This article will provide guidance on How To Serve legal papers in Minnesota. Under current Minnesota law, a prevailing party may recover the cost of the Minnesota Process Service, whether by a sheriff or private process server, as costs and disbursements[1]. Any person, not a party to the action and is eighteen years of age or over may serve a summons or other Minnesota Process Service subpoenas. The court may direct service of any Minnesota Process Service by any means it deems appropriate. As a practical matter, courts will rarely have occasion to direct a specific means of Minnesota Process Service. Click Here for Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers!

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Unless otherwise ordered by the court, the sheriff or any other person not less than eighteen years of age and not a party to the action may make service of a summons or other process. Click Here for information on What Do Process Servers in Minnesota Do!

With regards to an individual, Minnesota Process Service specifies procedures to be followed.  In the presence of a person of appropriate age and discretion, a copy may be left at the subject’s normal place of residence or delivered to the individual directly[2]. A child under the age of fourteen may be served by their father or mother if they are in the state and by either a resident guardian the plaintiff knows about or a defendant who has responsibility for the newborn. Click here for information on Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure

Partnerships and associations are the foundation of every successful business. Delivery of the copy of the action to a member of the partnership or association’s managing agent upon a partnership or association subject to suit under a common name. Any alternative mode of Minnesota Process Service or the appointment of an agent to receive a summons has been approved by the partnership or association under the legislation. Click here for information on How To Identify A Good Process Service Agency

Personal Minnesota Process Service of such summons outside the state, as shown by an affidavit of the person serving it sworn before a person authorized to administer an oath, will have the same effect as the public notice. Minnesota Process Service upon an individual other than an infant or an incompetent person may be effected in a location outside the state by any internationally agreed means reasonably calculated to provide notice, such as those authorized by the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extra-judicial Documents; or by any other internationally agreed means that should in a cohesive fashion be sufficient to provide notice, such as those authorized by the applicable international agreement. Click here for information on How Rush Process Service Can Expedite Your Case.

If the country does not object, Minnesota Process Service may also be done via delivery to the individual personally of a copy of the summons and the complaint; or through any form of mail requiring a signed receipt, to be addressed and dispatched by the court administrator to the party to be served[3]. Click here for information on How Service of Process Ensures A Solid Foundation.

To confer jurisdiction, Minnesota Process Service through publication should be sufficient. Service by publication can be relevant when a defendant is a resident person domiciled outside the state with the aim to cheat creditors or evade service or when the defendant stays hidden inside the state with the same goal[4]. When quasi in rem jurisdiction is obtained, the party defending the action submits personally to the court’s jurisdiction[5]. Click here for information on How Process Servers Protect Your Rights: Myths Debunked

After the publication of the complaint, if the defendant does not appear within ten days, the plaintiff has five days to serve a copy of it on the defendant or the defendant’s counsel. The defendant will have ten days to respond to the allegations against them. In Minnesota, service of summons in actions involving real estate owned by a nonresident must be performed on the agent or the principal. Service by publication will not be made on the principal if the nonresident person or company has appointed an agent.

Minnesota Process Service on a domestic or foreign corporation is accomplished by serving a copy on an officer or managing agent, as well as anyone else designated by statute as being authorized to receive the summons. If the agent is one of those individuals, any statutory provision regarding how Minnesota Process Service is to be carried out must be followed. Any ticket, freight, or solicitation agent in the county in which the action is filed, or any such agency of the company in the state, may be served with a summons. If a foreign corporation does not have an agent who got Minnesota Process Service in the county, the summons may be served on any such agent in the state.

When it comes to a state,  an attorney general or assistant attorney general will receive a copy from the state. Delivery to the chair of the county board or auditor of the defendant county may be done to [A.]  the chief executive officer or clerk of a defendant city, village, or borough; [B.]  chair of the town board of the town of the defendant town;  and [C.]  to any member of the board, school district, or public corporation of the defendant public corporation[6].  It is permitted for a defendant to apply for a defense if the summons is served by publication and the defendant does not receive any actual notice of the action. Similarly, the defendant is permitted to defend at any time within one year after the judgment on such terms as the court deems appropriate. To provide restitution after the defense is successful and part of a judgment has been enforced, the court may provide instructions in accordance with Minnesota Process Service guidelines.

