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Can a Power of Attorney written in a foreign language obtain an Apostille or Authentication?

Updated: Mar 23, 2022

Regardless of whether it is in normal times or during the COVID-19 epidemic, it is common for you to be unable to act for yourself for many reasons. At this time, you may generally draft and sign a "Power of Attorney", entrusting others to do it on your behalf.

If the "Power of Attorney" issued in the United States is to be used in other countries, it needs to obtain an Apostille or complete the multi-step authentication process.

Taking China as an example, the multi-step authentication process of the power of attorney is: first, draft the power of attorney, then find a local notary to notarize it, and then send the notarized power of attorney to the secretary of state for authentication, and finally have the document legalized by the Chinese Embassy/Consulates in the United States. If your document needs to be legalized by the Chinese Embassy, you need to complete the U.S. Department of State authentication before that.

Many clients ask the American Notary Service Center, can my "Power of Attorney" be written in Chinese only? Because the entrusted person, notary, and Chinese embassy/consulates can understand Chinese, and the document will finally be used in China.

Our answer is that it is recommended to draft in both Chinese and English, so as to avoid any rejection of multi-step authentications in the United States, and to enable Chinese agencies to understand English documents smoothly.

In America, although some government agencies (such as the California Secretary of State) may accept documents in languages ​​other than English, they still require notarization in English. However, some other government agencies, such as Alabama, Michigan, Arkansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, etc. state that they do not accept foreign language documents. It is particularly noteworthy that the U.S. State Department clearly says that "All documents in a foreign language must be translated into English by a certified translator and notarized as a true translation."

Time (*COVID-19 may cause significant delays)

  • Notarization: get the documents notarized immediately after a notarial act properly performed by a notary.

  • Secretary of State Apostille/Authentication: usually about 10-15 business days, depending on the work volume of the office and the delivery time. Most office does not provide expedited services.

  • U.S. Department of State Apostille/Authentication: standard processing 12 business days, express processing 7 business days, rush processing 3 business days.

  • Embassy Legalization: standard processing 12 business days, express processing 7 business days, rush processing 3 business days.

Required materials

  • Order Form of our center

  • Authentication Application Form (it differs by your destination country)

  • The original document to be authenticated

  • The copy of the document to be authenticated

  • Copy of the applicant's ID, such as passport, driver's license, and green card

  • Others

Document authentication involves various agencies that have different rules. Professionals can help.


American Notary Service Center Inc. provides fair, fast, confidential, and professional document notarization and certification services for our clients. We also provide various assistance services to small businesses led by socially and economically disadvantaged groups. Our service helps small businesses obtain federal government contracts, gain a foothold in the market, and boost their sales. For more information, please visit our website at, and contact us by calling 202-599-0777 or by email at


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