Colorado Secretary of State logo - cube with a C in it

Colorado
Secretary of State
Jena Griswold

Colorado Secretary of State logo - Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold

Picture of Secretary of State Jena Griswold

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Colorado Secretary of State logo - cube with a C in it

Colorado
Secretary of State
Jena Griswold

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Apostilles and Authentications

General information

What is an apostille or authentication?

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 single certificate of authentication.  In countries that are part of the Hague Apostille Convention, the certificate serves as an apostille.

What is the purpose of an apostille or authentication?

A foreign country requires additional certification of the signatures to know the documents are authentic.

Foreign countries require additional certification for some documents to verify authenticity.

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

  • the authenticity of the notary or public official’s signature on the document
  • the capacity of the individual (e.g., Colorado notary public, County Clerk, etc.) signing the document

Authentication certificates are not necessary within the United States or any of its territories or possessions (American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands). Therefore, we won’t issue them.

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 containing at least one of the following:
  • A Colorado Notary Public signature
  • Certified by Colorado Vital Records
  • Certified by the County Clerk's offices in Colorado
  1. A completed apostilles and authentications request form (PDF).
  2. 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.

Can your office notarize my documents?

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

Can I get an online apostille or authentication?

No. We are unable to provide online apostilles and authentications.

Where can I find official copies of important documents?

Certified copies of Colorado 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 government document that was issued from out-of-state authenticated?

A Colorado Public Notary can make a certified copy for government documents issued out-of-state (birth certificates, death certificates, marriage licenses, etc.) Otherwise, we can’t authenticate an out-of-state document.

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.

How long does it take to get an authentication?

This section does not apply due to COVID-19 restrictions.

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?

This section does not apply due to COVID-19 restrictions.

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 check or money order. See the form (PDF) for more information.

Our office provides an authentication review service for your convenience. If you would like our office to review your document prior to submission for authentication, send a PDF of the document(s) via email, Authentications@sos.state.co.us. We will review and provide feedback within 3-5 business days (multiple attachments may require more time to review).

Please understand that we are unable to provide online authentications/apostilles.

What should be included in a properly notarized document?

To avoid delays, 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. View Notarization Format Examples for more information.

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, rideshares, taxis, etc.