Apostille USA

There are two types of Apostille authentication in the United States. The first is the US Department of State Apostille for federally issued documents, such as FBI checks.  The second is the Secretary of State Apostille for documents that come from State level institutions, such as university degrees.

Apostille Procedures For Americans

Americans require an Apostille authentication for two individual documents. The first is a Department of State Apostille for your FBI Background Check, and the second is a Secretary of State Apostille for the notarized copy of your Degree. 

What is an Apostille?

An Apostille is a type of international authentication for documents. Documents that are issued in one country (your home country) but need to be used in another country (such as South Korea) must be ‘authenticated’ or ‘legalized’ to verify authenticity. In short, it’s a universal approach to curbing the use of fraudulent documents.

FBI Background Checks

For instructions on how to order an FBI check > GO HERE

Americans must have their FBI Check authenticated with an Apostille from the US Department of State (DOS). There are no exceptions or alternatives to this requirement.

The FBI does not Apostille background checks. Having your FBI check Apostilled is a separate step that needs to be completed after you’ve received your background check from the FBI.

Important: Although some Secretary of State Offices (state level) will Apostille FBI background checks, the Korean Immigration Office requires the Department of State (federal level) Apostille for FBI checks.

How to secure a US Department of State Apostille for your FBI Background Check

There are 2 ways to have your FBI check Apostilled. The first way (what we recommend), is using a private Apostille service. Why? Because it’s easier (they deal with the DOS on your behalf), it’s faster (only 3-5 business days), and the cost isn’t substantially more than doing it yourself. Refer to Monument Visa Service details below for instructions.

The second way to secure an Apostille for your FBI check is by ordering it yourself, directly from the US Department of State Office.  We don’t advise doing it this way because of the lengthy processing timeline (this method can take up to 8 weeks!)

Option A (recommended method)

Secure the Apostille for your FBI check through a private Apostille service

Gone2Korea recommends using Monument Visa Services to have your FBI check authenticated with an Apostille. They can secure an Apostille for both types of FBI checks: physical paper checks which can be mailed to them, or the digital checks (PDF format) which can be sent to them electronically via email. 

Gone2Korea is not affiliated with Monument Visa Service, nor do we collect fees for referring people to them. We recommend them because they’re fast, efficient and fairly priced.

Option B (not recommended)

Secure the Apostille for your FBI check directly from the DOS

Due to the lengthy processing timeline involved, we don’t advise ordering an Apostille directly from the DOS unless you have lots of time to work with.

US Federal Department of State Office 

2201 C St NW, Washington, DC 20520, United States
Tel: 1-202-647-4000

Website: https://www.state.gov/

How to secure a Secretary of State Apostille for the notarized copy of your degree

Americans also need to have the notarized copy of their degree Apostilled. To be clear, having the copy of your diploma notarized by a lawyer (lawyer signs and stamps a photocopy of your diploma) is different than acquiring the Apostille (both steps are needed).

Unlike FBI checks that need to be Apostille Authenticated at the federal level by the Department of State, your diploma can be Apostilled at the state level by your Secretary of State Office (SOS).

*** A few Secretary of State offices will only apostille copies of degrees that were notarized by the university (i.e. using a public notary won’t work).


Have your degree notarized

Before you can acquire a Secretary of State Apostille for your degree, you’ll need to have a copy of it notarized. To do this, simply bring your original university degree (the physical diploma) and some photo identification to a notary public (or lawyer with a notary license) and request a ‘Notarized Copy’ of your degree certificate. The notary will make a photocopy of your original degree, then they will sign and stamp it; you now have a notarized copy of your degree. To find a notary public in your area, simply do a Google search for: ‘Notary Public + your city name’.


Secure an Apostille for the notarized copy of your degree

Bring the notarized copy of your degree to your Secretary of State office to request the Apostille Authentication. If you need to mail your documents to the SOS, make sure to use a priory courier service that offers a tracking number.

In a hurry? Monument Visa Service can have a photocopy of your degree notarized and Apostilled in Maryland in 3-4 business days. This is in addition to their federal DOS Apostille service for FBI checks – you can get both done at the same time.

