid delivery service. A properly filled prepaid shipping label must accompany prepaid delivery requests, or the order will be returned by first class mail.
Authentication/Apostille Order Form
The fees for Authentication Services are as follows:
Authentication and Apostille Certificates
$40.00 per certificate
Documents for Adoption
$15.00 per certificate
Expedited Service (24-hour response)
Additional $50.00 per certificate
Make checks payable to "Secretary of the State." Personal checks are accepted. Do not send cash. Visa and MasterCard are accepted. Please note we do not accept American Express.