John P. McDonough, Secretary of State    

CERTIFICATIONS FAQ's


 How do I have documents certified?

Certifications may be completed by mail or in person. The cost is $5 per document. Please pay by U.S. check or U.S. money order made out to the Secretary of State. If you are having certifications done by mail, be certain to include

  • your check
  • a note telling which country the documents are going to
  • a stamped, self-addressed envelope.

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 Which countries require apostilles and which require a standard certification?

Countries which signed the Hague Treaty require apostilles. All others require standard certifications. The U.S. State Department maintains a current list of those requiring apostilles.

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 What are the steps in the certification process?

The steps for certifying most documents are shown below. School records are handled a little differently.

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Standard Certification
When Having a Notarized Document Certified When having a State or County Issued Document Certified
Notarized document must be taken to the Clerk of the Circuit Court for certification, in the county where the notary was commissioned. (The county will be imprinted on the notary's seal.) If your document is certified by a clerk of the Circuit Court other than the current clerk of the Circuit Court, please call our office at 410-974-5521 to confirm that we can authenticate the document.

Document is taken to the Office of the Secretary of State, in Annapolis for certification. The State/County document, (birth or death certificate, motor vehicle ownership certification, certification of status of criminal records, marriage certificates, divorce decree, etc.) with the seal and authorized signature of the department issuing the document, is taken to the Office of the Secretary of State, in Annapolis for certification. If you do not have a current copy, please call our office at 410-974-5521 to confirm that we can authenticate your document.
Document is taken to the State Department in Washington, DC for certification. Document is taken to the State Department in Washington, DC for certification.
Document is ready for use. Document is ready for use.

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Apostille
When Having a Notarized Document Certified When having a State or County Issued Document Certified
Notarized document must be taken to the Clerk of the Circuit Court for certification, in the county where the notary was commissioned. (The county will be imprinted on the notary's seal.) If your document is certified by a clerk of the Circuit Court other than the current clerk of the Circuit Court, please call our office at 410-974-5521 to confirm that we can authenticate the document.

 

Document is taken to the Office of the Secretary of State, in Annapolis for certification. The State/County document, (birth or death certificate, motor vehicle ownership certification, certification of status of criminal records, marriage certificates, divorce decree, etc.) with the seal and authorized signature of the department issuing the document, is taken to the Office of the Secretary of State, in Annapolis for certification. If you do not have a current copy, please call our office at 410-974-5521 to confirm that we can authenticate your document.
Document is ready for use. Document is ready for use.
Document does not need to be taken to the U.S. State Department for certification.

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 What must I do to have my school records certified?

To have any of your school records, transcripts, grades, or diplomas certified by the Maryland Secretary Of State you will need to do the following: Please click here for more complete information.
 

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 What are the addresses of the Office of the Secretary of State and the US Department of State?

Office of the Secretary of State U.S. State Department
Walk in address:
16 Francis Street, Annapolis MD 21401

Mailing Address:
16 Francis Street, Wineland Building,
1st Floor, Annapolis MD 21401

Hours: 8:30 - 12:00 and 12:30 - 4:00 (the office is closed for lunch 12:00 - 12:30)
(including some State holidays - see below)

Telephone: (410) 974-5521

Email: Email

Address: 518 23rd Street, NW, State Annex 1, Washington DC 20520

Telephone: (202) 647-5002 or (800) 688-9889

Hours: Monday - Friday 7:30 to 11:00 a.m.


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What are the office hours for certification?

Hours are 8:30 a.m. 12:00 and 12:30 - 4:00 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday. The office will be closed from 12:00 - 12:30 for lunch.

  • During the legislative session, the office is open on legal holidays including:
  • Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday
  • President's Day
  • The legislative session begins on the 2nd Wednesday of January and continues for 90 days.

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How do I get to the Office of the Secretary of State? (directions below map)

[map of Annapolis]


Map courtesy of Yahoo! Maps

  • From Route 50 take exit 24 (Rowe Boulevard) to downtown Annapolis
  • At the light, keep straight onto Northwest Street (do not continue right onto Calvert Street)
  • Northwest Street ends at Church Circle.
  • Go around Church Circle about 1/4 of the way to Duke of Gloucester Street and turn right.
  • From Duke of Gloucester Street turn left onto Green Street
  • From Green Street turn left onto Main Street
  • From Main Street, bear right onto Francis Street.

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 Where in Annapolis can I park?

  • There are parking meters on Francis Street
  • There is free parking on State Circle beyond Francis Street
  • The Noah Hillman Parking Garage has entrances off of Duke of Gloucester Street (turn left into garage) and off of Main Street (turn left onto Gorman Street)

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 Are there other types of certifications?

Other certifications are used for State bond sales. These certifications are to the membership of various Authorities or Commissions. Also used in State bond sales are certification of manual signature filings. We certify that a person has his/her manual signature on file so that he/she can use a facsimile signature at the bond closing. We also provide referendum/no referendum (for House/Senate Bills) certificates as requested.

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