A polarization-encoding system for optical security verification is proposed. The polarization-encoded information can be used for secure verification. The polarization state of the input image can provide an additional degree of freedom in using optics to secure information. The expressions for polarization-encoded input images are developed using Jones polarization calculus. A nonlinear joint transform correlator is used to provide optical validation. Computer simulations and optical experimental results are shown in support of the proposed method. © 2000 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers.