How Do I Obtain an Apostille or Certification?
During this time of COVID-19, processing time for mail-in requests is at least four (4) to six (6) weeks. Processing time does not include mailing time. The Department of State is not open to visitors. Those constituents who wish to drop off materials for the Bureau of Elections & Notaries should utilize the drop box across the street at the entrance of the Keystone Complex.
- Your documents must be signed by and contain the seal of the Pennsylvania official who is the custodian of the record or a Pennsylvania notary public. NOTE: Diplomas, transcripts and criminal record checks must be notarized prior to requesting an apostille or certification. Birth certificates do not need to be and should not be notarized.
- Identify in the cover letter the country where the documents will be used.
- Enclose a personal check, money order or cashier's check made payable to "Commonwealth of Pennsylvania" in the amount of $15 per document. Checks and money orders must be issued by a U.S. institution or, if issued by a foreign bank, must be in U.S. dollars and contain a routing number. Cash cannot be accepted by mail.
- For Certificates of Good Standing for Notaries Public, write a letter requesting a Certificate of Good Standing and providing the full notary name and commission ID, if known, your name and full mailing address and payment in the amount of $15 per certificate.
- Photocopies of notarized or certified documents may not be certified by the Secretary of the Commonwealth.
- Enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope for return of your documents. If you wish the order to be returned by a courier service, you must enclose a prepaid air bill with your order. Enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope for return of your documents. If you wish the order to be returned by a courier service, you must enclose a prepaid air bill with your order. Effective October 1, 2009, the Department no longer accepts FedEx or DHL for the return shipment of documents. NOTE: If requesting your documents to be returned via UPS (United Parcel Service), please list yourself as the sender and recipient on the air bill that you will be providing. Otherwise, the air bill will be changed accordingly.
Pennsylvania Department of State
Bureau of Commissions, Elections and Legislation
Room 210 North Office Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120-0029
- Processing time for mail-in requests is typically less than five (5) business days. See notice at the top of the page as to current processing time during the COVID-19 pandemic. Processing time does not include mailing time.
- Walk-in requests are accepted from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday (except State holidays). Since walk-in requests are processed while the requestor waits, you are encouraged to arrive by 4:00 PM so your documents are processed before the end of the business day. If using a GPS device for driving directions, please use 401 North Street, Harrisburg, PA 17120 for the street address. See notice at the top of the page as to drop box services in lieu of walk-in services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Questions concerning apostilles or certifications may be directed to the Pennsylvania Department of State, Bureau of Commissions, Elections and Legislation by calling (717) 787-5280, by email:
RA-CERTIFICATIONS@pa.gov or by writing to the address listed above.