Any action may be served by sending a copy of the summons to the address provided. When serving someone with a notice and acknowledgment according to Form 22, the complaint should be sent to that individual via first-class mail[7] with postage paid, along with two copies of the form. A return envelope should be included for the sender to follow Minnesota Process Service requirements. To serve a response, the defendant must obtain an acknowledgment of Minnesota Process Service from the sender in accordance with this Minnesota Process Service rule within the period specified for the defendant to do so. If the person served does not complete and return the notice and acknowledgment of receipt of summons within the period permitted by these rules, the court will compel the person served to pay the personal service costs[8].

Minnesota Process Service of the summons and other processes may be shown by affidavit, written admission or acceptance of the party served, affidavit of the printer or printer’s designee, or the certificate of the sheriff making it. In all circumstances other than those requiring public notice, the evidence of Minnesota Process Service must include the date, time, and method of Minnesota Process Service. The legitimacy of the service is unaffected if evidence of Minnesota Process Service is not provided.

The court may, at any time, change any summons or other process or evidence of Minnesota Process Service, as long as it does not seem that the rights of the person against whom the process was issued will be adversely affected by the amendment.


An unaffiliated individual, such as the sheriff or a deputy, may serve the subpoena. There are two ways to serve stipulations on a person named in the subpoena: by handing the document over to the person or by leaving a copy at home with an adult who has the authority and discretion to accept Minnesota Process Service. Fees for one day’s attendance as well as mileage allowances are to be paid to the person. Fees and mileage are not required when the subpoena is issued on behalf of the state of Minnesota or one of its officers or agencies.

Anyone over eighteen who is not a party to the proceedings may serve a subpoena. When a subpoena is served on a person named in it, it is done by handing them a copy of the Minnesota Process Service or leaving a copy with someone of suitable age and discretion currently residing at the person’s usual residence. If the person’s presence is required, the fee for one day’s attendance and mileage allowed by law must be paid to that person. Fees and mileage are not required when the subpoena is issued on behalf of the state of Minnesota or one of its officers or agencies. A subpoena directing the production of specified books, papers, documents, or electronically stored information, tangible things, or inspection of premises must be served on the subject of the subpoena, and notice of the required production must be served on each party to the action at least seven days before the required product is made.

All Minnesota Process Service emanating on the Sabbath is forbidden, with the exception of cases involving an actual or suspected violation of the peace, where a lawsuit is filed to arrest a suspect in a crime, or when such Minnesota Process Service is explicitly permitted by legislation. There must be no public work done on any public holiday, save in circumstances of necessity and cases of public business conducted by the legislature.

how to issue an OUT OF STATE SUBPOENA in Minnesota

For the court administrator’s consideration under Minnesota Process Service, parties must submit a foreign subpoena to the district administrator of the court in the county where the discovery is requested to be performed[9]. Subpoenas may also be issued and signed by a lawyer who is a court-appointed official of the court in Minnesota. After the foreign subpoena is submitted, the administrator of the district court in this state must swiftly issue a subpoena for service upon the person to whom the foreign subpoena is addressed, in line with that court’s Minnesota Process Service, pursuant to the Uniform Interstate Deposition and Discovery Act (UIDDA)-Minnesota

The district court administrator is required to serve a subpoena[10]. Subpoenas issued are subject to all Minnesota Process Service regulations and legislation governing compliance with subpoenas to appear and provide testimony, produce specified books, papers, records, electronically stored information, or physical items, or allow examination of premises.

The application of Minnesota’s conflict-of-law principles is required for the resolution of substantive problems regarding witness privilege, competency, or the requirement of a witness to answer certain questions. Application to the court for a protective order or a district court administrator’s issuance of the subpoena must conform with state rules and legislation and be presented to the district court in the county where discovery is to be undertaken.


