Legalization/authentication process

As of March 16, 1999 Venezuela is a part of the Hague Convention abolishing the requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents of 1961. The Convention abolishes the requirement of diplomatic and consular legalization for public documents originating in one Convention  country (US) and intended for use in another (Venezuela). Documents issued in a Convention country which have been certified by a Convention apostille are entitled to recognition in any other Convention country without any further authentication. Such recognition is an obligation on the part of the United States to the other country's party to the Convention and the federal courts and state authorities have been alerted to this obligation. Consular officers in Convention countries are prohibited from placing a certification over the Convention apostille.

The inclusion of Venezuela in the Convention does not imply that documents no longer need to be legalized - they must continue to follow  the routinary steps involved in the process of legalization in order to obtain the Convention Apostille from the Secretary of State of the state where the document was notarized, or the Department of State if the document is from a Federal Agency. The steps are as follows:

  1. The document must be signed by a public notary
  2. The signature of that public notary must be endorsed by the Clerk and/or Secretary of State of your jurisdiction
  3. The document does not need to be further certified by a consular office

Exceptions

Documents that will be used at customs in Venezuela for import purposes, however, are not exempt from being legalized by the Consular offices. These documents are issued by the authorities concerned in the US. They do not need to be further certified by a Secretary of the Court, Secretary of State or Department of State. THEY MUST BE CERTIFIED DIRECTLY   BY THE CONSULAR OFFICE. Please refer to the Consular Fees page.

Secretaries of State

Virginia
Secretary of the Commonwealth
PO Box 1-B
Richmond, VA 23219
Ph: (804) 786 2441

West Virginia
Secretary of State
State Capitol
Charlston, WV 25305
Ph: (304) 345 4000

District of Columbia
Acting Secretary of the District
441  4th St  NW  Room 810
Washington DC
Ph: (202) 727 4116

Maryland
Secretary of State
State House
Annapolis, MD 21401
Ph: (410) 974 2800

Ohio
Secretary of State
30 E Broad St
Columbus, OH 43266-0418
Ph: (614) 466 2655

Kentucky
State Capitol
700 Capital Avenue, Suite 156
Secretary of State
Frankfort, KY 40601
Ph: (502) 564-3490

US Department of State
Office of Authentication
Columbia Plaza
518 23rd St NW
Washington DC 20520
Ph: (202) 647 5002