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Office of the Secretary of State issues Washington’s first digital apostille

  • New digital document program enables quicker delivery and secure authentication of documents for use abroad


OLYMPIA — The Office of the Secretary of State has issued its first digital apostille to authenticate a document as part of a pilot program with the City University of Seattle and @Gov, Inc., a Virginia-based company.


An apostille is an authentication, similar to notarization, issued to documents for use in countries participating in the 1961 Hague Convention treaty that simplifies the legalization of documents for use abroad, including FBI background checks, medical certificates, and transcripts.


The digital apostille authenticated a diploma, and was issued on behalf of an international student who graduated from the City University of Seattle.


International students’ home countries require diplomas to be recognized in their country, and a digitally authenticated diploma improves both processing time and security. Processing time for a paper diploma and apostille can extend to four or six weeks. With the new digital apostille, or e-apostille, certification can be available in days, not weeks.


“I am so excited for this digital option to be available to communities across Washington, even beyond the classroom,” Secretary of State Steve Hobbs said. “This allows quicker processing times and reduced expense, and it’s verifiably secure and encrypted.”


Launched in February 2024, this e-apostille pilot program allows the Corporations and Charities division of the Office of the Secretary of State to provide a digital version of the apostille using technology provided by @Gov.  Washington is the seventh state to provide this service, joining Montana, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maryland, Utah, and Minnesota. @Gov has digitally certified over 500 e-apostilles to over 45 countries.


“This program is a game-changer for our international students,” Antonio Esqueda Flores, Senior Director of International Student Services at City University of Seattle said. “A paper apostille can only be shared once because of the watermark, but this digital version will allow students to share their diplomas multiple times for at least five years.”


Washington’s Office of the Secretary of State oversees areas within state government including managing state elections, registering corporations and charities, and governing the use of the state flag and state seal. The office operates the State Archives and the State Library, documents extraordinary stories in Washington’s history through Legacy Washington, and administers the Combined Fund Drive for charitable giving by state employees and the Productivity Board state employee suggestion program. The Office of the Secretary of State also oversees the state’s Address Confidentiality Program to help protect survivors of crime. 


@Gov, Inc., based in Virginia Beach, provides platform solutions for the production of secure, verifiable paper and digital documents to state and federal governments. The company focuses on safeguarding government documents, ensuring secure delivery to recipients, and leveraging its multiple patents to guarantee absolute proof of document authenticity. These principles form the cornerstone of all @Gov’s products and platforms.


Since 1973, City University of Seattle has been relentlessly reimagining higher education in the Pacific Northwest and around the world. As an accredited, private, nonprofit university, our mission is to provide career-relevant education to busy students who want to advance their careers and compete in the global marketplace.  


Today, CityU is recognized as a Top 10 educator of adults nationwide, offering over 65 degree and certificate programs in business, leadership, education, project management, health and human services, and computer and information systems. Whether students study on-site or online, they learn from practitioner faculty and network with alumni employed at Seattle’s top companies. From the day they enroll, students have an entire team of support that’s committed to helping them finish their degree and achieve their goals.  




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