Notary Bulletin

Hotline Tip: Can I Notarize A Copy Of A Passport?

Can Notaries certify copies of passports? If so, what are the steps? A.G., Rialto, CA

California Notaries are not allowed to certify copies of any document except powers of attorney and journal records. However, an alternative act is called a “copy certification by document custodian.” Copy certification by document custodian may not be acceptable to the individual or agency receiving the copy, so the person requesting the act should verify that it will serve the required purposes.

The procedure is as follows:

The permanent keeper of the document — the document custodian — certifies the copy, not the Notary. The custodian makes a photocopy of the original document, makes a written statement about that the copy is true, correct and complete, signs that statement before a Notary, is identified by the Notary and takes an oath or affirmation regarding the truthfulness of the statement. The Notary, having witnessed the signing, identified the signer through satisfactory evidence and administered the oath or affirmation, executes a jurat.

Copy certification by document custodian is NOT appropriate for vital records such as birth, marriage and death certificates. Since originals of these documents are retained by public agencies. It is not considered best practice to do copy certification by document custodian for any recordable documents.

Hotline answers are based on the laws in the state where the question originated and may not reflect the laws of other states. If in doubt, always refer to your own state statutes. – The Editors

Confronted with a tricky notarization? Unsure how to proceed? NNA members have unlimited access to our expertly trained NNA Hotline counselors to help you with all of your notarial questions. Call (888) 876-0827, Monday through Friday, 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. PST; Saturday, 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST

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Quiz: The Many Types Of Notarial Acts

Notaries perform many different duties for the public — and it’s easy to lose track of the different acts and what states they’re authorized in. Test your familiarity with common — and uncommon — notarial acts.

(A link to the correct answers is provided at the end of the quiz.)

Confronted with a tricky notarization? Unsure how to proceed? NNA members have unlimited access to our expertly trained Hotline counselors to help you with all of your notarial questions.

(888) 876-0827

Monday through Friday:
5 a.m. to 7 p.m. PST

Saturdays: 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST

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