top of page

How to authenticate or apostille a US birth certificate?

Updated: Jun 9, 2022

A certified birth certificate works for just about any purpose within the borders of the United States. A US citizen is asked to provide a birth certificate for legal purposes overseas, such as getting married abroad or other legal business in another country, then you will need to get your birth certificate certified (authenticated or apostilled).

So, you may ask how do I know if my birth certificate needs Authentication or Apostille? It depends on which country your birth 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 Birth Certificate

A certified copy of your birth 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

The certified copy of your vital records (such as birth/death/marriage/divorce certificate etc.) does not need to be notarized by a notary public since the certified copy is issued by the department of health or the vital records office where the birth was recorded, it is already a document that is legally and officially valid to prove the citizen’s identity. No further steps are needed if it is used within the US.

For obtaining a birth certificate, some states have it at the county where you were born, other states keep it at the State Vital Statistics office. So, contact the vital records office in the state where you were born 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 birth 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 birth certificate authenticated by the US 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 birth 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, and contact us by calling 202-599-0777 or by email at


bottom of page