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Office of Authentications
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Office of Authentications

The Department of State, Authentications Office is responsible for signing and issuing certificates under the Seal of the U.S. Department of State (22 CFR, Part 131) providing authentication services to U.S. citizens and foreign nationals on documents that will be used overseas. This office receives a variety of documents from commercial organizations, private citizens, and officials of the Federal and State governments. Documents include but not limited to: company bylaws, powers of attorney, trademarks, diplomas, transcripts, distributorship agreements, articles of incorporation, good standing certificates, home studies, letters of reference etc. It also ensures that the requested information will serve in the interest of justice and is not contrary to U.S. policy.

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

Mail Service
The Authentication of documents takes approximately 5 business days to process from the time of receipt**. Please include a cover-letter (see example) with your name, telephone number, address and email address. Please indicate the name of the country where the document will be used. We suggest using 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 [see note below], Fed/Ex, UPS and express mail services for faster receipt/return of your documents. However, you must enclose a prepaid airbill and envelope.

Note: DHL will discontinue service for domestic packages by January 30, 2009, and thereafter will handle only international shipments. The DHL web site, found through any web search engine, provides more information.

Mailing Address

U.S. Department of State
Authentications Office
518 23rd Street NW.
Washington, DC 20520

** U.S. Postal Service mail entering the U.S. Department of State must go through a screening process which may delay the time in which we will receive the document.

The Authentications Office will mail documents directly to the Foreign Embassy or Consulates if provided with a transmittal letter, fee, and a pre-addressed stamped envelope. Please enclose an additional pre-addressed stamped envelope for the embassy or consulate to return the document.

Walk-in (Counter Service)

Open 7:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Only
Monday thru Friday except Federal Holidays

Each customer (company) is limited to 15 documents per day on a while-you-wait basis.


Authentications Office Columbia Plaza Store Front
518 - 23rd Street NW.
Washington, DC 20520

Directions by Metro Rail
Nearest Metro Station - Foggy Bottom-GWU
Use Blue or Orange Metro rail to Foggy Bottom-GWU stop.
Exit Metro onto 23rd Street and turn right. Walk down 3 blocks,
Cross Virginia Avenue, walk down to Columbia Plaza on right.
Go through courtyard of Columbia Plaza to 518 - 23rd Street, NW.

The office is at the far left corner of the courtyard area.

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