An Apostille (AP-o-steel) is a certification of a public document or a notarized document which can be used in countries that are parties to the Hague Convention. Certification by apostille means that a document will be recognized in the country of its intended use without further certification or legalization by the embassy or consulate of the foreign country in which the document is to be used. Apostilles cannot be used in countries which are not members of the Hague Convention. These countries require regular certification through the U.S. Department of State’s Authentication Office. To access a list of countries that are parties to the Hague Convention, please visit the following website: http://www.hcch.net.

Apostilles and Certifications (also known as the Great Seal) are State Certification of the signature of an official who has signed a legal document. Therefore the signer of the legal document must be an elected or appointed official whose signature is filed with the Office of the Secretary of State. Additionally, documents that have been notarized by a commissioned South Carolina Notary Public may be certified with an apostille.

Submit the following information to the Secretary of State’s Office for an apostille:

  1. South Carolina Authentication Office Cover Letter;
  2. Self-addressed stamped return envelope;
  3. Personal or company check or money order made payable to the Secretary of State’s Office or cash in the amount of $2.00 for each document; and
  4. Documents to be authenticated.
 Documents should be mailed to or sent by UPS/FedEx or hand-delivered (between the hours of 8:30 am and 4:30 pm) to:  
                 SC Secretary of State's Office
                1205 Pendleton Street, Suite 525
                Columbia, SC 29201

****Please Note****

Certifications by Elected or Appointed Officials

Certifications by Commissioned South Carolina Notaries Public

Certification of Vital Records

To obtain these items from DHEC you may visit www.vitalcheck.com or call 1-877-284-1008. You may also get these records from:                

SC DHEC, Division of Vital Records
2600 Bull Street
Columbia, SC 29201
(803) 898-3630

Certifications for countries that are not members of the Hague Convention

If the document is going to be sent to a country that is not a member of the Hague Convention, an apostille or certification by the Secretary of State’s Office will not be sufficient. These documents will require a regular certification that is required to be authenticated by the U.S. Department of State after receiving State authentication.
Office of Authentications, Department of State
600 19th Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20431

You may review the South Carolina Notary Public Reference Manual for additional information on apostilles.