Authentications by Apostille and Certification
The Secretary of State's office is authorized by state law to authenticate a document for use in a foreign country that has either been notarized by a North Dakota notary public or is a certified copy of an official document from North Dakota. Depending on which foreign country the document is intended to be used in, this special authentication is known as an "apostille" (for countries that are a party to the Hague Convention of 1961) or a “certification” (for all other countries).
Prior to issuing an apostille/certification for a document, the Secretary of State must receive the following:
- The original documents;
- A letter accompanying the documents specifying for which country the document is intended; and
- A fee of $10 per apostille/certification plus a fee of $5 per record search.
It is recommended that the documents for which an apostille/certification is needed be submitted to this office for review for proper form prior to their final submittal for an apostille/certification. This is to help ensure that the requirements for an apostille/certification will be fulfilled and to ensure that the final apostille/certification is processed as quickly as possible. To have documents reviewed prior to an apostille/certification, send a scanned copy via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by fax to (701) 328-0107, along with your name and contact information.
Documents submitted for authentication by apostille/certification by mail or in person are usually processed within three business days and are returned by United States Postal Service first class mail. If you prefer expedited return service, such as overnight or priority delivery, please submit a prepaid and preaddressed shipping label with your request for authentication by apostille/certification.
Walk-in customers who need same day service may be accommodated if they contact the Accounting/Notary Unit at 701-328-2901 in advance to schedule an appointment. Walk-in customers without an appointment cannot be guaranteed service that same day.
Authentications by Apostille/Certification for School Record
Authentications by apostille/certification can also be issued on a diploma received by an individual. In order for the Secretary of State's office to complete an authentication by apostille/certification for a school record, the following must be submitted:
- Copy of the transcript, including:
- Student's full name;
- Numerical class year in school (e.g. 9, 10, 11, 12);
- Academic year (e.g. 2010 – 2011); and
- School's name and address.
- Copy of the school's certificate (e.g. diploma).
- Official letter signed by the principal or individual who has the same authority, which contains:
- Official school seal;
- Student's full name; and
- Statement that the student has met all the requirements of the school.
- An original acknowledgement page attached to each of the above documents. The principal of the school or individual who has the same authority must affix his or her signature to each acknowledgement before the same Notary Public for all three acknowledgement pages.
- Cover letter to the Secretary of State's office, which clearly states:
- Country in which the document will be used;
- Name and contact information of an individual to contact with any questions; and
- Specific instructions as to where the authentication is to be mailed.
- $10 fee for each authentication plus $5 fee for each record search.
Please do not staple the school documents submitted for authentication by apostille/certification. After the documents and fee are received, the Secretary of State's office will certify that the notary public is a duly commissioned officer of the State of North Dakota and will then complete the authentication procedure. These instructions are mailed to schools and colleges in April each year.