Secretary of State (SOS) Offices in the United States

Directory A-Z
Secretary of State

P.O. Box 5616
Montgomery, Alabama 36103-5616

Secretary of State

P.O. Box 110015
Juneau, AK 99811- 0015

Secretary of State

1700 W. Washington,
7th Floor, Phoenix, AZ

Secretary of State

Suite 256
500 Woodlane Avenue
Little Rock, AR 72201

Secretary of State

1500 11th Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

Secretary of State

1700 Broadway, Suite 200
Denver, CO 80290

Secretary of State

30 Trinity Street, Hartford, CT 06106

Secretary of State

401 Federal St., Suite 3
Dover, DE 19901

Secretary of State

441 4th St. N.W. (One Judiciary Square)
Washington, D.C.

Secretary of State

2415 N. Monroe Street, Suite 810
Tallahassee, FL 32303

Secretary of State

214 State Capitol
Atlanta, Georgia 30334

Secretary of State

201 Merchant St, Suite 1805
Honolulu,HI 96813

Secretary of State

450 N. 4th Street
Boise, ID 83702

Secretary of State

213 State Capitol
Springfield, IL 62756

Secretary of State

200 W. Washington St., Room 201
Indianapolis, IN 46204

Secretary of State

First Floor, Lucas Building
321 E. 12th St.
Des Moines, IA 50319

Secretary of State

Memorial Hall, 1st Floor
120 SW 10th Avenue
Topeka, KS 66612-1594

Secretary of State

700 Capital Avenue
Suite 152
Frankfort, KY 40601

Secretary of State

8585 Archives Ave. Baton Rouge, LA 70809

Secretary of State

148 State House Station
Augusta, Maine 04333-0148

Secretary of State

16 Francis St. Annapolis, MD 21401

Secretary of State

McCormack Building
One Ashburton Place,  
Boston, MA 02108-1512

Secretary of State

Legal Services Administration
P.O. Box 30204
Lansing, MI 48909

Secretary of State

PO Box 17370
Saint Paul, MN 55117-0370

Secretary of State

401 Mississippi Street
Jackson, MS 39201

Secretary of State

600 West Main Street
Jefferson City, MO 65101

Secretary of State

Montana Capitol Building, Rm 260
P.O. Box 202801

Secretary of State

State Capitol, 1445 K St., Suite 2300 Lincoln, NE 68509

Secretary of State

101 N Carson Street Suite 3 Carson City, NV 89701

New Hampshire
Secretary of State

State House, Room 204
107 North Main Street
Concord, NH 03301-4989

New Jersey
Secretary of State

125 W State St, Trenton, NJ 08608, United States

New Mexico
Secretary of State

325 Don Gaspar, Suite 300 Santa Fe, NM 87501

New York
Secretary of State

123 William St, New York, NY 10038, United States

North Carlolina
Secretary of State

2 South Salisbury Street
Raleigh, North Carolina 27601-2903

North Dakota
Secretary of State

600 E Boulevard Ave Dept 108, Bismarck, ND 58505

Secretary of State

22 N 4th St, Columbus, OH 43215

Secretary of State

421 NW 13th St #210, Oklahoma City, OK 73103

Secretary of State

225 Capitol St NE, Salem, OR 97310

Secretary of State

401 North St, Harrisburg, PA 17120

Rhode Island
Secretary of State

148 W River St, Providence, RI 02904

South Carolina
Secretary of State

1205 Pendleton St, Columbia, SC 29201

South Dakota
Secretary of State

500 East Capitol Ave, Pierre, SD 57501

Secretary of State

State Capitol, Nashville, TN 37243

Secretary of State

1019 Brazos St, Austin, TX 78701

Secretary of State

36 Fremont Ave S, Salt Lake City, UT 84101

Secretary of State

128 State St, Montpelier, VT 05633

Secretary of State

1111 E Broad St #4, Richmond, VA 23219

Secretary of State

416 Sid Snyder Ave SW, Olympia, WA 98504

West Virginia
Secretary of State

1900 Kanawha Blvd E, Charleston, WV 25305

Secretary of State

101 E Wilson St # 10, Madison, WI 53703

Secretary of State

Herschler Building East, 122 W 25th St Suite 100, Cheyenne, WY 82002

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