The Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C., and the Chinese Consulate-Generals in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, and Chicago have differing standards for Consular Authentication. The documents must be authenticated by the US Department of State if they are to be authenticated by the Chinese Embassy. The papers do not need to be validated by the US Department of State if they are to be authenticated by the Chinese Consulate-General, which has consular authority over the state where you live. You may submit such papers directly to the relevant Chinese Consulate-General after they have been validated by the relevant Secretary of State.
If your residence or the address of the authority issuing the document is located in the following States (New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Ohio and New Jersey), please visit the New York City Consulate
If your residence or the address of the authority issuing the document is located in the following States (Northern California, Oregon, Nevada, Washington, Alaska), please visit the San Francisco Consulate
If your residence or the address of the authority issuing the document is located in the following States (Southern California, Arizona, New Mexico, Hawaii and Pacific Islands), please visit the Los Angeles Consulate
If your residence or the address of the authority issuing the document is located in the following States (Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado and Michigan), please visit the Chicago Consulate
If your residence or the address of the authority issuing the document is located in the following States (Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Georgia), Please visit the Houston Consulate
If your residence or the address of the authority issuing the document is located in the following States (Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, Kentucky, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and Utah), please read the following information:
The purpose of consular authentication, according to international practice and Chinese consular practice, is to ensure that notarial deeds issued in one country can be recognized by relevant authorities in another country, and that the deeds can have their full legal effect, unaffected by doubts about the authenticity of the seal or signature on the deeds.
Notarial deeds and other papers issued by competent US agencies for use in China can be authenticated by the Chinese Embassy in the United States. The Authentication Office of the United States Department of State should first certify the deeds or papers.
Relevant papers to be utilized in Hong Kong SAR or Macao SAR of China do not require consular validation by the Chinese Embassy in the United States. These papers can be used in Hong Kong and Macao if they are notarized by a local notary public in the United States and apostilled by the Secretary of State or the Authentication Office of the United States Department of State.
Here are the Authentication Guidelines that come directly from the Chinese Embassy in the United States:
I. Application Requirements
A document to be authenticated should meet the following requirements:
1. The document should have been authenticated by the Authentication Office of the Department of State.
2. The document is truthful, legal and without contents of obvious violation of the Chinese law or potential threats to China's national or public interests.
3. A document with more than two pages must be properly bound as a volume to avoid any substitution. Sealing wax, paging seal or steel seal should be applied to ensure the integrity of the documents.
II. Authentication Process
The document is to be notarized by a local notary public, or a certified copy to be issued by the competent authorities.
The document is be authenticated or certified by the Secretary of the State (Please click for the requirements by the relative States:Washington D.C. , Maryland, Virginia,West Virginia, Deleware, Kentucky, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Montana,Idaho,Wyoming and Utah) in which the document is executed. (Some states require that the document should be certified by the County Clerk first.)
The document is to be authenticated by the Authentication Office of the Department of State.
The document is to be authenticated by the Chinese Embassy. (For the document to be authenticated by the Chinese Consulate-General, the Step 3 is not necessary. If you go through the Step 3, you will have to submit such a document to the Chinese Embassy in D.C. for authentication. Please click for consular jurisdiction of the Chinese Embassy and Consulates General)
III. Documents Required for Application
1.One fully completed Notarization and Authentication Application Form.
2. The original and a photocopy of the document to be authenticated.
3. The original of the applicant's passport and a photocopy of the photo/information page of the passport; or other original valid ID, such as Driver's license, and a photocopy.
4. If an applicant has entrusted someone else to submit the application on his/her behalf, the original and a photocopy of both the entrusted person's and the applicant's valid ID will be required.
5. If the document is a business license, a photocopy of the passport or driving license of the company's legal representative and the original company document that can prove the person's legal representative status should be submitted.
IV. How to apply
1. You may either walk in to submit the application and get it back or entrust someone else or travel agents to do it for you.
2. No appointment is needed.
3. If necessary, applicants should come in person for an interview as required by the Chinese Embassy (Consulate General).
V. Processing Time
1. Regular service: 4 business days. It does not include the time for submitting supporting materials, consulting or verifying information with China, or delays caused by force majeure.
2. Express service: documents can be returned on the 2nd or 3rd business day.
3. Same-day rush service: documents can be returned on the same day. (Applications must be submitted before 12:00 p.m.)
VI. Fees and Payment
1. After an authentication certificate is issued, the applicant may come with the Pick-up Form (the pink slip) to the Embassy to pay the relevant fee and get the certificate on the pick-up day or after. If a certificate is not picked up 6 months after the pick-up day, the Chinese Embassy will no longer keep it and the applicant is solely responsible for any consequences arising therefrom.
