FOREIGN EXCHANGE STUDENTS
American students planning on studying abroad and foreign students who have enrolled in a Montana high school or college will often have to provide copies of certain records as a condition of obtaining a visa or having the credits transfer back to their home country or the other school.
We urge students (and host families) to be aware of all requirements and to allow plenty of time for obtaining the necessary documents, having the documents notarized or certified, and then submitted to this office for the apostille or authentication. Documents that are not properly certified/notarized cannot be apostilled or authenticated. It is critical that all directions are followed meticulously, or orders will be rejected or delayed.
Carefully read the general information about obtaining apostilles or authentications in Montana, so you will be familiar with the steps needed to obtain the apostille or authentication certificates on your documents.
There are two types of school documents that are routinely required to be submitted for apostille or authentication – transcripts and diplomas. These documents are handled somewhat differently due to their classification as “public” vs “private” records in Montana. A transcript is considered a public record and must be certified by a school official and then the official’s signature must be notarized. An original diploma, on the other hand, can be copied and certified by any notary public. In addition to the types of records needing certification, there are other considerations that may be relevant depending on the grade level and type of institution. Below is the information applicable to each of these types of documents/schools and illustrations of how the certification/notarization must be done.
If you have any questions, please contact the Notary & Certifications Division staff at (406) 444-1877 or [email protected] for more information.
Transcripts, Report Cards, Attendance Records
- Transcripts, report cards, and attendance records are considered official public records and copies of these documents must be certified by an authorized school official and then the official’s signature must be notarized.
- Please use the Certification of School Records form to certify and notarize these types of records. An illustration of how it is to be completed is shown below.
Here’s an example of how the form should be completed:
- As noted above, diplomas issued by any public or private Montana high school can be copy certified by any Montana notary public. The notary must be presented with the original diploma and the notary must make the copy. They can then affix either a “stick-on” certificate or attach a loose certificate (Copy Certification of Tangible Record – #6 of 14) that attests to the authenticity of the copy.
Here’s an example of how a properly certified copy of a diploma should look:
Certifying records for home-schooled students may be more involved due primarily to a lack of consistency and policies for these documents. It may be necessary to obtain documentation from the County Superintendent of Schools. Please contact the Notary & Certifications staff at the Secretary of State’s office as early as possible in the process for detailed information specific to your student.