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How to authenticate or apostille a US marriage certificate?

Updated: Jun 9, 2022

A certified marriage certificate works for just about any purpose within the borders of the United States. When you are asked to provide a marriage certificate for legal purposes overseas, then you will need to get your marriage certificate certified (authenticated or apostilled).

So, you may ask how do I know if my marriage certificate needs Authentication or Apostille? It depends on which country your marriage certificate needs to be presented to.

If the destination country is a member of the Hague Convention of 1961, your document falls under the Apostille process (following Step 1-2); if it's NOT a member of the Hague Convention of 1961, your document is required to go through the Authentication process (following Step 1-4).

Step 1: Get a certified copy of your Marriage Certificate


A certified copy of your marriage certificate usually carries:

  • A raised, embossed, impressed or multicolored seal

  • The registrar’s signature

  • The date the certificate was filed with the registrar’s office

For a certified copy of your marriage certificate, contact the vital records office in the state where you were married. You'll find instructions on how to request a copy and information on any fees.


Even though the guidelines vary by state, all requests should include:

  • Full names of both spouses at the time of marriage

  • Month, day, and year of the marriage

  • Place of the marriage (city or town, county, and state)

  • Purpose for requesting the copy of the marriage certificate

  • Relationship to the people whose marriage certificate is being requested

  • Your daytime telephone number (include area code)

For obtaining a certified copy marriage certificate, some states have it at the county where you were married, other states keep it at the State Vital Statistics office. So, contact the vital records office in the state where you were married to get it.

Step 2: Get it authenticated or apostilled by the Secretary of State


For Hague Convention Countries, get it certified with an apostille by the Secretary of State. For marriage certificate is a state-issued document, it does not require additional certification by the U.S. Department of State or legalization by a U.S. embassy or consulate overseas to be recognized in a participating country. You are all set!



For Non-Hague Convention Countries, get it certified with authentication by the Secretary of State. Go to Step 3.

Step 3: Get it authenticated or apostilled by the Department of State


Have your marriage certificate authenticated by the U.S. Department of State.


Step 4: Get it legalized by the embassy of your destination country


Contact the embassy of your destination country to get the marriage certificate legalized.



 

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 www.usnotarycenter.com, and contact us by calling 202-599-0777 or by email at info@usnotarycenter.com.

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