An "authentication" is a governmental act by which a designated public official (e.g. consular officer at an embassy or a consulate) certifies to the genuineness of the signature and/or seal and the position of the person/official who has executed, issued, or certified (a copy of) a document. Fees to be paid for acts of authentication are listed under Quicklinks "Consular Info." (on the right of your computer screen)
Please note that authentication services are provided by Honorary Consulates too.
Authentication is provided for:
1) private (e.g. agreements, power-of-attorney) and official signatures
2) transcripts and copies (stating that original and copy are identical)
a) The Consulate does NOT provide translation services. The accuracy of a translation is NOT the responsibility of the Consulate.
b) The Consulate is NOT to be held liable/responsible for the content of a document.
c) The person asking for authentication services must provide proper ID (e.g. passport).
The Hague Convention & Apostille
The 1961 Hague Convention stipulates that signatory countries (including both Austria and the United States) agrees to mutually recognize each other's "public documents". in other words, such documents need no prior legalization by an embassy or consulate of the other country. Yet, all these public documents must be authenticated by an APOSTILLE.
Public documents are:
a) documents issued by judicial authorities, including those emanating from public prosecutors, court clerks, and process servers (e.g. divorce decree)
b) administrative documents (e.g. birth certificates, marriage certificates)
c) "notarial" documents (e.g. power-of-attorney, purchase agreements)
d) official certificates affixed to documents signed by persons in their private capacity, (e.g. official certificates recording the registration of a document, notarial authentications of signatures)
An apostille (French for "certification") is an internationally recognized form of notarization and ensures that public documents issued in one country will be recognized as valid in another country. The sole function of the apostille is to certify the authenticity of the signature on the document in question; the capacity in which the person signing the document acted; and the identity of any stamp or seal affixed to the document. The apostille either must be attached as an annex to the official document or placed on the document itself by means of a stamp. An apostille is solely issued upon request.
An apostille is required to ensure that public documents issued by one state (Austria or USA) are recognized as valid in the other state (USA or Austria).
Who issues an apostille?
In Austria an apostille is issued by:
a) the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs
b) the Presidents of any Civil Court of First Instances
c) the Governors or Governments of the Federal Provinces
In the USA an apostille is issued by:
a) Office of Authentication at the Department of State
b) all clerks und deputy clerks of US Federal Courts
c) the Secretaries of the State and Deputy Secretaries of the State of each State
Please note: Documents signed before a notary public and documents not issued by government offices generally require a certification by the Clerk of Court of the County in which the document is commissioned before a certification by the (Deputy) Secretary of State of the State in which the document is executed may be obtained.