The Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State provides authentication of public official signatures on documents to be used outside the United States of America. Authentication is the process of verifying a county official, a state official, or a notary public from the State of Minnesota that certifies or notarizes a document. International officials often require document authentication to prove that the document is genuine and acceptable in another country. Examples of documents submitted for authentication include: birth certificates, adoption papers, marriage licenses, corporate documents, school transcript records and trademarks.
There are two ways to authenticate a document for use in another country when conducting official business. One, a number of countries in 1961 agreed under international treaty to accept a document authenticated by signature from a Secretary of State. The Hague Treaty signatories agreed to accept the signature of the Secretary of State of each U.S. state without additional certification from the U.S. Secretary of State. Documents used in nations that signed the treaty must have the attachment of an "Apostille" to each document. Click here for a list of countries that require an apostille. The second form of authentication is a "Certificate of Office". This form of authentication is used in all nations other than those members of the treaty. Check with the consulate or embassy of the particular nation involved for requirements needed for a valid authentication. Remember, the country of destination determines whether an Apostille or a Certificate of Office is appropriate.
To provide certification, the Secretary of State's Office requires the original notarized document or the original certified copy from the county. You may either mail your authentication request or visit our office. If you choose to mail in your document(s), provide a letter advising us what is the country of designation for the document(s) and include a check for the applicable fee. You may enclose a prepaid FedEx or UPS label which will speed up the return of the document being delivered back to you (this is not required).
The office charges a $5.00 fee for each authentication certificate.Make the check payable to: MN Secretary of State.
PRESENT IN PERSON OR MAIL TO:
Retirement Systems of Minnesota Building
Minnesota Secretary of State - Certification
60 Empire Drive, Suite 100
Saint Paul, MN 55103-2141(directions)
(OPEN Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m., excluding holidays)
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