Picture of the Colorado State Seal

Colorado
Secretary of State
Wayne W. Williams

Picture of Secretary of State Wayne W. Williams

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Picture of the Colorado State Seal.

Colorado
Secretary of State
Wayne W. Williams

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Apostilles and Authentications

General information

What is an apostille or authentication and why would I need one?

An authentication or legalization, sometimes called an apostille, is needed for documents that you plan to use in a foreign country.

Examples include:

  • Marriage licenses
  • School transcripts
  • Colorado birth certificates
  • Powers of attorney
  • Death certificates
  • Adoption dossiers

As of April 2, 2018, the Secretary of State issues a combined authentication certificate.  In countries that are part of the Hague Apostille Convention, the certificate serves as an apostille.

By issuing the authentication certificate, the Secretary of State certifies:

  • the authenticity of the signature on the document
  • the capacity of the individual (e.g., Colorado notary public, County Clerk, etc.) signing the document
  • the identity of the seal or stamp on the document, where appropriate

Authentication certificates cannot be used within the United States or any of its territories or possessions.

Where can I find official copies of important documents?

Certified copies of birth or death certificates can be ordered from the Vital Records Office of Colorado

Copies of marriage licenses, divorce decrees, or other court documents can be ordered from the County Clerk and Recorder (PDF) where they were issued.

How do I get a certified true copy of a Certificate of Naturalization?

A certified true copy can be obtained by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. You must follow the procedures on this website: How Do I Obtain Certified True Copies of a Certificate of Naturalization?  Send the certified true copy to the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Authentications to get an Apostille or Authentication Certificate.

I need to have a document authenticated.  What do I need to send to you?

If you have a document that needs to be authenticated, you may bring the document to our office or mail it to us.

You'll need:

  1. The original document.  The document must be notarized by a Colorado Notary Public or certified by Vital Records or the County Clerk's office.
  2. A completed authentication request form (PDF).
  3. A check or money order, payable to "Colorado Secretary of State". The appropriate amount can be found in our fee schedule.

Mail all documents to the address at the top of the form.

How long does it take to get an authentication?

Regular service

Documents are mailed back to you the next business day once received. For example, if we receive your documents during regular business hours on a Tuesday, they will be mailed out of our office on Wednesday. Please note that our mail goes to a state distribution center prior to being delivered to USPS. Documents are not processed on weekends or holidays.

Pick up

If you want to pick up your documents, they will be ready for you after 10:30 AM the next business day.  For example, if we receive your documents during regular business hours on a Tuesday, they will be ready for pickup after 10:30 AM on Wednesday.  Note that documents are not processed on weekends or holidays.

Can I get my documents authenticated faster?

We offer expedited service for documents that are hand delivered to our office before 4:30 PM. Your documents will be processed while you wait.

There is an additional fee for expedited service.  We do not accept credit card payments for authentications. You must pay with cash or check.  See the form (PDF) for more information.

What should be included in a notarized document?

For faster service, please make sure that the document includes:

  1. Original signatures - not stamped or photocopied.
  2. A completed document - all blanks must be filled in or crossed out.
  3. A complete notary statement, including the state and county where the notarization took place and the date of the notarization.Although the document may be in another language, the notary’s statement must be in English.

Should I have the delivery confirmed when I mail my documents to you?

We recommend using an express or overnight delivery service that can be tracked, such as FedEx or UPS. A prepaid waybill or label must be included if you would like us to send back your documents using one of these shipping methods. Do not list the Secretary of State anywhere on this label.

Can your office notarize my documents?

No. Documents must be notarized by a Colorado notary public or certified by Vital Records or the county.

Where can I find more information about apostilles?

The ABCs of Apostilles (PDF) provides basic information about apostilles and a list of countries that issue and accept apostilles can be used to find country requirements.

Do you have parking downtown?

Parking downtown can be challenging on most days and all parking requires payment. Generally, the expedited services can be completed in under an hour. Please plan accordingly. Unfortunately, we do not validate any parking. There are other types of transportation options which includes public transportation, taxis, etc.