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Authentications and Legalizations

What is a legalization or authentication?


The process of confirming the legality of a document which is to be used for some purpose overseas.


The process of determining the authenticity of a seal, stamp, signature or other official mark on a document to be used for some purpose internationally, such as adoption, business purposes or to obtain visas, etc. This process, which can have from three to five steps, is determined by the country of origin, the country where the document is to be used and the type document being processed.

International Visa Service, Atlanta, Georgia is a full service documentation processor. Our years of experience in documentation preparation move documents quickly through the process for a reasonable cost.

The authentication or legalization process starts at the originating location of the document. Processes and fees vary based on the type of document being legalized, state, county or city of origination of the document, and the country for which the document is being prepared. Regulations and processes are different for each municipality which can sloAuthentication and Legalization Worksheetw the process and make it more complicated

In the authentications process procedures and requirements change frequently. Documents which need to be legalized must be current and meet the criteria of the authenticating agency. International Visa Service maintains a database which has current information on documents procedures in cities, county and the fifty  states, the federal governments and all foreign government requirements. This data base reduces research time and allows us to process the document faster.

Cost of Legalizations and Authentications

It is not possible to give detail cost for legalization of a document until the work is submitted. Since the processes have between three and five steps, many in different cities, a copy of the document must be submitted for a quote on the charges. All charges are subject to change without notice. The costs are determined by these criteria:

    1. The document origination location.
    2. Time allowed to process.
    3. Type of document.
    4. Government fees and shipping cost between processing points.

International Visa Service charges a service charge for each step. The charges start at $39.00 and go up depending on the city of service, document being processed and the time allowed for processing. When more than one document can be processed in the same city, service charges will be less. Multiple documents being processed in different cities have no discounts.

The average charge for most documents is $259.00 which includes shipping between cities, government fees, money order charges, and the service fees for the different steps. But keep in mind that this is an average cost. Many documents are much more expensive and many are less expensive. The charge depends on the type document, the country it is being prepared for and the time we have to process.

All forms contained within this website are free. Although many of them are copyrighted, they can be downloaded and used without charge. Official government forms are for the use of any person, free of charge. International Visa Service does not charge service fees on ANY free government service. Our service fees are in addition to the government fees, based on the time allotted to expedite your documentation needs. 

Documents being submitted for processing should be submitted with the Authentication and Apostille worksheet. (PDF form—please download, print and complete).

Other information is available upon request. 1-800-627-1112.

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