In accordance with the Governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order, effective immediately the Office of the Great Seal and the Bureau of Elections have limited in-person hours.
Authentication Request Form and Instructions
Step 1: Ensure Documents are Properly Signed by Appropriate Official
Verify that your documents have been signed by an official whose signature the Secretary of State has authority to authenticate. See certificate of authority section below.
Verify that all vital records are certified copies.
If your documents were notarized, verify that the notary included all of the required information:
- Notary name and signature
- Date of notarization
- Commission Expiration date
- County of commission
- County of execution if different than County of commission
Step 2: Pay $1.00 Document Certification Fee for each document to be authenticated.
Step 3: Submit Documents to Secretary of State
A.) Mail or Overnight Delivery Service: Send your completed Authentication Request Form, documents, a self-addressed stamped return envelope and a check or money order made payable to "State of Michigan" to the Office of the Great Seal's mailing address. Please do not send cash.
If you wish to mail your request, you must use the following address:
Michigan Department of State
Office of the Great Seal
7064 Crowner Drive
Lansing, MI 48918.
- Or -
B.) In Person: Present documents in person to the Office of the Great Seal. Make an appointment with the Office of Great Seal, by calling (517) 241-1832.
Office of the Great Seal - Richard H. Austin Building 1st Floor, 430 W. Allegan Street, Lansing, MI
Step 4: Receive Authenticated Document
Your authentication documents will be returned to you in the self stamped addressed envelope you provided. Be sure it is large enough to include all of your documents.
Types of Authentication
The intended destination of a document determines the required type of certification.
- An Apostille is issued for documents intended for use only in foreign countries that are party to the Hague Treaty.
- A Certificate of Authority is issued for all other countries, many of which will only accept documents certified at both the state and federal levels. The original document must be signed in front of a notary public and must contain original signatures. As a reminder, a notary public cannot make a true copy statement in the State of Michigan.
The apostille is a creation of an international treaty, the Hague Convention of 1961. The United States of America joined the Hague Convention in 1981. The Convention provides for, among other things, the certification of public documents to be used in countries that have joined the Convention. In accordance with the provisions of the Convention, this office issues apostilles only for documents intended for use in foreign countries that also are signatories of the Convention. This document is the equivalent of a Certificate of Authority used in countries that are not participants in the Hague Treaty.
An apostille has the same requirements, the same fee, and the same instructions as a Certificate of Authority. Apostilles cannot be issued for use in the United States
Certificate of Authority
The Office of the Great Seal is authorized on behalf of the State of Michigan to certify and issue Certificates of Authority for:
- Michigan Notary Public notarized documents. Documents must be complete and contain original signatures.
- Vital Records (Birth, Marriage, Death, or Divorce) - Certified copies from one of the following:
- A Michigan County Clerk
- The Michigan State Registrar 517-335-8666
- City Clerks in the counties of Wayne, Macomb and Oakland only
- Certified Copies of Articles of Incorporation issued from the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.
Certifying Vital Records
Only certified copies of birth, marriage, divorce and death records by a Michigan County Clerk; City Clerk or Registrar in the counties of Wayne, Oakland, or Macomb only; or the Michigan State Registrar are eligible for authentication. Original vital records cannot be accepted for this purpose. Documents issued by court clerks or received via fax are not acceptable.
To Request records from State Registrar
To request certified copies of these records from the State Registrar, please telephone 517-335-8656. Note; this is not the phone number for the Office of the Great Seal. To contact the Office of the Great Seal, please email us at MDOS-NOTARY@MICHIGAN.GOV.
U.S. Department of State Authentications Office
Further information may be obtained from the U.S. Department of State Authentications Office or U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs for International Adoption.