Notarized copy vs. certified copy
Certified documents (or certified copies) are often requested for important documents such as vital records. Examples of vital records are birth certificates, marriage certificates, divorce decrees, and death certificates. The original vital record remains on file with the jurisdictional agency (usually the county). As custodians of the original document, only the agency that issued it can certify its copy. Contrary to popular belief, one’s birth certificate is not an original document; it is a certified copy of the information on file at the county.
Notaries are often asked to certify that a photocopy of an original document is a true and accurate reproduction of the original. However, according to New York State Notary Law, Notaries in New York State cannot certify document copies.
An alternative procedure called “copy certification by document custodian” or a “notarized copy” may be permissible.
With this procedure, the document’s custodian or holder needs to prepare and sign a statement attesting to the accuracy of the copy. The Notary notarizes the custodian’s signature on the statement. The difference is that rather than directly certifying the copy, the Notary is notarizing the custodian’s signature on a statement vouching for the copy’s accuracy.
Please note that a notary is not guaranteeing the authenticity of the original document, its contents, or its effects.
How To Get A Certified Copy
If you need a certified copy of any of the publicly recorded documents like:
- Birth, marriage, and death certificates;
- Certificates of citizenship or naturalization;
- Documents filed in a court proceeding;
- any form of ID (passport, driver license);
- Documents recorded by the Clerk of the Court;
- Public records maintained in government offices;
- Student records (transcripts, etc.) kept in public education offices;
- Already filed federal or state income tax forms;
– you may only obtain it from the custodian of records.
In the case of NYC, vital records such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, or death certificates – certified copies would have to be obtained from the NYC Health Department (birth and death records) or the NYC Marriage Bureau (marriage records).
We can help you to apostille a notarized copy of the document.