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Due to the Novel Coronavirus pandemic since 2020, the US Department of State has switched to online services for apostille and document authentication. Since quite a huge number of staff are working remotely, the US Department of State has increased the apostille processing time from an immediate 4 to 6 business days to 8 to 12 weeks.

U.S. Department of State Apostille Delays in Processing Time

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic with a series of nation-wide lockdowns, the US department of state had closed their in-person counter services for apostille authentication and legalization. Fortunately, according to the US department of state, all mail-in documents requested for authentication are processed within 2 to 3 business days.

The most common form of document authentication requested from the US department of state is the apostille. An apostille legalizes the notary’s signatures and any other official signatures and stamps by your local secretary of state. This apostille is mainly to be used in document processing in any foreign country signatory to the Hague Convention, 1967.

Delays in Authentication Processing Time

Due to the Covid-19 health emergencies, laid-off staff and remote work, the service timeframe rollback has greatly suffered. According to the DC Office of the Secretary, due to the large volume of requests, a delay of 5 to 6 weeks could be expected in the processing of your apostille documents.

Other than that, a second major cause of delays in processing time has been due to a large number of people filing with the wrong application form. Please remember that since the form DS-4194 has expired, the processing fee has also changed. Hence, today, although the Secretary Office expects you to use the expired form, the fee has now changed to $20 per form. Failing to do so might result in unnecessary delays and rejections in the application form.

How to Avoid Delays in Processing Time for Apostille in US

It is quite pertinent to consider that due to huge traffic of requests in holiday season (November 15 to January 15) there might be longer delays than today (5 to 6 weeks). Hence, we suggest you start the process of authenticating your documents as soon as possible. There are three possible ways you could get your documents apostilled:

  • 1. In-mail services: In today’s circumstances, this is the quickest option to get your documents legalized for use in foreign country. Below we have listed the things that must be included in your application:
  • A completed Request of Authentications Service DS-4194 form – specify the document’s country of use in Section 4
  • The document(s) requiring authentication services
  • Fees
  • One self-addressed, prepaid envelope for return of your document (don’t include FedEx)
  • 2. By Appointment: This option is now only reserved for extremely urgent circumstances. Exceptions to the in-mail service include the following requirements for quick processing by appointment;
  • Proof of the life-or-death emergency such as a death certificate, a statement from a mortuary, or a signed letter from a hospital or medical professional.  Documents must be in English or translated in English by a professional translator.
  • Proof of international travel (itinerary, ticket, reservation) within 48 hours.
  • A completed Request of Authentications Service DS-4194 form – provide the document’s country of use in Section 4
  • The document(s) requiring authentication services
  • Fees
  • 3. By Drop-Off and Pick-Up: Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this service is not available for the public. This service is limited only to contractors such as Apostille Near Me. Hence, you could utilize thir-party services for quick processing of your documents.

**Since the hassle of keeping up with all the new requirements may get quite unsettling for applicants, we suggest you use Apostille Services Near You to do the hard work for you. We stay with you from mailing in your application to getting the final authenticated apostille documents at your doorstep.