Great Seal Certification
Authentication of Public Documents for Foreign Use: Non-Hague Countries
GREAT SEAL CERTIFICATION PROCEDURES
Great Seal Certifications can be obtained via mail and in our office on a
walk-in basis between the hours of 8:30am and 4:30pm. For same day service, we
ask that the request be in the office no later than 4:30 pm.
The fee for a Great Seal Certification is $10.00 per document. Acceptable forms
of payment are Checks (drawn on a U.S. Bank) or Money Orders. Payments should be
made payable to the Secretary of State. We do not accept second party checks,
cash, or credit payments.
To obtain a Great Seal Certification by mail, please carefully follow the
instructions below to ensure our staff will be able to process your request
1. Enclose a cover letter stating the name of the country in which the
document(s) will be used. The country name is needed in order to authenticate
the document correctly. Please include a telephone number where you can be
reached during normal business hours.
2. Enclose the required fee. (see above)
3. Enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope for return of the documents. If you
wish the documents to be returned by a courier service, you must enclose a
pre-paid air bill with your order; no collect or cash on delivery (COD) mail or
air bills can be sent from this office.
4. For walk-in or mailing service please use the following address:
Secretary of State
Elections Division - Authentication
2 Martin L. King Jr. Dr. SE
Suite 802 West Tower
Atlanta, GA 30334
How do I know when I can use the Great Seal Authentication?
The Georgia Secretary of State only provides the Great Seal Authentication of
public official's signatures on documents used in Non-Hague countries.
The Georgia Superior Court Clerk's Cooperative Authority provides the Apostille
Certification of public official's signatures on documents used in Hague
To determine which authentication you need, please click here to view a list of
Hague countries. If the country your documents are going to is on this list,
please contact the Georgia Superior Court Clerk's Cooperative Authority at
404-327-9058 to obtain the Apostille Certification. If your country is not on
this list, please proceed with the instructions below to obtain the Great Seal
How do I get started after creating or
obtaining my document for authentication?
The document must be notarized by a Georgia notary. The notary must date, sign
and seal the document; all signatures and seals must be original. You must then
obtain a Notary Certification from the Clerk of Superior Court in the county in
which the notary is commissioned.
How do I obtain the Notary Certification?
1. The notarized document must be taken to the Clerk of Superior Court in which
the notary is commissioned for a Notary Certification. For example, if your
notary is commissioned in Rockdale County, you must go to the Rockdale County
Clerk of Superior Court to obtain the Notary Certification.
2. The signature from the county clerk's office must be an original pen in hand
signature and the certification must be attached to each document prior to
3. All dates must follow in chronological order on the notary, clerk of court
and the Secretary of State certification. (document 7/8/09,notary 7/8/09 Clerk
7/10/09 SOS 7/18/09)
How do I obtain a Birth, Death, or Marriage
Certificate for Authentication?
Our office can only authenticate birth, death, and marriage certificates issued
in the state of Georgia; we cannot authenticate out-of-state documents or
documents from a county health department. All signatures must be an original
pen in hand signature of the person certifying each document.
1. To obtain a Georgia birth certificate, death certificate, marriage license
and/or a single status verification letter, please contact the Georgia
Department of Community Health, Vital Record Services at 404-679-4701. You may
also visit their website at http://health.state.ga.us/programs/vitalrecords/index.asp.
All signatures must be an original pen in hand signature of the person
certifying each document.
2. Marriage certificates can also be obtained from the County Probate Court
where the marriage was recorded. For authentication, none of these documents
(birth certificates, marriage licenses, or death certificates) need to be
3. Birth Certificates issued by a county Probate Court should have an original
pen in hand signature but does not have to be notarized for authentication.
Birth Certificates can also be obtained from the County Probate Court.
How do I obtain a Divorce Decree for
A Divorce Decree must be a certified copy from the Superior Court where the
divorce is recorded and must have an original pen in hand signature. Certified
documents obtained from the court and signed by a Clerk and/or Deputy Clerk of
court, do not need to be notarized for authentication.
How do I obtain a Certificate of Free Sale for
Certificates of Free Sale originated in the State of Georgia are issued through
the Georgia Agricultural Department and must have an original pen in hand
signature. For further information, please contact their office at (404)
656-3645 or visit their website at http://agr.georgia.gov.
How do I obtain a Transcript for
To obtain a Great Seal Authentication for university and college transcripts and
diplomas, the document(s) must first be certified by the registrar with an
original pen and hand signature or must be notarized in Georgia and certified by
the Clerk of Superior Court in the county where the notary is commissioned.
Elementary through High School records must be signed by a member of the School
Administrative Staff, then notarized and certified by the Clerk of Court in the
county where the notary is commissioned.
How do I obtain an Article of Incorporation
In order to obtain the Great Seal Authentication, documents must be obtained
from the Corporations Division; we cannot authenticate documents printed from
1. Certificate of Good Standing, Articles of Incorporation, Corporate Amendments
and Resolutions will bear the signature of the Secretary of State; no
notarization is needed for authentication. To obtain this document, please
contact the Office of Secretary of State, Corporations Division at 404-656-2817.
In order to obtain the Great Seal Authentication for documents pertaining to
international business, the document(s) must be notarized and the notary
certified by the Clerk of Court in the county of the notary commissioned.
How do I contact someone if I have other
questions or would like to set up an appointment?
Please call 404-657-5374.
Apostille (for Hague countries)
your document(s) are going to a country that is a member of the
Convention, please contact the Georgia Superior Court Clerk’s Authority at
(404) 327-6023 to find out the requirements for obtaining an