Notaries are sometimes asked to “Notarize”, a Copy of a Passport, Green Card, Driver License, Utility Bills, and similar documents for legal process, these requests are routinely refused because not all states authorize Notaries to “Notarize” and not all documents are eligible for a copy certification / attestation by a Notary.
The following will help clarify some of these requests:
Copy Certification/Attestation is different from notorial acts involving a signed document, an oath is not administered to take an acknowledgement from anyone, instead the custodial of record makes the photocopy of the document & or the Notary compares the original to the copy and then certifies or attest that the photocopy is a true copy of the original. *note: only certain states authorize copy certification/attestation of the comparison method. (check with the state’s SOS) . When a Notary makes an attested copy of a document, he/she is not guaranteeing, authenticity of the original document, its contents, or its effects. The Notary is simply stating that the photocopy is a “true” and complete copy of the of the original document presented. The Notary’s certification is made in a notorial certificate worded for that exact purpose.
Process: Original document must be presented for comparison make the witness take photocopy of the document. If the copy has already been made then the original must be presented for comparison. You cannot take some one else’s word that a photocopy is a “true”, not matter how trustworthy that person may be. (depending on the state) A certified copy issued by the official document custodian (example: a certified copy of a marriage record, birth certificate etc. Issued by the county clerk) is NOT an original document – it is s copy. A Notorial certificate is completed for copy attestation or Copy Certification by Custodian (depending on the state) . It is recommended that a Notary Journal entry be made as best practice.
Most commonly presented documents that the Notary might encounter:
Attestation/Certification of Copy by Document Custodian.
Certification of Copy by Document Custodian What if your authorized notorial duties do not include making certified or attested copies of documents? The Document custodian may wish to swear/affirm that a copy he or she made is of an original document is a true copy. The document custodian would make a written affidavit(statement) that a true photocopy was created from the original document and the Notary would take the custodian’s oath/affirmation bout the truth of the affidavit and complete a jurat. This procedure places the responsibility about the photocopies document on the client not the notary, and should be handled responsibly.
Sample Affidavit: (California)
COPY CERTIFICATION BY DOCUMENT CUSTODIAN
I, _______________________________________________________________[name of custodian of original document], hereby swear (or affirm) that the attached reproduction of ___________________________________ [description of original document] is a true, correct and complete photocopy of a document in my possession.
Under penalty of perjury under the laws of the state of California, I attest to the truthfulness, accuracy, and validity of the forgoing statement.
Custodian’s Address: ______________________________________________________
A notary public or other officer completing this certificate verifies only the identity of the individual who signed the document to which this certificate is attached, and not the truthfulness, accuracy, or validity of that document.
STATE OF CALIFORNIA
COUNTY OF ________________ Subscribed and sworn to (or affirmed) before me on __________________, 20_____, by ________________________________________________________________________ proved to me on the basis of satisfactory evidence to be the person(s) who appeared before me.
As Notaries, we cannot speculate that the copy certification affidavit will automatically be accepted by the receiving party, nor can we counsel to whether a relying party should accept this process, the most we can do is ask the document custodian if he/she wishes to make an affidavit about the trueness of the photocopy, show him/her the affidavit language if available, and let the client choose what to do. If the document custodian has any questions about the advisability or effects of the affidavit, custodian of records, will have to consult an attorney or another party relying on the transaction.