IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING STATE GOVERNMENT CLOSURE

In observance of the Christmas Holiday the Bureau of Corporations, Elections & Commissions will be closed on Friday, December 22, 2017 through Tuesday, December 26, 2017.

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.

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)

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 notarial statement is the most common error.

A notarial statement must be included on or attached to the document. A notarial statement is the wording, usually at the end of a document, which identifies the steps a notary public has performed in witnessing a signature.

The two most common notarial statements are the Jurat and the Acknowledgement.

Jurat - A jurat is a notary's certification that he or she administered an oath or affirmation to the signer, whose signature was made in the notary's presence. The purpose of a jurat is for a signer to swear to or affirm the truthfulness of a document's contents. In order for a jurat to be correctly executed, the signer must sign the document in front of the notary. Documents that typically require oaths or affirmations are applications, affidavits, or any sworn statement in which the signer sets forth certain facts in writing.

Sample Jurat Statement:
State of Maine
County of __________________________
Subscribed and sworn to (or affirmed) before me this _____ day of ________, 20____, at
___________________, Maine, by___________________________________________.
____________________________
Signature of Notary Public
Name of Notary Public (print your name) SEAL
Notary Public, State of Maine
My commission expires: _____________

Acknowledgement - An acknowledgement is a declaration that the signer understands the contents of the document, has signed the document, and consents to the terms and conditions stated in the document. The acknowledgment certificate is the Notary's certification of the details of this notarial act. The signer may either sign the document prior to appearing before a notary, or in the notary's presence. In either instance, the signer must acknowledge signing the document for its intended purpose. Acknowledgements are typically required for contracts, powers of attorney, or any type of document where a person has to agree to some particular terms of the document.

Sample Acknowledgment Form:
State of Maine
County of __________________________
The foregoing instrument was acknowledged before me this _______day of
________________, 20____, at ____________________, Maine, by
______________________________________________ to be his/her free act and deed.
____________________________
Signature of Notary Public
Name of Notary Public (print your name) SEAL
Notary Public, State of Maine
My commission expires: _____________

If you have questions about how your document may have been completed by a Notary Public, please contact this office.

 

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Secretary of State
101 State House Station
Augusta ME 04333-0101

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111 Sewall Street 4th Floor
Augusta, ME 04330
(207) 624-7736

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