Document Authentication for Use in China
In order for a document originated in the US to be used in China, the document must be authenticated by the Chinese Consulate . China is not a member of Hague Apostille Convention, therefore Apostille will not be accepted. The documents must first be notarized (if applicable), authenticated by the Secretary of State, then authenticated by the Chinese Embassy or Chinese Consulate as the last step.
State authentication is sometimes referred to as a stamp or gold seal. It is a sealed certificate that confirms the authority of a public official, such as a Notary Public, Town or County Clerk, State Official or Judge, to act in a particular capacity in connection with a document that he or she has signed. The authentication certificate will verify that the named individual and their position are a matter of record in the Secretary of the State's Office. The certificate will only be prepared if the official has in fact executed the document properly and can only be attached to a signed original or a sealed certified copy from a public record keeper, such as a Town or County Clerk.
Here are the three important steps for document authentication:
Notary: For non-government documents such as affidavit, power of attorney, bank letter, etc., a notary public must notarize the document first; For government documents such as birth certificates, good standing certificates, etc., you will need to obtain a certified copy from the state; notary is not required. For University or college degree/diploma, we recommend to obtain a notarized copy to avoid damage to your original. Please contact your school to obtain a copy.
State Authentication: The Secretary of State Office must certify the notary seal or the certified copy by adding a statement page with a state seal. Some states require county clerk to certify the notary seal first. Federal document and document issued in states under the jurisdiction of the Chinese Embassy in DC will require further authentication from the US Department of State.
Consulate Authentication: The Chinese Embassy or Chinese Consulate will verify the authentication from the Secretary of State Office. Once verified, the Chinese Embassy or Consulate official will add the Chinese Consulate authentication seal and signature to the document. Your document will be authorized for use in China.
Please see chart:
Examples of documents that can be authenticated:
Affidavit of Single Status.
Diploma, degree, TEFL, TESOL and school transcript.
Power of attorney for real estate transaction.
Non criminal record such as local police check or FBI background check
Copies of documents such as passport, driver's license, etc.
Vital records such as birth certificate or marriage certificate
Certificate of business good standing, financial statement, etc.
Business contracts or agreements
Minutes of Meeting
CEV is qualified to assist you in obtaining document authentication from the Chinese Consulate and Embassy. You will need to have the documents notarized (if applicable), authenticated by Secretary of State (or US Department of State) first. US Department of State authentication is mandatory if document originated in states under the jurisdiction of the Chinese Embassy in DC. Please follow instructions listed below carefully before mailing in your documents and application.
1: Notarized by Local Notary Public
- Documents not issued by government offices should be notarized by a local authorized Notary Public first. The document should be signed in presence of the Notary Public. The notary should add an acknowledgement such as
"Signed and sworn (or affirm) to before me this___ day of _______, 20__."
and completed with notary seal and signature.
- State issued document such as vital records, certificate of corporation, etc., does not need to be notarized. You should obtain a certified copy and can skip step 1.
- Chinese Consulate in San Francisco requires all attached pages to be stamped with the same notary seal, if document is multipage.
2: Authenticated by the Secretary of State
- Every document should be further authenticated separately by the Secretary of State by adding a cover statement with a designated big seal, signature and wording recognized by Chinese Consulate.
- When you submit the document to the Secretary of State, please indicate the document will be used in China. Please make sure you are applying for authentication instead of apostille as China is not a member of Hague Apostille Convention.
- Important note: Once authenticated, the staples must not be removed or tampered with. The Chinese Consulate considers documents with tampered staples as invalid. If this occurs, you will have to restart the process from the beginning.
- Federal documents and documents issued in states under DC jurisdiction must be further authenticated by the US Department of State. This will need to be done after authentication by Secretary of State has been completed.
States under DC jurisdiction include Delaware, Idaho, Kentucky, Maryland, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wyoming and Washington DC.
3: Complete Application Form for Chinese Consulate Authentication
- Fill out Consulate Legalization Application Form on your computer. The form must be typed in capitalized letters, printed out and signed in both places in Section 8. Click here for form.
- Personal documents will not fill out Sections 2 and 7. Please see our guide on how to fill out the form: Click Here for Personal Document.
- Business documents will not fill out Section 1 and 7. Please see our guide on how to fill out the form: Click Here for Business Document.
4: Photocopy of Applicant's ID
- Personal documents will need to include a passport copy of the applicant.
- Business documents will need to include passport copy of the legal representative on the application form.
Non-US passport holders need to provide copy of legal status in the US such as green card, student or residence visa.
*Each document authentication needs their own photocopy.
5: Business Formation (Business Documents Only)
- Photocopy of business filing or business evidence such as Certificate of Good Standing, Certificate of Incorporation, Certificate of Formation, Certificate of Organization, etc. California commercial document authentication needs to provide Statement of Information as business evidence.
*Each document authentication needs their own photocopy.
We provide services that include both State or Chinese Consulate authentications or Chinese Consulate authentication only. Processing times vary depending on location and type of service. If you are on a time constraint, it may be faster to do the State authentication yourself. We also provide document translation plus 3 level authentication at our Los Angeles office.
If you are interested in any of our services, please select your type below: