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Maine Bureau of Corporations, Elections, and Commissions, Department of the Secretary of State

Division of Corporations, UCC and Commissions

NOTICE: In observance of Christmas, the Division of Corporations, UCC & Commissions will be closing Wednesday, December 24, 2014 at 12:00 pm and will be closed on Thursday, December 25, 2014 and Friday, December 26, 2014.

Special Certifications - Apostilles and Authentications

Authentications are often called "legalizations," sometimes "incumbencies" or "certifications"; an apostille is a form of authentication appropriate to countries which have consented to be bound by the 1961 Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents. They are often needed in adoptions, extraditions, and certain business transactions. For more information on countries party to or bound to this convention, please visit the Hague Conference website, Apostille Section.

The essence of these documents is an official statement that an office-holder held a particular office at a particular time. In order to be able to issue authentications, our office keeps on file the qualification document for the particular official -- the Oath of Office. Officials covered include Maine Notaries Public, high level appointees such as Commissioners, members of boards and commissions, Dedimus Justices, legislators, Constitutional Officers, and certain county-level offices.

Authentications are most often part of a chain of proof that involves a number of cover documents. To simplify this, the Hague Convention established a system that allows Secretaries of State to be the last officials in the chain. The apostille that we issue for Hague Convention countries is simply a special form of authentication.

The Division provides special certifications on vital record documents (birth, marriage, divorce or death records) issued by municipal, court and state officials. Additionally, special certifications are provided for any documents certified by notaries public.

Fee: The cost of a special certification is $10 per signed document made payable to the Secretary of State in U.S. funds.

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Please Note: The most common reason for this office to reject a request for these special certifications is due to an error by the Notary Public - the lack of a date on a notarization is the most common error. Please make certain that all notarizations are dated by the Notary Public. If you have questions about how your document may have been completed by a Notary Public, please contact this office.

To request special certifications (Authentications or Apostilles) on notarized or vital record documents, please download, complete and submit the following request form together with the notarized or vital record documents and the proper processing fee.

Form Request for Authentications/Apostilles (Adobe .pdf format)

US Mail Delivery
Secretary of State
101 State House Station
Augusta ME 04333-0101

Courier Delivery
Secretary of State
111 Sewall Street 4th Floor
Augusta, ME 04330
(207) 624-7736

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