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In 1981, the United States ratified the Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents. The purpose of the Convention is to simplify the procedures by which official documents of one country are authenticated for use in another country. The effect of the Convention is to eliminate the chain of certification, and to substitute a simple, single certification known as an "apostille."

In each country adopting the Convention, an office or authority has been designated as the office to certify documents for the purpose of the Convention for use in other countries which also have adopted the Convention. Clerks of the Court and deputy clerks are the officials authorized under the Convention to issue certificates relating to only the official documents in the federal district court. Besides case file records, these include documents generated by court personnel, such as administrative orders, local rules, attorney admission certificates, etc. An apostille serves as a certification by the Clerk or deputy clerk that the "last original signature" (usually being the deputy clerk’s signature on the true copy certification stamp) on the document is genuine and that any seal on the document is the seal of our court. All other documents that have been notarized by another source must have an apostille prepared by the Office of the Great Seal in Lansing. The Office of the Great Seal maintains records of all persons who are notaries, and that office will issue an apostille to authenticate the notary’s signature. The phone number for the Office of the Great Seal is (517) 373-2531.