The Secretary of State’s Corporations and Charities Division will be open and doing business as usual, even if there is a state government shutdown. Annual report filings provided by the Department of Revenue’s Business Licensing Service (BLS) will not be available as of June 27th. Reminder: the Secretary of State does not have the authority to answer tax and BLS questions on the Department of Revenue’s behalf.

Apostille Frequently Asked Questions

Send all documents with Request form and payment:
Apostille or Certificate of Authentication Request Form

 

Q: What is the difference between an Apostille and a Certificate of Authentication?
A:  Apostilles are issued to documents intended for use in countries that are parties to the October 5, 1961 Hague Convention.  Certificates of Authentication are issued to countries that are not parties to the October 5, 1961 Hague Convention.

 

WASHINGTON STATE NOTARY CERTIFICATE/LANGUAGE:

Q: How do you know when your document has been notarized correctly?
A:  Your document should have a Notary certificate that is complete, signed and stamped by a Washington State Notary Public. The document should include a Notary Stamp and Signature, the State and County where the notary act took place, Date of the Notary Act, Signed and Printed Name of the Notary Public, Title (Notary Public), and the expiration date of notary appointment.
1) Notary Signature name and Notary stamp name should be identical
2) Date and Name on the Notary stamp should match the Notary Division License Directory
3) Look up notaries online at the Notary Division License Directory website

The Notary Certificate can be part of the document or attached to it.
If the document is without a notary certificate; ask the signer to provide one. You cannot notarize without one. See RCW 42.44.100 Short Forms of Certificate

 

VITAL RECORDS:

Q:  How do I obtain an Apostille/Certificate of Authentication on my birth certificate?
A:  If it is a Washington Birth Certificate, you will need to send an Original Certified Birth Certificate. If the Birth Certificate was issued in another state, you will need to obtain the Apostille/Certificate in the state in which the person was born.

Q:  Where can I order a Certified Birth Certificate?
A:  You can order Birth Certificates from either Center for Vital Statistics in Tumwater, Washington or any health department in Washington State. Vital Statistics (Tumwater office) can be reached by phone at (360)236-4313. For alternate ordering options, please contact (360)725-0344 or (360)725-0345.

Q:  How do I obtain an Apostille/Certificate of Authentication on a Death Certificate?
A:  If it is a Washington Death Certificate, you will need to send an Original Certified Death Certificate. If the Death Certificate was issued in another state, you will need to contact that specific state.

Q:  Where can I order a Certified Death Certificate?
A:  You can order Death Certificates from either Center for Vital Statistics in Tumwater, Washington or any health department in Washington State.  Vital Statistics (Tumwater office) can be reached by phone at (360)236-4313. For alternate ordering options, please contact (360)725-0344 or (360)725-0345.

Q: What is the process to get my Marriage Certificate Apostille/Authenticated?
A:  You will need to send a certified copy of your Marriage certificate.  If you do not have a certified copy, you can order a certified copy from the county auditor that issued the marriage certificate or Center for Vital Statistics in Tumwater, Washington. Vital Statistics (Tumwater office) can be reached by phone at (360)236-4313.  For alternate ordering options, please contact (360)725-0344 or (360)725-0345.

Q: Where can I get a letter of Single Status?
A: You can order a letter of Single Status from the Center for Vital Statistics in Tumwater, WA. If you are divorced, you should order from the time of your divorce to the present.  Vital Statistics (Tumwater office) can be reached by phone at (360)236-4313. For alternate ordering options, please contact (360)725-0344 or (360)725-0345.

 

BACKGROUND CHECKS/CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORD:

Q: How do I obtain an Apostille/Certificate of Authentication on a Washington State Background Check/Criminal History Record?
A:  You will need to obtain a notarized clearance letter from Washington State Patrol. If the requesting country also asks for fingerprints or the background check was conducted based on fingerprints provided, please be sure to include fingerprint card with your notarized letter when sending to our office. For more information on Background checks, please visit the Washington State Patrol website or they can be reached by phone at (360)534-2000

Q: How do I obtain an Apostille/Certificate of Authentication on my FBI Background Check?
A: FBI Background Checks must be sent to the US Department of State in Washington DC. Our office does not have authority to Apostille or Authenticate Federal background checks. You can visit US Department of State website for more information.

