A notary public performs a copy certification when he verifies that a copy of a document is a true, complete and correct copy, according to the National Notary Association.
A notary public performs copy certification by making the copy of an original document himself, being present as someone else makes the copy from the original document, or verifying a previously made copy.
Various situations require certified copies, such as powers of attorneys, legal wills, and last testaments.
For a notary public to make a copy certification, the holder of the original document must appear before the notary along with the original document.
The notary then verifies the custodian’s identity, makes the copy, fills out a copy certification form, and applies the official notarized stamp. Typically, a notary public can only make certified copies from an original document.
In some cases, such as when the original document no longer exists, a notary public can make a note on the certified copy that it is “a photocopy of a photocopy,” states the National Notary Association.
After making any certified copies, the notary public should attach a notarial certificate to the certified copy explaining what the certification means. He should also keep a copy for his own notarial records.
Some states do not accept copy certification for documents of any kind, while others only accept it for certain documents.
For example, New York does not accept any copy certifications, and in California, the only copy certifications allowed include powers of attorney and some notarial journals.
Additionally, some documents may never use copy certifications, including U.S. naturalization certificates, vital records such as birth or death certificates, or recordable documents such as deeds.
Clients wanting a certified copy of these types of records must request it from the custodian of that record, such as the state government or federal government.
States that do not permit copy certification may allow what is known as “copy certification by document custodian”.
Copy certification by document custodian is the process where the holder of the original document signs a notarized document stating that the copy is identical to the original.
In the cases of copy certification by document custodian, the custodian of the original document, rather than the notary public, vouches for the legitimacy of the copy.
A notary public notarizes the document stating that the copy is an original rather than notarizing the actually certified copy.