How to Authenticate Document for Use in China
For a document originating in the US to be used in China , the Chinese Consulate or Embassy must authenticate the document. 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 as the final step by the Chinese Embassy or Consulate as the final step.
State authentication is sometimes called a stamp or gold seal. It is a sealed certificate that recognizes a public official’s authority such as a Notary Public, County Clerk, State Officer or Judge; to act in a particular capacity in connection with their signature on a document. The certificate of authentication shall verify that the named individual and their position are a matter of record within the office of the Secretary of the State. The certificate can only be issued if the official has already properly executed the document and may 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: A notary public must first notarize the document for non-government documents such as affidavit or power of attorney. For academic records such as university/college diplomas, we recommend to request for a notarized copy (also known as certified copy) from your school to avoid damage to your original. If you are having a government document authenticated, you will need to obtain a certified copy from the State. Notary is not needed. Government documents include vital records such as birth certificates and marriage certificates or business documents such as good standing certificates.
State Authentication: The Secretary of State Office must certify the notary seal or the certified copy of your document by adding a statement page with a state seal. Some states will require certification of the notary seal by a County Clerk first. Federal documents and documents issued in states under the jurisdiction of the Chinese Embassy in DC will require authentication from the US Department of State afterwards.
Consulate Authentication: The Chinese Embassy or Chinese Consulate will verify Secretary of State’s authentication. After verification, the Chinese Embassy or Consulate General will affix a Chinese Consulate authentication seal and signature to the document. Your document is approved and authorized for use in China.
Please see chart:
Examples of documents that can be authenticated:
Affidavit of Single Status, Relinquish of Inheritance
Diploma, degree, TEFL, TESOL, school transcript
Power of Attorney for real estate/property transactions in China
No criminal record such as local police, state or FBI background check
Copies of documents such as passport, driver’s license, etc
Vital records such as birth certificate, death 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 Chinese Consulate and Embassy document authentication. You must first have the documents notarized (if applicable), authenticated by Secretary of State (or US Department of State). Authentication by the US State Department is mandatory if the document originates in states under the jurisdiction of the Chinese Embassy in DC. Please follow instructions listed below carefully prior to mailing in your documents.
1: Notarization 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 the presence of the Notary Public. An acknowledgement must be added by the Notary Public such as
“Signed and sworn (or affirm) to before me this___ day of _______, 20__.”
and completed with notary seal and signature.
- Document issued by the State such as vital records or certificate of good standing does not require notarization. You can obtain a certified copy or certificate and skip this step.
- If document is multi-page, the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco requires that all attached pages be stamped with the same notary seal.
2: Authentication by the Secretary of State
- The Secretary of State office will further authenticate each document separately by inserting a cover statement with a specified large seal, signature and wording that will be recognized by the Chinese Consulate or Embassy.
- Please make sure to indicate the document will be used in China when you submit your document to the Secretary of State. You must apply for authentication rather than apostille as China is not a member of the 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 the jurisdiction of the Chinese Embassy in DC will require authentication from the US Department of State afterwards. 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 (G1 form) on your computer. The form must be typed in capitalized letters, printed out and signed in both places in Section 8.
- For business documents, the form must be signed by a legal representative.
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 Incorporation, Certificate of Formation, Certificate of Organization, etc. California commercial document authentication needs to provide Statement of Information as business evidence.
- The legal representative must be listed on the business filing. If they are not listed, a company authorization letter is required. The letter must be on company letterhead and signed by an individual that is listed on the business filing.
- For DC, a photocopy of Good Standing is required.
*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.
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