 

WASHINGTON STATE BUSINESS ENTITY RECORDS:

Q: How do I get my business entity documents Apostilled? (e.g. Profit or NonProfit Corporation, Limited Liability Company, Limited Partnership)
A:  If documents are on file with the Washington Secretary of State-Corporations Division, you will need to obtain Certified copies or Certificates from Corporations Division (Located in the same building as Apostilles).  Previously issued documents that have already left our office are not acceptable. Corporation/ LLC documents needing Apostilles cannot be ordered online. Please send a written request indicating what type of records you will need and also indicate that you need them Apostille/Authenticated for what country you are dealing with. Be sure to also include the entity name, UBI number, and mailing and contact information. These documents are issued from two separate departments and fees for each department apply. For correct fees or any other questions, please contact (360)725-0344 or (360)725-0345.

 

WASHINGTON STATE HIGH SCHOOLS:

Q: Do my Washington State High School transcripts need to be notarized?
A: High School Transcripts do not need to be notarized. They must be Official Transcripts signed by the Principal or Vice Principal (Superintendent or Asst. Superintendent of the school district is also acceptable) and these signatures must be special requested by the school as they do not typically sign transcripts. We recommend opening the transcript if sealed to verify that it is signed by the Principal or Vice Principal. If transcript is not signed by Principal or Vice Principal, you will need to contact the school to obtain the appropriate signature on transcript.

Q: Does my High School diploma need to be notarized or do you need my original diploma?
A:  Notarized copies of diplomas, original diplomas, or diplomas signed by the Principal, Vice Principal, or Superintendent are acceptable. We do not recommend sending the original High School Diploma as typically schools will not recreate the diploma if needed. If the original diploma is necessary per country, we strongly suggest that documents are sent by a traceable mail source to and from our office (FedEx, UPS, Etc.).

 

WASHINGTON STATE COLLEGES & UNIVERSITIES:

[Please note: This office can only process official transcripts from Washington State Schools/College/Universities. One exception are diplomas-We can process copies of out of state diplomas if the copy is notarized by a Washington Notary Public]

Q:  Do my Washington State College or University transcripts need to be notarized?
A:  College and University transcripts do not need to be notarized. They must be Official Transcripts signed by the University or College Registrar (Assoc. Registrar and Interim Registrar are also acceptable).

Q: Does my College or University diploma need to be notarized?
A: If you are sending your original diploma, notary is not required. Notarized copies of diplomas, or duplicate diplomas signed by the Registrar, President, or Vice President are acceptable.

 

DRIVER LICENSES/IDENTIFICATION:

Q:  How do I get my Driver License Apostille/Authenticated?
A:  If you are currently in Washington State, you will need to get a copy of your Driver License notarized before requesting an Apostille/Certificate of Authentication. If you are not in Washington State and need your Washington State license Apostilled/Authenticated, you can obtain an Abstract Driving Record from Department of Licensing
The abstract driving record will then need to be sent to our office for Apostille or Authentication. Please do not send us your original Driver License. Please contact (360)725-0344 or (360)725-0345 with any questions.

Q: How do I get my passport Apostille/Authenticated?
A: You will need to get a copy of your passport notarized as a true and correct copy by a Washington State notary public.

 

OTHER ITEMS (Examples: Power of Attorney, Affidavits, Consents/Authorizations, etc.):

Q: How can I obtain an Apostille/Certificate of Authentication on my personal document?

A: You will need to get your personal document notarized by a Washington State notary and send the notarized document with the Apostille or Certificate of Authentication Request Form

For more questions, please contact our office at (360)725-0344 or (360)725-0345 or by e-mail at apostilles@sos.wa.gov