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Legalization of documents between Italy and the USA: the Apostille

Italy and the United States are both parties to the Hague Convention of October 5, 1961, abolishing the need to legalize foreign public documents. In accordance with the Convention, it is no longer necessary to ask the embassies or consulates of the two countries to legalize a document or certificate. Legalization has been substituted with an apostille, which is placed on the document. Thereafter, the document is recognized as legal in both countries.

The apostille is a stamp or seal placed on documents or certificates issued by foreign authorities with the goal of confirming their authenticity and rendering them valid for use in the country where the document needs to be used or presented; in this case, from the United States to Italy and vice versa.

In the United States, the apostille is issued by the Secretary of State of the state which issued the original document. The following are the state offices which fall under the jurisdiction of the Consular Office of the Embassy of Italy in Washington D.C.:

With regard to documents issued by federal authorities, such as the Identity History Summary also known as criminal background checks issued by the FBI, the apostille will be issued by:

  • Office of Authentications, U.S. Department of State, 600 19th Street NW, Washington, DC 20006 – Tel.: +1 202 485-8000
    Mailing Address: Office of Authentications, U.S. Department of State, CA/PPT/S/TO/AUT, 44132 Mercure Circle PO BOX 1206, Sterling, VA 20166-1206

For more information on apostilles:

  • From the website of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, click here
  • From the website of the U.S. Department of State, click here