Authentication: What is an “Apostille” (Ah-po-steel), what is a “Certificate”?
An “Apostille” is a form of authentication issued by the Lt. Governor’s office and attached to documents for use in countries that participate in the Hague Convention of 1961. Countries that are not members of the Hague will be issued a “Certificate of Authentication.” Documents do not need an Apostille or authentication if they are being used in the United States.
An Apostille/Certificate authenticates the origin of a public document (e.g., a birth, marriage or death certificate, a judgment, an extract of a register or a notarial attestation). The Apostille/Certificate does not legitimize the contents of the document.
How long does the process of obtaining an Apostille/Certificate take?
Regular service takes 3 to 5 business days in our office to process. This does not include mailing time. Please see Request Form for all expedited service costs. Note that documents are not processed on weekends or holidays.
Do I need to schedule an appointment if I want to obtain an Apostille/Certificate in person?
No. Our office has open office hours for the public between 2 pm and 4 pm each day. However, if you’re unable to visit our office at that time, you will need to schedule an appointment. You can schedule an appointment at the link below.
Schedule My Appointment
Can I get my document(s) authenticated faster?
We offer same day and next day expedited services for an additional price. Same day documents can be processed while you wait, or up to 2 hours depending on the number of documents. Same day service is only available for documents that are dropped off in-person, or if mailed, including a prepaid return FedEx envelope. Next day service request will be mailed or ready for pick up in 24 hours, excluding weekends, and holidays.
How do I avoid delays and returned documents?
Most delays are caused by improperly prepared documents. You can avoid rejected requests by checking your documents carefully before sending or bringing them in for authentication. If you are mailing your documents through a delivery service such as UPS or DHL, it is best for you to schedule a pickup time with them before your documents are finished to ensure that they are not waiting in our office for pickup.
What should be included in a notarized document?
Please make sure that the notarized document includes:
- Original document with signature(s) (not photocopied).
- A complete notarial certificate. See this link for more information.
Find a Utah Notary
Can I have my document notarized at your office, and have it authenticated at the same time?
No. However, with over 20,000 notaries public in the state, you should be able to easily find someone who can notarize the document prior to submission. Here is a link to our Utah notary search engine to find a notary near you.
I have an FBI background check that I need authenticated. Can you do that?
No. FBI background checks should go to the US Department of State for authentication. Please see the US Dept. of State’s website or the FBI’s website for criminal background checks under “Frequently Asked Questions” for further information.
I have documents from Federal Courts and/or Federal Agencies. Can you authenticate those?
No. Certified documents from Federal Agencies should be authenticated by the U.S. Department of State. Federal court documents should be authenticated by the Federal Court in which it was issued.
I have a birth certificate from a different state, can you authenticate it?
No. Documents produced by other states cannot be authenticated by our office.
My document was notarized by a notary in another state. Can the Lieutenant Governor’s office still authenticate it?
No. You will need to contact the Secretary of State or Lieutenant Governor’s office in the state where the notarization took place.
How does the Lt. Governor’s office verify the authenticity of a Utah notary public’s signature?
The notary’s information is compared against our notary public database.
Can the authentication process be done electronically?
No. All original documents must be delivered via mail or walk-in.
Can someone else drop off or pick up my documents?
Yes. If you choose to have someone else pick up your documents after they’re completed, please be sure to let them know what name is on the request form or the receipt number so we can give them the correct documents.
What types of payments are accepted?
Cash, check and all major credit cards are accepted. Please make checks payable to: State of Utah
How do I know which documents need to be authenticated?
The authorities in the country you are sending the documents to will need to specify this for you.
Can you translate my document to a foreign language and then authenticate it?
No. The Lieutenant Governor’s office does not translate documents, nor does our office require documents to be translated in English in order to be processed. If you need your document translated here are some helpful guides.
I have a Power of Attorney, can this be authenticated?
Only if the notary does not attest to the contents of the document, unless completed by a notary who is also an attorney.
Pan American Protocol on Powers of Attorney (US Department of State website) The United States is a party to the 1940 Pan American Protocol on Uniformity of Powers of Attorney which are to be Utilized Abroad, 56 Stat. 1376, 3 Bevans 612 (Protocol) along with Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Mexico and Venezuela. This treaty provides for the recognition of notarial acts attesting to the identity of the person executing an instrument and to that person’s legal authority to do so. While this is a common function of notaries public in countries with civil law traditions, as a general matter neither federal nor state law in the U.S. have conferred this kind of authority upon notaries public. While certain provisions of the Protocol are intended to be directly enforceable, the Protocol is not intended to confer authorities upon U.S. state notaries beyond those which are conferred by state legal authorities governing notaries. Rather, notarial acts attesting to a person’s legal authority performed in states or territories of the U.S. where notaries are given such authority are to be given full faith and credit in other countries that are parties to the Protocol.
Disclaimer: The information relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is provided for general information only and may not be totally accurate in a particular case. Questions involving interpretation of specific foreign laws should be addressed to foreign attorneys. This circular seeks only to provide information; it is not an opinion on any aspect of U.S., foreign, or international law. The U.S. Department of state does not intend by the contents of this circular to take a position on any aspect of any pending litigation.
The Department of State has responded to inquiries from U.S. state Secretaries of State as Competent Authorities under the Hague Apostille Convention. Given that the Protocol does not confer additional authority to state notaries, the Department concurs with the U.S. state Competent Authorities’ decisions not to provide apostilles for notarial acts that go beyond the authorities granted to notaries within their states.
Where can I find more information about Apostilles?
Hague Conference on Private International Law: Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents
Hague Conference on Private International Law: The ABC’s of Apostilles