Applicants not residing in US: Authentication of documents for use in China

Revised: 2017-08-26

This pages addresses general questions you may have if you are currently not residing in US, but would like to authenticate documents for use in China. YES, we can help you obtain document authentications, including the steps of Secretary of State, US Department of State, and finally Chinese consulate, and then mail the finished documents to you, whether you are in China or other countries.

However, this service is limited to documents that do not require your signature before a notary, like diploma, criminal background check, birth certificate, marriage certificate, or business documents. Please be sure to read specific pages concerning your documents.

Our normal service area includes AL, AR, FL, GA, LA, MS, OK, TX,PR (Houston consulate) and DC, DE, ID, KY, MD, MT, NC, ND, NE, SC, SD, TN, UT, VA, WV, WY (Chinese Embassy in DC).

I. Basic authentication procedures

1. Get the original documents.

2. Certify by the Office of Secretary of State in the state where the document is notarized.

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.

4. Certified by the Chinese consulate or Embassy.

II. Processing time

The consular authentication step takes about 1 week. The time for the Secretary of State certification step varies, but normally 10-15 days. Thus we normally can mail out finished documents 3 weeks after we receive your documents.

If US Department of State authentication step is needed, it will add 4 business days (or total about 4 weeks).

The international shipping with FedEx is very fast, only 3-4 days to major Chinese cities.

III. Costs and Fees

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 ($8-32 each way) and international shipping (FedEx or USPS international express mail 65 + international ship handling 10 = $75). 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.

After you submit the online order (top left corner "My order", "Create New Order"), the order confirmation page will have exact fees, payment information and mailing address.

IV. Payment method

You may pay online after you submit an order (top left corner: "My order", "Make payment"). A transaction fee will be added automatically. Please note: payment must be received before we process your application.

You may also pay by check or money. The order confirmation page has the payment information and mailing address.

V. Mail to China or other countries

YES, we can mail to China or other countries. The shipping cost is $65 for FedEx, plus $10 international ship handling fee. The shipping fee may be more for remote cities or some other countries, we will charge the actual cost if that happens. We will use USPS Priority Mail Express International (cost the same $65) if FedEx service is not available for your destination.

On the order form, you can specify a separate shipping address. For Chinese destinations, please put the address in Chinese characters in the "Notes" section on order form, or email to us separately. We will write it on envelope.

VI. Documents to submit

To apply for authentication through our agency, the documents you need to provide depend on the document you want to authenticate and are listed in individual pages or Documents required for authentication. Please pay special attention to the following:
  1. Authentication Application form: Please follow the instructions and sample on the form download page. The applicant needs to sign on the form. For documents going to Chinese Embassy in Washington DC, we must receive the originally signed form. For documents going to Houston consulate, a photocopy (scanned copy) sent by email is fine.
  2. You may arrange for the original documents (e.g. diploma, police report, birth certificates) to be sent to us separately. However, we strongly recommend that you ask a friend or relative to send everything to us in a single package.
  3. Our mailing address will be printed on order confirmation page (email).
  4. If you have one document going to Houston consulate (e.g. diploma) and one document going to Chinese Embassy in DC (e.g. FBI background check), please submit two separate orders, otherwise it will cause delay, as they are processed at two different locations.

VII. Questions and Answers

Question: Can I send you a photo copy of birth certificate (diploma) for authentication?

Answer: No, you must provide original document for authentication.

Question: Will you return the original birth certificate (diploma) to me after authentication?

Answer: Certainly. The Secretary of State normally attachs a certification page onto the original document, and the consular authentication attaches a certificate onto the back of Secretary of State's certificattion page. The certification pages and original document cannot be separated, otherwise it voids the authentication.

See sample certificates.

Question: Can I scan and send the application form and passport copy to you by email?

Answer: For Houston consulate, normally it will be fine. But you are warn: we will not be responsible if the consulate rejects your application and causes delay.

From October 2016, Chinese Embassy in Washington DC requires original signature on the application form.

Question: Can you confirm the total fees?

Answer: Please submit an order online. The total cost is shown on the confirmation page. If there are costs associated with extra services, we will communicate through email.

Question: When should I make payment? Where is the link for online payment?

Answer: If you make payment online, please make sure payment is received before we receive documents. The payment link is on the payment confirmation page, or you may go to top left corner "My order", "Make payment".

Created: 2017-07-05
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