How to Certify Copies

Certifying copies as a notary involves verifying that a copy of an original document is accurate and true to the original. Notaries in some states are authorized to certify copies to help ensure the authenticity of important documents. Here’s how to certify copies as a notary:

1. Understand Your Jurisdiction’s Rules:

  • Before certifying copies, familiarize yourself with your jurisdiction’s laws and guidelines regarding this practice. Some states allow notaries to certify copies, while others do not.

2. Verify the Original Document:

  • Request the original document from the person who needs the copy certified. Ensure that the original is authentic and complete.

3. Check the Type of Document:

  • Not all documents can be certified by notaries. Generally, you can certify copies of documents such as passports, driver’s licenses, academic transcripts, and other official records. Legal documents, such as wills and contracts, may require specific procedures.

4. Prepare the Copy:

  • Create a clear, legible copy of the original document using a photocopier or scanner. The copy should accurately reproduce all the information on the original.

5. Complete the Certification Section:

  • If your jurisdiction allows notaries to certify copies, look for a certification section on the copy or an attached certificate. This section may vary depending on the document’s purpose and type.

6. Write or Stamp the Certification:

  • In the certification section, write or stamp the following information:
    • A statement that you are a notary public.
    • Your name as it appears on your notary commission.
    • Your notary commission expiration date.
    • A statement that the copy is a true and accurate copy of the original document.
    • The date of certification.
    • Your notary signature.
    • Your notary seal (if applicable).

7. Record the Notarization:

  • In your notary journal, record the details of the copy certification, including the date, type of document, the name of the person whose document was copied, and any relevant fees.

8. Give the Certified Copy to the Requestor:

  • Once you’ve completed the certification, give the certified copy back to the person who requested it. They can now use the certified copy for their intended purpose.

9. Maintain Professionalism:

  • While certifying copies, maintain a professional demeanor and ensure that you follow all legal and ethical requirements.

10. Stay Informed:

  • Always stay updated with your jurisdiction’s notary laws and regulations to ensure that you’re following the correct procedures.

Remember that the ability to certify copies as a notary varies by jurisdiction. Some jurisdictions prohibit notaries from certifying copies, while others allow it. Always adhere to the rules and guidelines set by your local notary authority to ensure that your notarial acts are valid and legally binding. If you’re uncertain about the process, it’s a good idea to seek guidance from your local notary public office or legal counsel.