Apostilled Degrees in 3 Easy Steps

This post is a continuation of my series entitled, How to Prepare Documents for an E-2 Visa in Korea.

If you are a US citizen and want to work in Korea as an English teacher, there are several documents that you will need to collect before you can secure a job offer or an E-2 visa. Last time, I showed you 5 Steps to an Apostilled FBI Criminal Background Check. Today, I will share 3 easy steps to obtaining apostilled copies of your degree(s). I even have insider tips at the end of this post for those of you near New York City.

Let’s begin, shall we?

Step 1. Make copies of your degree(s).

  • You want to use copies – not your actual/original degree(s) – for this process as you will be submitting them to the Korean government and they will not be returned.
  • My black and white copies were acceptable by New York State. Save your money and opt out of the fancy pants color copies.

Step 2. Get the copies of your degree(s) notarized (and verified by your county clerk if necessary).

  • You will need to bring both the copies and originals of your degree(s). The originals are used to verify your degree(s) and should not be notarized. 
  • Also, since most states will not authenticate documents notarized in other states, be sure that the state in which you get your copies notarized will also be the state from which you will request an apostille. For example, a document notarized by an official in Kentucky cannot be apostilled by the Secretary of State in Indiana.

Step 3. Submit your notarized (and verified if necessary) copies of your degree(s) to your state’s Secretary of State.

  • Find your state’s Secretary of State by doing a simple Google search using the terms “(your state name) Secretary of State apostille.” Follow the directions listed there for receiving an apostille.
  • In most areas, you have 2 options.They are listed below from slowest to quickest turnaround. 

Option 1: Mail your request directly to your Secretary of State. In an express mail envelope, send the notarized/verified copies of your degree(s), completed apostille application form, payment method, and a prepaid self-addressed express mail envelope to your state’s Secretary of State.

Option 2: Submit your request in person to your Secretary of State. Walk into the office with the notarized/verified copies of your degree(s), completed apostille application form, and payment method. You will likely receive the apostille while you wait or on the next business day.

  • Depending on your state, prices for this service will vary from $0 – $25 per document and the turnaround time can range from 15 minutes – 10 business days.

Were you expecting something more difficult? I told you this would be pretty easy. Next time, we’ll discuss how to create a kick-ass introduction video that will get you noticed and help you get hired in a public school.

As promised, insider tips for those near New York City can be found after the jump.

If you happen to be in the vicinity of New York City, you are in luck. I was able to receive an apostille on the copies of my degrees in under 3 hours. HOWEVER, if you do as I say and not as I have done, you could have this completed in 1 hour or less. 

Let’s assume that you’ve done Step 1 and now have the original and copies of your degree(s). You’re going to do all of the remaining steps in Manhattan because documents must be notarized and verified in the same county. Also, the New York County Clerk and New York State Department of State (NYS DOS) offices are within a short walking distance from one another.
Now, we’ll continue with Step 2.

New York County Supreme Court (click image for source)

Step 2. Bring a valid photo ID (like your passport) as well as the copies and originals of your degree(s) with you to get notarized and verified by the New York County Clerk at

60 Centre Street

New York, NY 10007

  • Take the 4, 5, 6, or J trains to Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall. Exit near Duane Street. The County Clerk is located in the Supreme Court and will be the large building on your right across Foley Square.
  • After you clear security, proceed to Room 141B  – the B means basement (take the stairs located to the left of the elevator banks).
  • Stand in the last line on the left that says “Notary”. Ask for notarization and verification of documents.
  • Once documents have been taken by an employee, proceed to the “Cashier” line to make your payment ($4 per document for notarization and verification – they accept cash and debit/credit cards).
NYS DOS (click image for source)
NYS DOS (click image for source)

