Appendix B: Recommended Specifications & Security Features for a Manufacturers Certificate of Origin

Also known as a Manufacturer Statement of Origin (MSO)


AAMVA recommends the Manufacturer Certificate of Origin (MCO) size specification range of 7” x 8” as the minimum, and 8-1/2” x 11” as the maximum.

Model Format Data Fields


Document Front

1. Name of Manufacture 

Top, center of document either in or beneath the border. 

2. The words “Manufacturers Certificate of Origin” or “Manufacturers Statement of Origin”

Top, center of document either in or beneath the border. 
3. Issue Date

Top portion of the document 

4. Invoice Number

Top portion of the document 

5. Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) 

Top portion of the document 

6. Year

Top portion of the document 

7. Make Top portion of the document
8. Body TypeTop portion of the document
9. Shipping, Unloaded, or Unladen Weight Top portion of the document
10. Horsepower (H.P.)Top portion of the document
11. Displacement (motorcycle)Top portion of the document
12. Number of CylindersTop portion of the document
13. Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)Top portion of the document
14. Series or ModelTop portion of the document

15. Statement of the Vehicle Conforming to Federal Regulations Under Title 49 CFR Part 571.500 (Low Speed Vehicles Only)

Top portion of the document, immediately above property transfer statement

16. Name and Address of Dealer, Distributor, Etc. and Applicable Signatures

Mid-section of document, after property transfer statement

Document Reverse (Assignment Areas)

1. Name and Address of Purchaser(s)Top portion of each assignment area
2. Odometer Miles Below address of each assignment area

3. Name of Transferring Dealer, Distributor, Etc.

Below odometer statement

4. Notary Information (If Required)Below transferring dealer, distributor, etc. information 
5. Lienholder(s) Name and Address Bottom portion of document


Level 1 Feature: Overt features that can be examined and authenticated without the use of tools or equipment. 

Level 2 Feature: Covert features requiring the use of tools and equipment such as magnification, lighting, or ultra-violet lighting to examine and authenticate documents.

Level 3 Feature: Forensic features requiring the use of specialty tools and equipment commonly found in document laboratories to examine and authenticate documents. 

Recommendations for the Number of Features Present: While there is no ideal number of level 1 – 3 features that should be present on MCO documents, it is recommended document manufacturers include a combination of all three to provide optimal document security and counterfeit deterrence.  The below recommendations have been made with expert knowledge of common counterfeit techniques and technologies available and used in the market. Motor vehicle agencies should look for and validate these features when interacting with these documents. 

Paper Substrate Security Features

(a) Cylinder-Mould, Multi-Tonal Watermark – secure, easily verifiable security feature recognized by document experts. Can be customized or include a generic watermark with multiple degrees of tonal variation.
(b) Sensitized Security Paper – paper that is reactive to chemicals commonly used to alter documents 
(c) Non-Optical Brightener Paper – paper without added optical brighteners which will not fluoresce under ultraviolet light. Paper must be UV dull.
(d) The inclusion of a paper coating that allows the bonding of toner to the paper from laser printers which protects against erasure and other physical means of alteration.
(e) Security Thread – windowed or embedded security threat, incorporated into the paper during paper  manufacture. Customized or generic ‘Secure Document’ thread design, with or without fluorescence.
(f) Security fibers – Can be visible and/or invisible and incorporated evenly during paper manufacture.

Recommendations for fibers

*  The use of multi‐colored/candy security fibers for additional security. 
*  Fibers whether visible or invisible, in a designated band in the paper. Easy to identify the location for quick, yet secure verification.

Security Print Techniques

(a) Offset Printing: High resolution security printing with a minimum resolution of 4,000 DPI
(b) Intaglio Printing: High resolution security printing with a minimum resolution of 6,400 DPI
(c) Digital Printing: with a minimum resolution of 1200 DPI,  OR
(d) True Mechanical Crash Numbering: Impact numbering that disrupts the surface of the paper fibers.


  • Use a minimum of offset and intaglio in combination with one of the other two numbering print technics listed above for layered security.

Security Print Attributes

(a) Prismatic – rainbow printing which is used as a deterrent to color copying, and/or Copy Void Pantograph – the word “void” appears when the document is copied. 
(b) Complex Colors – colors which are developed by using a mixture of two or more of the primary colors (red, yellow or blue) and black if required. 
(c) Erasable Fluorescent Background Inks – fluoresces under ultraviolet light and reacts to any attempt to erase in such a manner as to be immediately detectable. 
(d) Background Security Design – a repetitious design consisting of a pattern which hinders counterfeiting efforts. 
(e) Microline – a line of small alpha characters in capital letters which requires a magnifying glass to read. 
(f) Consecutive Numbering – documents that contain a number which is consecutively numbered for control purposes. 

Additional Printing Security Features

(a) Color Changing Ink - provides a visual change from one distinct color to a second distinct color when the document is tilted or rotated and is used for printing custom image designs.

1. Additional color changing ink security features:

i.   Level 2. Inclusion of a covert micro taggant (25 micron)‐custom imaged particle viewable with basic 400x handheld microscope.
ii.  Level 2. Inclusion of a covert immutable machine‐readable marker read by a programmed handheld reader in the field or State Lab.
iii. Level 3. Inclusion of a forensic marker for court evidence to identify genuine documents.

(b) Diffractive Optically Variable Image Device (DOVID) – approximately 1” (25mm) x 1” (25mm), which exhibits optically variable effects when the document is moved (tilted or rotated).

     1. Minimum requirements:    

i.   Portrays a customized design which is relevant to or associated with the jurisdiction (e.g., the State Seal);
ii.  Exhibits a sophisticated metallic structure created by demetallization, partial metallization or structured hot stamping;
iii. Exhibits at least one unique overt feature (Level 1), such as a diffractive colorshift, a diffractive watermark, or a virtual 3‐D effect; and,
iv. Applied by hot stamping to the pre‐printed paper substrate.

2. Optional DOVID Security Features:

i. Exhibits one or two additional overt optical effects (Level 1)
ii. Includes a covert diffractive feature verifiable using a hand-held magnifier (Level 2); or
iii. Includes a second covert feature verifiable using a high-power microscope (Level 3).

Document Attributes

(a) Paper Stock – Sixty (60) pound offset or equivalent durability. 
(b) Construction – Unless otherwise specified by the user, the forms should be constructed and fan-folded for use on high-speed pin-fed computer printers and/or continuous typewriters.  
(c) Layout – Text matter space for 1/10 inch horizontal and 1/6-inch-deep characters per AAMVA H-12 Policy for standard format. 

Manufacturer Security and Quality Requirements

To ensure the integrity of the MSO and MCO, the manufacturer of the documents should follow standard security protocol measures to maintain secure printing, storage, and handling of documents.           

The manufacturer should provide a security plan for review;

1. Security Plan should include, at a minimum, the following:

i.  High‐level outline of the security measures and controls in place at its facility
ii. Security controls over artwork, designs, molds, and all details relating to the documents
iii. Secure Transportation/tracking and traceability plan
iv. Policy for destruction of non‐conforming product
v. Ability for agency to access facility

2. Quality Plan should include, at a minimum, the following

i.   Measurement and Control of security features
ii.  Raw material controls
iii. Control of non‐conforming material
iv. Training

[Revised 2023]