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How to Apostille or Authenticate a Death Certificate?

Updated: Mar 1

In many cases, you may need to provide a death certificate to other countries outside the United States to handle matters involving real estate or inheritance rights. Documents issued by the U.S. government will not be directly recognized by foreign governments or agencies, but the apostille or authentication process must be completed first.

To Apostille or Authenticate the US death certificate, the first step is to obtain the death certificate.

How to obtain a death certificate?

A death certificate is an official, government-issued document that declares the date and time, location, and cause of death, as well as other personal information about the person who died. When someone dies, the death must be registered with the local or state vital records office within a matter of days. The vital records office can then issue copies of the death certificate, which you may want or your personal records or to handle a deceased person’s affairs.

Regardless of the nationality and status of the deceased, as long as the death occurred in the United States, a death certificate can be obtained.

The funeral home, cremation organization, or other people in charge of the deceased person’s remains will prepare and file the death certificate. Preparing the certificate involves gathering personal information from family members and obtaining the signature of a doctor, medical examiner, or coroner. The process must be completed quickly -- within three to ten days, depending on state law. The funeral home can request multiple copies of the death certificate for you at this time. This is the simplest way to get certified copies of a death certificate, and you should ask for at least ten copies.

You may also request copies of the death certificate yourself by contacting the local Health Department where the person died. In an increasing number of states, certified copies are available only to members of the deceased person’s immediate family, the executor of the estate, or someone who can prove that they have a direct financial interest in the estate.

Click here to know How to Get a Copy of a Birth/Marriage/Divorce/Death Certificate?

How to complete Apostille/Authentication?

After obtaining a certified copy of the death certificate, according to whether the destination country is a member of the Hague Convention of 1961, complete the following steps:

The destination country is a member country/region (such as Hong Kong, Macau, Spain, France, etc.):

  • Get an Apostille from the Secretary of State.

The destination country is NOT a member country/region :

  • Get an Authentication from the Secretary of State.

  • Get an Authentication from the Department of State.

  • Get a Legalization from the Embassy.

Note: Please be aware of how old the certified copy of the death certificate is. There are a few states that have set limits on how old a certificate can be. For example, death certificates issued from Virginia cannot be older than 12 months.

You may simply submit the Order Form and mail us your original documents that need to be apostilled or authenticated. We'll complete the subsequent process for you.


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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