2. Regular service:
Civil documents: $20 per document;
Commercial documents: $40 per document.
3. Express service: an additional fee of $20 per document will be charged.
4. Same-day rush service: an additional fee of $30 per document will be charged.
5. Please pay by Credit Card (Visa or MasterCard only), money order, cashier's check, or company's check. Cash or personal checks are not accepted. Please make checks or money order payable to "the Chinese Embassy".
VII. Other Important Information
1. According to regulations of China, a single status affidavit used for marriage registration in China is valid for only 6 months from the date of issuance. If an applicant needs to use it after it has been issued for 6 months, he or she needs to obtain a new single status affidavit.
2. Documents for use in China for adoption affairs, such as statement of marriage, health status, proof of finance, income, no criminal record, can only be authenticated if the period between the notarized date and the adoption registration date (excluding the processing time taken by China Center for Adoption Affairs) does not exceed 6 months.
3. Consular officials of the Chinese Embassy will review the documents to be authenticated. If there is any problem, such as uncompleted process, wrong document format, illegal contents, or alteration or substitution of the document, the application will be rejected.
4. Consular officials reserve the right to request additional documents from the applicant.
5. A document that has been authenticated by the Chinese Embassy shall not be willfully bound, unbound or altered. An applicant is solely responsible for all consequences and legal responsibilities arising from his or her unauthorized binding, unbinding or altering of the document.
Chinese Embassy FAQs:
1. Do all documents to be used in China need to be authenticated?
Answer: In order to facilitate document exchanges across countries in international diplomatic and consular affairs, consular authentication has gradually become an international practice. With increasing international interactions, a great number of documents of various types are exchanged between countries, but each country has different requirements and formats for notarization and business certification. The consular authentication system is based on a chain process ending with one country's diplomatic or consular mission abroad certifying the last seal and signature on the documents, so as to ensure the documents can be accepted by relevant departments and institutions in the country and the use of the documents will not be affected by doubts on the authenticity of the documents. In this way, foreign-related documents can be smoothly circulated and used in different countries.
To make documents to be used in China acceptable to relevant Chinese departments and institutions, it is suggested that the documents should be authenticated by a Chinese Embassy or Consulate General abroad. However, whether the document will be accepted by relevant Chinese departments or not depends on whether the documents' contents can meet their requirements. The producer of a document, rather than consular authentication, is responsible for the contents of the document.
2. Is it ok if I only get consular authentication from a Chinese diplomatic or consular mission in a country, and do not have authentication by the Foreign Ministry or other authentication institutions of the country?
Answer: Firstly, the Chinese diplomatic or consular missions abroad usually only authenticate the seal and signature of the host country's Foreign Ministry or authentication institutions. Secondly, the Chinese diplomatic or consular missions abroad do not keep samples of the seal or signature of the notaries public or issuers of business documentation of the host country and thus cannot verify the authenticity of the document. Therefore, relevant documents should be authenticated by the host country's Foreign Ministry or authentication institutions before applications are made to the Chinese diplomatic or consular mission for consular authentication.
3. How to apply for consular authentication of documents or business certificates issued in China?
Answer: Foreign-related notarial deeds or business documents issued in China for use in a foreign country should firstly be authenticated by the Department of Consular Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, or authorized local foreign affairs offices of China. Then they should be authenticated by the foreign country's diplomatic or consular missions in China (Double Authentication). In some cases, the authentication by the foreign country's diplomatic or consular missions in China is not required (Single Authentication).
Please click here for authentication requirements of the Chinese Foreign Ministry and relevant foreign diplomatic or consular missions in China.
4. If notarial deeds or other documents issued in China have been taken to a foreign country without being authenticated in China, can they be authenticated by a Chinese diplomatic or consular mission abroad?
Answer: The Chinese diplomatic and consular missions abroad do not accept authentication applications for foreign-related notarial deeds or other documents issued in China, because the missions do not keep samples of signature or seal of Chinese notaries public or issuers of business documentation and thus cannot verify the authenticity of the documents. The applicant should send the document back to China, apply for authentication by the Department of Consular Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, or authorized local foreign affairs offices of China, and apply for authentication by a diplomatic or consular mission in China of the country where the documents will be used. If the applicant find it inconvenient to go back to China for it, he or she may entrust someone else (e.g. a friend or relative in China or a lawyer) with the formalities.
The Chinese consulates in the United States are currently closed during the pandemic and as of December 2021, they have no timetable to reopen. Additionally, the Chinese Consulate of the United States in Washington, EDC is closed to the public.
There is no margin for error with the authentication or apostille process. If mistakes are made, both your time and money will be wasted and you'll have to start all over again. If you want to look into outsourcing this part of preparing to studying abroad to someone with experience, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 848-467-7740 to request my services or learn more.