Authentication of birth certificate for use in China

Revised: 2018-03-09

Authentication of birth certificate by the Chinese consulate is often needed when you apply for work authorization in China and would like to bring your children with you. This document outlines the detailed process involved.

[From 2016/10/02] The Chinese Embassy in Washington DC requires that the child be the applicant on the authentication application form.

I. Authentication of birth certificate: basic procedures

authentication procedure: official documents
Fig 1, Authentication procedure for official documents like birth certificate, marriage certificate, court documents. Please read the text below for details.

1. Get birth certificate from your state Health and Vital Records department.

  • This step must be done by yourself.
  • Birth certificate may be obtained at county level or state level. In some states, the Secretary of State does not authenticate birth certificate obtained at county level, so if you are not sure, get directly from state vital records department.

2. Certify by the Office of Secretary of State in the state where the child was born.

  • We begin providing service for this part from September 2012, due to popular demand.
  • You may also do this step yourself.
  • The Secretary of State normally would only authenticate birth certificate issued "recently". This "recent" differs from state to state, but in most states it is about 5 years.
    • Virginia: issued within one year.
    • Alabama: issued by current state registrar.
    • Florida and Maryland: issued by current state registrar, but there is a 1-2 years grace period.
    • Georgia: county issued mostly not acceptable, so get from state.

3. (DC Chinese Embassy states only) Authenticated by US Department of State

  • This step is needed only if the document is to be authenticated by the Chinese Embassy in Washington DC, i.e. for documents from DC, DE, ID, KY, MD, MT, NC, ND, NE, SC, SD, TN, UT, VA, WV, WY.
  • If your document is from other states, it will normally go to other Chinese consulates in US, and thus do not need this step.
  • We can help you with this step.

4. Certified by the Chinese consulate or Embassy.

  • We can help you with this step.

II. Steps to apply for authentication of birth certificate through YWPW

We can help you obtain document authentication, including Secretary of State step, US Department of State step and consular step (Houston consulate and Chinese Embassy in Washington DC). We accept applications for documents from the following states:

  • Chinese Consulate in Houston covers: AL, AR, FL, GA, LA, MS, OK, TX, PR
  • Chinese Embassy in DC covers: DC, DE, ID, KY, MD, MT, NC, ND, NE, SC, SD, TN, UT, VA, WV, WY

If your document is from a state not listed above but you would like to use our service, you may always choose to do an extra step, i.e. authentication by US Department of State, then the document can authenticated by the Chinese Embassy in DC.

  1. Please fill out the online order form of our agency.
  2. Print the confirmation page. You order ID, our mailing address, payment information (including credit card payment) and other instructions are shown on the confirmation page.
  3. Mail us the documents listed in the "Documents needed" section below.
  4. Tell us the time and method you mailed your documents, including tracking number, so that we can track the movement of your mail.
  5. Upon receiving your documents, we will check your application, and contact you if there is any issue. We then submit your application to the consulate, pick it up, and mail it back to you.
  6. We update your order status by email and online when we: a). receive your documents; b). submit your application to the consulate; c). pickup and mail back your documents. We usually send emails and update status in the evening hours, but if there is anything goes wrong, we may contact you during the day.

III. Processing time and fees

  1. The consular authentication step takes about 1 week, and the consular fee is $25 per document.
  2. The US Department of State authentication step also takes about 1 week, and the DOS fee is $8 per document.
  3. The time for the Secretary of State certification step varies, but normally 10-15 days. The SOS fee ranges from $2 to $25 per document.
  4. We charge a service fee of $56.96 per document for each step invloved (volume discount available if more than 2 documents).
  5. Expedited services are available with extra fees, see calculations below.
Business document Num of copies Consular fee Service fee Processing time
Consular authentication processing 25 44.96 4 business days
Secretary of State certification 2-25 44.96 10-15 days
US Department of State authentication 8 44.96 4 business days
Subtotal: (excluding shipping fees)
Please note:

    1. There may be delays at the consulate. If your schedule is tight, please be sure to check the latest updates on processing time on our Home page.

    2. The fee calculation does not include costs of shipping to/from the office of Secretary of State and shipping documents back to you ($8-32 each). The acutal charge will be according to our current fee schedule or your order confirmation page.

    3. In general, the Secretary of State and US Department of State do not offer expedited service.

IV. Documents needed to apply for authentication of birth certificate

  1. YWPW order confirmation page.
  2. One Authentication Application Form. The form must be completed and signed by the applicant.
    • [Houston consulate] One of the parent should serve as the "applicant" and sign on the application form. However, if the child is older than 18, then he/she must serve as "applicant"
    • [Chinese Embassy in Washington DC] The child on the birth certificate is the "applicant". If the child is a minor (less than 18 years old), one of the parent must sign child's name in the "applicant" and put "(father)" or "(mother)" after the signature, then both parents sign their own names there (total 6 signatures as there are two places to sign).
  3. Photocopy of passport(s) (page with name and photo).
    • [Houston consulate] provide passport copies of both parents.
    • [Chinese Embassy in Washington DC] provide passport copies of child AND both parents.
    • If any person (applicant or parents) is not a US citizen, please also provide copy of current immigration document (e.g. green card, I-20, H1B).
  4. 2018/01/09 [Chinese Embassy in Washington DC] Original notarized Authorization Letter by parents of child (photo copy or scanned copy not acceptable). Please email us for sample authorization letter after you submit the online order.
  5. The "original" document (birth certificate) to be authenticated. If you have already done the Secretary of State step yourself, this should include the state authentication page.
  6. Page by page photocopy of the document (birth certificate) to be authenticated. If you have already done the Secretary of State step yourself, the photo copy should also include the state authentication page. Please do not take the document apart when copying, otherwise the document is no longer valid.
    • If you have already done the Secretary of State authentication, the copy should include the state certification page. Please do NOT take them apart when making copies -- doing so will invalidate the document.
    • When you have multiple documents with the same content, you may not just copy from one document, as the signatures will be different on each copy. We will not be responsible for any dealys if you do not follow this instruction!

V. Authentication of Consular Report of Birth Abroad

"Consular Report of Birth Abroad" is issued to child who was born outside of US and replaces the US birth certificate. The authentication process is totally different. Please see this page: Consular Report of Birth Abroad authentication.

VI. Questions and Answers

Question: I have multiple documents, do I need to attach an application form for each document?

Answer: No. No matter how many documents, as long as they all belong to the same applicant, you only need to provide one authentication application form.

Created: 2017-12-10 (Chinese version 2008-03-15)
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