Authentication Process

Details on the authentication process for the US.

I have documents from Iowa and Oregon that need to be authenticated. My diploma comes from a small university in Iowa, and my marriage and teaching licenses come from Oregon. Each state has its own rules, which may be similar or different to other states. However, I do think that some details of the process will be the same for most states, or at least an understanding of one state might help with other states. I have also heard that some state secretaries will notarize and authenticate documents that originated in other states. I say check with the state before proceeding with any step!

1. I started in Iowa with my diploma. I was told by the IA secretary of state that universities who have their own notary (which my tiny university does have one) will be able to notarize a copy of the diploma provided that the notary makes a copy him or herself. Also, a notary cannot notarize or stamp the face of a document, and the IA Secretary explained that notaries usually stamp and sign the back of the copy. If I would have understood this to begin with, I might have been able to explain the situation better to the bank where I went at first (in a small town, nobody seemed to know what to do). After the university notary stamped my document, I called the IA state secretary to have it authenticated. The lady took my information over the phone about the document and said she would send a letter of authentication that I suppose I should attach to the notarized diploma once I receive it (I will check with ProEx about this). I think this is very different than most state secretaries who generally require the physical document in hand. All in all, I think the easiest and most efficient way to handle the first two steps would be to make a trip to the state secretary and have the authentication office do both steps, the notary and authentication.

Here is a sample of what a notary might write on the document along with an official stamp and signature: "Hereby I, <name of the officer> being the <title> of <name of the school> attest that this is the original diploma (copy of original) issued to <Name> by the <name of the school> on <date>"

2. On April 5th, I will be flying to Portland, Oregon to have the rest of my documents authenticated. I already talked to the state secretary, and a lady explained that I will need to have an official copy of my marriage license from Oregon Vital Records. I think this will be standard for many other states as well, though perhaps not all. Oregon will not accept the copy I received from the county when I got married. To save myself some trouble (I hope!), I will have my teaching license notarized and authenticated at the secretary of state in Salem. The lady also explained that the notary will make a copy of my original teaching license (I should NOT make the copy myself). When I ordered the vital record of my marriage certificate, I ordered more than one. The vital record will not need a notary. Everything went according to plan, and the process was much smoother for Oregon compared to Iowa. Possibly because I knew the process better at this point!

3. As far as the letter of accreditation goes, I have read that many teachers have issues with this part. The Teach Away guide explains that a letter from the university should state its official accreditation. But apparently, the UAE embassy may not accept the letter and says to print out the school's accreditation from the CHEA website (this is for those teachers who make a trip to the embassy themselves instead of using ProEx). I already received a letter directly from my university, so I plan to also print the information from the CHEA website, as well, and send both to ProEx. Though, I have also heard that ProEx has no problems delivering a university letter. Here is a link to the CHEA website, which can also be found on the UAE embassy website:

Here is a list of fees that I anticipate thus far:

Notary: Free at the university (and usually at a bank if you have a bank account)
Authentication, Iowa secretary of state: $5.00
US Department of state: $8.00
UAE Embassy: $30.00

Marriage certificate 
Authentication, Oregon Secretary of State (no notary required for a vital record): $10.00
US Department of State: $8.00
UAE Embassy: $30.00

Teaching Certificate 
Notary: $10.00 at Oregon Secretary of State (this will likely be cheaper at other places, perhaps even free at your bank)
Authentication, Oregon Secretary of State: $10.00
US Department of State: $8.00
UAE Embassy: $30.00

ProEx Delivery
Service fee: $120.00 for all documents (even if you have more than three)
Fees for making copies and money orders on my behalf: $5.00
ProEx requires a single money order payable to ProEx for the total fees, including the Dept. of State and UAE Embassy. A grand total of: 239.00

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