Division of Licensing Service
Authentication of Public Documents:
When a document is to be used in a foreign country, it may be necessary to have the document authenticated. An authentication certifies the signature and the capacity of the official who has executed the document. The authentication may also authenticate the seal of the official.
The New York Secretary of State authenticates public documents for use in foreign countries. Only public documents issued in New York State which are signed by either a State Official or a County Clerk will be authenticated.The country of destination determines whether the authentication is in the form of an "Apostille" or a "Certificate of Authentication."
What is an "Apostille" or "Authentication?"
An Apostille is an authentication of a public document issued pursuant to the 1961 Hague Convention abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents.
The Convention provides for the simplified certification of public (including notarized) documents to be used in countries that have joined the convention. Under the Hague Convention, signatory countries have agreed to recognize public documents issued by other signatory countries if those public documents are authenticated by the attachment of an internationally recognized form of authentication known as an Apostille.
The Apostille ensures that public documents issued in one signatory country will be recognized as valid in another signatory country.
An Apostille or Certificate of Authentication issued by the New York Secretary of State is a one-page document with a blue laser printed facsimile of the New York Department of State Seal.
Both the Apostille and Certificate of Authentication include the facsimile signature of the New York Secretary of State or his/her deputy
How do I verify that an Apostille or Certificate of Authentication was issued by the New York State Secretary of State?
The Department of State now allows you to verify whether an Apostille or Certificate of Authentication was issued by the New York State Secretary of State's office. Apostilles and Certificates of Authentication issued on or after April 9, 2013 may be verified on the Department of State’s website.