Authentication of Documents for Use in China: Common Errors

Revised: 2018-02-20

The consulate requirements on authentication are getting more strict in recent years, with new requirements imposed every year. In 2012, we published a list of common errors compiled by the Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles in our Chinese version. We now list the main points here, with emphasis on the practice at Houston consulate and Chinese Embassy in Washington DC.

Please note: if you were born in China, you must read the corresponding Chinese version, which contains information related to your background.

I. Common errors in authentication applications

Currently the consulate is paying special attention to these areas:

  • Is there a notary acknowledgment section?
  • Was the document taken apart (staples removed)?
  • Was the document modified?

If there is no acknowledgment section, or staples removed, the application will be rejected, almost 100%.

Notary acknowledgment

A simple signature and stamp by the notary may be fine for certain purposes, but not for documents to be used outside of US. The laws governing notary in all state have specific requirements on notary acknowledgment, and samples are usually provided in notary handbook.

Our diploma and criminal record pages have examples that contain notary acknowledement.

Staples removed

Do NOT take the document apart for copying. If you do so, the document is invalidated, period. For documents that contain many pages, it is a good idea to make a copy before stapling them together.

Document modified

In general, the consulate prefers printed documents. Handwritten notary acknowledgment is not recommended in general. There should be no modification to the document by a pen or something after it is done.

Multiple documents in "one" document

In general, the consulate do not like long and complete documents, documents with many attachments, especially attachments that are not really necessary. One such example is attaching passport copies in a power of attorney document.

When preparing your document, keep it simple.

Created: 2018-02-19
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Document can only be authenticated at a consulate based on the state that issued the document, not where you live now.