Article 34.

Certificates of Authentication.

§ 66-270.  Authority of Secretary of State to authenticate documents.

The Secretary, or the Secretary's designee, may sign and issue a certificate of authentication for a document that has been executed or issued in this State so that it can be recognized in a foreign jurisdiction. The certificate may be issued under the seal of the Department of the Secretary of State or under the Great Seal of the State of North Carolina. The Secretary may adopt rules to implement this Article in accordance with Chapter 150B of the General Statutes. (1998-228, s. 14.)


§ 66-271.  Definitions.

The following definitions apply in this Article:

(1) Authentication. - Certification of the genuineness of an official's signature, seal, or position within the State of North Carolina so the document can be recognized in a foreign jurisdiction.

(2) Department. - The Department of the Secretary of State.

(3) Foreign jurisdiction. - A jurisdiction outside the State of North Carolina.

(4) Foreign official. - An individual authorized by a foreign jurisdiction to attest to the genuineness of a document or to the position of an individual within that foreign jurisdiction.

(5) Notary public. - Defined in G.S. 10B-3.

(6) Official. - An individual who is a notary public, an individual who is elected or appointed to hold an office in State government, or an individual who is elected or appointed to hold an office in a local governmental unit of this State.

(7) Secretary. - The Secretary of State.

(8) Specimen. - A record of a person's signature, seal, or position as an official within the State maintained in the Department. (1998-228, s. 14; 2005-391, s. 5.)


§ 66-272.  Certificate of authentication.

To authenticate a document, the Secretary must compare the official's seal and signature on the document with a specimen of the official's seal and signature on file in the Department. If no specimen is on file in the Department, the Secretary must require that the document be authenticated by an official for whom the Department does have a specimen. The Secretary must also verify the official's authority to perform a particular act when the law of a foreign jurisdiction requires it to be verified before it will recognize the authenticity of the document. When the Secretary is able to authenticate the official's seal, signature, position, and authority, the Secretary shall sign and issue a certificate of authentication. The certificate of authentication shall be appended to the document on a separate sheet. (1998-228, s. 14; 2005-391, s. 6.)


§ 66-273.  Prerequisites for authentication.

All of the following conditions must be met before a document can be authenticated:

(1) All seals and signatures must be originals.

(2) All dates must follow in chronological order on all certifications.

(3) All acknowledgments to be authenticated by the Secretary shall be in English and must comply with Chapter 10B of the General Statutes.

(4) Whenever a copy is used, it must include a statement that it is a true and accurate copy.

(5) Whenever a document is to be authenticated by the United States Department of State, it must comply with all applicable statutes, rules, and regulations of that office. (1998-228, s. 14; 2000-140, s. 57; 2005-391, s. 7.)


§ 66-274.  Limitations on authentication.

(a) The Secretary shall not issue a certificate of authentication for a document if the Secretary has cause to believe that the certificate is desired for an unlawful or improper purpose. The Secretary may examine not only the document for which a certificate is requested, but also any documents to which the previous seals or other certifications may have been affixed by other authorities. The Secretary may request any additional information that may be necessary to establish that the requested certificate will serve the interests of justice and is not contrary to public policy, including a certified or notarized English translation of document text in a foreign language.

(b) The Secretary shall not issue a certificate of authentication for any one or more of the following:

(1) A seal or signature that cannot be authenticated by either the Secretary or another official.

(2) A seal or signature of a foreign official.

(3) A facsimile, photostat, photographic, or other reproduction of a signature or seal.

(c) The Secretary may not include within the certificate of authentication any statement that is not within the Secretary's power or knowledge to authenticate. The Secretary may not certify that a document has been executed or certified in accordance with the law of any particular jurisdiction or that a document is a valid document in a particular jurisdiction. (1998-228, s. 14.)


§ 66-275.  Other methods of authentication not precluded.

Nothing in this Article shall preclude or invalidate any other method that is provided by statute or common law for certifying or exemplifying the authenticity of a document or preclude the recognition in a foreign jurisdiction of a document whose authenticity is so certified or exemplified. (1998-228, s. 14.)


§§ 66-276 through 66-279.  Reserved for future codification purposes.