Certification Info



Board Certification
  Certification is open only to permanent residents of the United States of America,  Canada and Mexico, and is based on an applicant's record of education, training, experience and achievements, as well as the results of the Board's formal examination process.
General: To qualify, applicants must be of good moral character, reputation and integrity, and must possess high ethical and professional standing.
Educational: Applicants must have earned a baccalaureate degree from aneducational institution. Acceptable institutions include those accredited by regional accrediting commissions recognized by the U.S. Office of Education, as well as other institutions recognized by the ABFDE.



To apply, proof must be shown of a full-time training period of at least two years (or equivalent) in a forensic laboratory recognized by the Board. 
In addition, applicants need to supply as references the names and addresses of three qualified Forensic Document Examiners who are recognized by the Board and who can attest to the applicants' qualifications for certification. Current Board directors cannot be used as references, and references from persons other than Forensic Document Examiners are evaluated on an individual basis.

At the time of their application for certification, applicants must be engaged in the full-time practice of forensic document examination. (Exceptions to this rule are also evaluated on an individual basis.)

Applicants must also be able to demonstrate a record of appropriate professional activities in forensic document examination, in keeping with the following definitions:

"Document Examination is the practice of the application of document examination to the purposes of the law."

 "Forensic Document Examination relates to the identification of handwriting, typewriting, the authenticity of signatures, alterations in documents, the significance of inks and papers, photocopying processes, writing instruments, sequence of writing and other elements of a document in relation to its authenticity or spuriousness.

Examinations: In addition to meeting the qualification requirements set out above, applicants must also take comprehensive written, practical and oral examinations that are based on a wide range of problems frequently encountered in document examination.

Eligible applicants are required to undergo these examinations within two years of having their applications approved.

Any applicant who fails to pass the examination may apply for retesting after one year (with the payment of a nominal fee).
of Terms:

"Full time" means that applicants devote the majority of their time to either training in or the examination of questioned documents.

Although not intended to be selective or restrictive, the terms : "acceptable to the Board" and "recognized by the Board" refers to an established laboratory or individual whose reputation can be proven or is known to be favorable.
General Provisions

1. The Board reserves the right to deny certification.

2. Certificates of Qualification in Forensic Document Examination are valid for five years, and can be renewed in accordance with the following standards:

a. Applicants must be actively involved in case examination and other facets of questioned document examination.

b. Applicants must earn at least 40 continuing education credits during the five-year renewal period following certification. Credits are awarded for a variety of related activities, such as attendance and participation at ABFDE recognized forensic meeting and programs, and publication of articles in journals recognized by the Board.

3. Any individual who holds a valid Certificate of Qualification issued by the Board may use the designation "Diplomate of the American Board of Forensic Document Examiners."

4. Certificates of Qualification remain the property of the Board and are not transferable to any other person(s). Any individual who has been certified is entitled to the continued possession of the Certificate, unless and until the Board considers it necessary to revoke it.

Procedures for Application and Certification


1.  Application forms are available in .pdf format by clicking here. Acrobat reader is available by clicking here.  

Further information on certification requirements and training objectives are available from the ABFDE.

Contact Information

2. Applicants must meet the stated qualifications and requirements for certification, and must submit their applications to the Board, along with a recent photograph and the required fee (which is not fully refundable).

3. In addition to the application, an official transcript must be sent to the Board office directly from the Registrar of the college or universityfrom which the applicant obtained his/her baccalaureate degree.

4. Successful candidates will be issued a Certificate of Qualification in Forensic Document Examination that identifies them as Diplomates of the American Board of Forensic Document Examiners, and they will be listed as such in the annual ABFDE Directory.

5. Beginning with the fiscal year following their certification, ABFDE diplomates are required to pay an annual fee.

6. Qualifications, requirements, application procedures and fees are subject to revision at any time. The most current information is available from the Board.