Certification of Documents
Important! Please schedule an appointment before coming to the embassy.
A certification is a governmental act by which a designated public official (e.g. consular officer at an embassy or a consulate) certifies the authenticity of the signature and/or seal and the position of the person/official who has executed, issued, or certified (a copy of) a document.
Consular fees: payment must be made in US$ per postal money order or cashier's check (payable to Embassy of Austria) or cash (exact change only, please).
Please note that Honorary Consulates also certify documents.
A certification can be provided for:
- private (e.g. agreements, power-of-attorney) and official signatures
- transcripts and copies (stating that original and copy are identical)
- The Embassy does NOT provide translation services. The accuracy of a translation is NOT the responsibility of the Embassy.
- The Embassy is NOT to be held liable/responsible for the content of a document.
- The person requesting certification services must provide proof of identity (e.g. passport).
The Hague Convention & Apostille
The Hague Convention of 5 October 1961 abolishing the requirement of legalization for foreign public documents stipulates that signatory countries (including both Austria and the United States) agree to mutually recognize each other's "public documents". In other words, such documents need no prior legalization by an embassy or consulate of the other country. Yet, all these public documents must be certified by an APOSTILLE.
Public documents are defined as:
- documents issued by judicial authorities, including those issued by public prosecutors, court clerks, and process servers (e.g. divorce decree)
- administrative documents (e.g. birth certificates, marriage certificates)
- "notarial" documents (e.g. power-of-attorney, purchase agreements)
- official certificates affixed to documents signed by private individuals, (e.g. official certificates recording the registration of a document, notarial authentications of signatures)
An apostille (French for "certification") is an internationally recognized form of notarization and ensures that public documents issued in one country will be recognized as valid in another country. The sole function of the apostille is to certify the authenticity of the signature on the document in question; the capacity in which the person signing the document acted; and the identity of any stamp or seal affixed to the document. The apostille must either be attached as an annex to the official document or placed on the document itself by means of a stamp. An apostille will only be issued upon request.
An apostille is required to ensure that public documents issued by one state (Austria or USA) are recognized as valid in the other state (USA or Austria).
Who may issue an apostille?
In Austria, an apostille is issued by:
- the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- the Presidents of a Court of First Instance
- the Governors or Governments of the Federal Provinces
In the USA, an apostille is issued by:
- the Office of Authentication at the Department of State
- all clerks und deputy clerks of U.S. Federal Courts
- the Secretaries of State and Deputy Secretaries of State in each State
Please note: Documents signed before a notary public and documents not issued by government offices generally require a certification by the Clerk of Court of the County in which the document is commissioned, before a certification by the (Deputy) Secretary of State of the State in which the document is executed may be obtained.
Embassy of Austria
3524 International Court, NW
Washington, D.C., 20008
Consulate Office Hours:
Monday through Friday,10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
(except Austrian and U.S. holidays )