Step 3. Get an apostille by walking your documents over to the NYS DOS at

123 William St (2nd Floor)

New York, NY 10038

  • The NYS DOS is a 10 minute walk from the County Clerk’s office. Enjoy the scenery as you pass the Brooklyn Bridge and City Hall.
  • NYS DOS was no longer accepting cash payments (even though the website says that they do) at the NYC location when I went in on 11/30/12. If you do not have a ($10/ per document) check drawn on a US bank or a money order addressed to the NYS DOS, then stop at the nearest Duane Reade (if their money order machines are working) or the nearest Post Office located at 90 Church Street (be prepared for long lines) on your way over there.
  • Submit your documents, check/money order, and completed form at the window then wait for your name to be called. My apostille was ready in less than 15 minutes. Be sure to get to the NYS DOS before they close at 3:30pm. 
NYS DOS Apostille
NYS DOS Apostille

Follow my directions and (compared with the FBI CBC apostille process) you’ll have an apostille on the copies of your degrees in a New York minute.

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15 thoughts on “Apostilled Degrees in 3 Easy Steps

  1. Where did you go to get copies of your diploma? I went to staples and the gave me a smaller 8×11 copy. My diploma is pretty big. Was yours the same size as the original?
    Also, I live in NJ but I graduated from a school in PA. Does that mean i will need to go to PA to get my copies notarized and appostilled?

    • HI, Lexie

      I copied mine at an office on standard 8×11 paper – just reduced the size of my degree’s image on the copier to fit the paper.

      To my knowledge, It doesn’t matter where you get your degree notarized so long as you get it apostilled in the same place. Example, I had degrees from VA and IN both notarized and apostilled in NY without issue.

  2. I ended up using this company Apostille Pros — http://www.apostillepros.com

    They got my degree apostilled and sent to me by FedEx. Also got my FBI background check obtained in 2 days rather than 12 weeks. Additionally, got the FBI background check apostille as well.

    • Before you get the apostille on your degree you’ll need to follow a few other steps outlined in this post. The cost of these services and the apostille will depend on your location. The Sec of State in NY charges $10 per document for an apostille.

  3. This website is very helpful and I really appreciate your information. I have two questions though:

    1. I went to school in CA but live in OR. When I request my diploma (and I can have my school notarize it) what secretary of state do you think I should send it to for the apostille?

    2. Why don’t you recommend getting the degree apostilled in the WDC office (which is where I sent my FBI background check a few days ago)? Why a state apostille? Could I send it to WDC?

    Thank you very much for the help in this confusing process.

    • Hi, Jeff. To answer your questions:
      1. It doesn’t matter where your degree is from. What matters is that the state that notarizes it is also the state that affixes the apostille. For example, my degrees were from Virginia and Indiana. I had them both notarized and apostilled in New York without issue. If you have the school in OR notarize your degree, then the secretary of state in OR will have to put the apostille on it.

      2. I don’t recommend this route because I have no knowledge of it. As far as I know, the secretary of state and the department of state are the only agencies authorized to affix an apostille to a document.

      Hope this helped.

      • Timah.. First of all, thank you for sharing your knowledge, but when you got your diplomas notarized at the county clerk’s office, did you have to sign your signature anywhere on the diploma copies before they notarized the diplomas or all they did was verify from your originals ?

  4. I am trying to get my brother’s diploma apostilled as he is in another country, am I able to do it for him on his behalf?

  5. The New York Department of State’s website says the diploma must first be notarized by the school you graduated from, but your insider tip doesn’t mention that. Can you explain?

    “Educational documents submitted to the New York Department of State for an Apostille or Certificate of Authentication must first be certified by an official at the educational institution attesting that the document is an official record or a true copy of the original document.”

    • Read that line closely. It says certified, not notarized. The devil is in the details.

      The rest of the quote also says, “The official’s signature then must be notarized by a notary public. The notary public’s signature must then be certified by the County Clerk in the county where the notary public is qualified to certify.”

      When an official degree or transcript is issued, it is always accompanied by a seal (or watermark) and signature of an authorizing official from the educational institution. My advice written in this post still holds.

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