Houston Health Department
Authenticating Birth or Death Certificates
If you are transferred by your employer to a foreign country, wanting to marry in a foreign country, or if you are adopting a child born in a foreign country, you may need to present your birth certificate to an official with the foreign country. If you are taking a deceased family member to a foreign country, or settling an estate of a deceased family member in a foreign country, the government officials with the foreign country will most likely require the death certificate of the decedent. Depending on the country and the circumstance, the documents may not be accepted by the foreign government officials unless they have been authenticated by the Secretary of State's Office.
The 1961 Hague Convention established a pre-printed form for the purpose of authenticating documents for the countries that have joined the convention. This form is called an Apostille. If a document is authenticated with an Apostille, it will be recognized and will not need further certification as long as the foreign country requesting the document has joined the Hague Convention. Since October 15, 1981, the United States has been part of the Convention.
Call 512-463-5705 for additional information.
The mailing address is:
Texas Secretary of State
Statutory Document Section
P.O. Box 12887
Austin, TX 78701