Documents can be faxed at (800) 296-0115, emailed, mailed, or dropped off at any of our locations. We do require pre-payment and accept all major credit and debit cards. Once payment is processed, your sales receipt is immediately emailed for your records.

Drop-offs must call and make an appointment first to be added to building security to permit access to our office. Documents for service must be in a sealed envelope with payment in the form of a money order or attorney check (WE DO NOT ACCEPT CASH) payable to UNDISPUTED LEGAL INC.; All documents are received by our receptionist.


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[1] . See Minn.Stat. § 549.04 (Supp. 1983

[2] The person may be served in the way prescribed by law if they are confined to a state institution, by additionally serving the institution’s chief executive officer if they have agreed to any other form of service or nominated an agent to accept service of summons

[3] Advisory Committee Comments – 1996 Amendments

Rule 4.04 is amended to conform the rule to its federal counterpart, in part. The new provision adopts the provisions for service of process outside the United States contained in the federal rules. This modification is appropriate because this subject is handled well by the federal rule and because it is advantageous to have two similar rules. This is particularly valuable given the dearth of state-court authority on foreign service of process. Existing portions of the rule are renumbered for clarity.

[4] When the plaintiff obtains a lien on property or credits within the state through attachment or garnishment and the defendant is a resident individual who has departed from the state or cannot be located therein, or the defendant is a nonresident individual or a foreign corporation, partnership, or association

[5]  A submission to dispute the legality of quasi in rem jurisdiction is not feasible.

[6] It’s up to the court whether service cannot be done in accordance with this Rule 4.03(e).

[7] Existing Rule 4.05 has been eliminated due to Rule 4.02’s inclusion. It was found that the Court does not need to bear the seeming burden of serving all documents other than summonses and subpoenas directly. See Minn. R.Civ.P. 4.02 for further information. Revisions to the advisory committee’s notes were made in 1984. Two modifications to Rule 4.04 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, established in 1983, were taken into consideration by the Committee as possibilities for allowing service by mail. Fed. R. Civ. P. 4 was originally updated by the Supreme Court to allow service by mail.

The Minnesota Long-Arm Statute, Minn. Stat. 543.18, has been recognized by the Minnesota Supreme Court as valid for serving documents by mail (1980). When the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled in 1982 in Stonewall Insurance Co. v. Horak, 325 N.W.2d 134 (Minn. ), that a certified mail receipt signed by the individual defendant proved receipt of the summons and complaint, it was agreed that this constituted delivery under Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure 4.03 (a).

[8] The Committee recommends that a new form (Form 22) be adopted to notice the effect of the service by mail upon the defendants served. The form advises the defendant that by signing the acknowledgment of receipt, the defendant admits only actual receipt of the summons and complaint and that signing does not constitute an appearance or a submission to the court’s jurisdiction and does not waive any other defenses. If an acknowledgment is not signed and returned, the plaintiff may seize the summons and complaint by any other means authorized by the rules or statute. There is no restriction on the means of service that may be used following unsuccessful service by mail.

The Minnesota rule differs from the federal rule [See Federal Deposit Insurance Co. v. Sims, 100 F.R.D. 792 (N.D.Ala. 1984) (attempted mail service prevents service by publication under the federal rule).] The rule retains its federal counterpart’s provision shifting the cost of personal service to a defendant who declines to acknowledge receipt of the summons and complaint by mail. The Committee believes this provision is an essential part of the service system by mail and is necessary to discourage defendants from unjustifiably refusing to acknowledge receipt. Eden Foods, Inc. v. Eden’s Products, Inc., 101 F.R.D. 96 (E.D.Mich.1984).

[9] No presence is required in accordance with Rule 5.01. Still, the filer is bound by Minnesota law and its regulations, such as the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct, if they seek the issue of a subpoena under this act.

[10] The conditions of the foreign subpoena must be adopted, and any party not represented by counsel must be included or accompanied by the names of all attorneys of record in the action to which the subpoena pertains.


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